Office of the Chief Information Officer

United States Department of Agriculture

Information Collection

USDA's Information Collection Office is the Department's contact point for evaluating agency information collection packages as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) to insure the burden of information collected from the public is kept to the minimum. In this role the office acts as an intermediary between the Office of Management and Budget and USDA agencies to obtain approval to collect information. Additionally, this office reviews significant rulemakings for compliance with the PRA.

U.S. Department of Agriculture Report to OMB on
Draft Quality of Information Guidelines

The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has issued government-wide guidelines for ensuring and maximizing the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information disseminated by Federal agencies. Congress directed OMB to issue these guidelines in section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106-554).

As the initial step in its development of information quality guidelines, each Federal agency must prepare a draft report providing its guidelines and detailing the administrative mechanisms developed by the agency to allow affected persons to seek and obtain correction of information disseminated by the agency, and post the draft report on the agency's web site to provide an opportunity for public comment. With this web site posting, USDA is requesting public comments on its draft guidelines.

Appendix A - Process For Preparing An Information Collection Approval Request Package

Departmental Clearance Officers received from agency coordinators one hard copy of the package for the file and an electronic version submitted into OMB’s Risk/OIRA Consolidation Information System (ROCIS).  

Departmental Clearance Officer reviews the IC to ensure that all of the items listed below are included in the package with the exception of the 30-day notice.  The 30-day notice is prepared by the Departmental Clearance Officer

Every Information Collection Request (ICR) submission, whether for a new collection or to extend or revise an existing collection, must include one hard copy of the following.

Order of IC Package

*    Emergency ICP Request Memo

  1. Completed OMB 83-I form or the Risk/OIRA Consolidation Information System (ROCIS) ICR data version
  2. Supporting Statement and Burden Grid
  3. Copy of any forms, surveys, scripts, screens, etc. (all foreign language translations versions should be included) in the collection of information
  4. Copy of the 60-day Federal Register notice
  5. Copies of any pertinent statutes or regulations, which reference collection requirements or provide guidance on what or how information should be collected.
  6. Copies of any pertinent handbooks, manuals or other program instructional materials.
  7. Copies of reports
  8. 30-day Federal Register Notice (Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO) prepares)

Check to ensure that all of the above information has been uploaded into ROCIS, with the exception of the 60 and 30 day notices, and the pertinent statutes and regulations.  Instead the publication dates for the 60 and 30 day notices, and the statutes number and title will be input into ROCIS.  The 60 and 30 day notices, and the pertinent statutes and regulations can be uploaded into ROCIS is the agency prefers to do so.

Review the completed ICR package in ROCIS to ensure that all eighteen questions of the supporting statement are properly answered.  If the agency is a partner in the Service Center Initiative a 19th question must be answered.  If the collection involves statistical methods, Section B of the supporting statement with an additional five questions must also be answered as well.  Verify that all the forms, grid, and other documents are uploaded and can be opened. Make sure that you certified the package. This is the last page in ROCIS.  If the collection is a result of a rulemaking action, the rule must be published before the information collection can be submitted to OMB.  There may be circumstances where the information collection package is submitted before the rule is published.  In that case, the rule must be uploaded into ROCIS.

The forms must include the OMB control number, expiration date at the top right side of the form and the standard burden statement either at the top or bottom and shall read as follows.

According to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, an agency may not conduct or sponsor, and a person is not required to respond to, a collection of information unless it displays a valid OMB control number.  The valid OMB control number for this information collection is 05nn nnnn.  The time required to complete this information collection is estimated to average ____ minutes/hours per response, including the time for reviewing instructions, searching existing data sources, gathering and maintaining the data needed, and completing and reviewing the collection of information.

The Process

The general chronology for preparing an ICR approval submission varies from organization to organization depending on the number of reviews and other factors.  In general, the first step is to publish your 60-day Federal Register notice.  While you can talk in some generality in the abstract section of the notice, the estimate of burden and respondents needs to be fairly accurate.  This means you may need to do some research prior to finalizing the notice in order to justify and have confidence in your estimates.  Once the notice is published, a 60 (calendar) day period must pass for public comment.

During the 60-day comment period, you should be preparing your supporting statement and assembling the back-up materials.  When the comment period concludes, you will need to document whether comments were received in the response to question 8 of the supporting statement as well as in ROCIS.  Make sure the agency has listed the name, addresses and telephone number of 3 individuals that they consulted about the ICR package regarding the time it took to review and fill-out any forms.  All comments should be uploaded into the comment section within ROCIS

Once the package is prepared and entered into ROCIS, the signed hard copy of the ICR approval package is forwarded to the Information Resource Management Center (IRMC), Information Management Division (IMD) within the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO).  A minimum of two weeks, or longer due to the complexity of the package, should be allowed for the review and processing of the ICR.  OCIO will publish the 30-day Federal Register notice.  After the Departmental Clearance Officer signs off on the package, the ICR is submitted in ROCIS to OMB.

*Emergency approvals will only be granted in extenuating circumstances for both renewals and new collections.  Extenuating circumstances that would be considered grounds for justifying an emergency approval include:

(1)    Result in some public harm;
(2)    Prevent the agency from responding to an unanticipated event; or
(3)    Cause your agency to miss a statutory or court-ordered deadline.

For new ICRs, agencies should allocate time in the project plan for launching a new program or service.

The emergency justification is completed within ROCIS.