Paperwork Reduction Act

n. a United States law, originally enacted in 1980, intended primarily to reduce the information gathering burden on the public, and substantially revised in 1995 with additional provisions addressing government dissemination of information that hold implications for privacy and open government


The Paperwork Reduction Act (1980, 1986, and 1995) has been criticized within the records management literature for lawmakers’ failure to embrace records management principles and to understand current recordkeeping practices. A provision in the 1995 reauthorization stating that government agencies shall “provide adequate notice when initiating, substantially modifying, or terminating significant information dissemination products” was referenced in a February 2017 open letter to the Office of Management and Budget. Signed by 71 organizations including the Society of American Archivists, the letter was in response to concerns that government agencies were removing vital information from their websites without adequate public notice.  Although confusing to many people, the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) and the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) are not synonymous. The focus of the PRA is to limit the information the federal government collects from the public in any form. The focus of the GPEA is to promote the doing of business electronically, with the public and otherwise.