OMB refocuses Business Compliance One-Stop project

As it becomes clearer that agencies will not be 100 percent compliant with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act by Oct. 21, the Office of Management and Budget has targeted 75 percent compliance for September 2004.

To help reach that mark, OMB is refocusing the Small Business Administration’s Business Compliance One-Stop project—one of the 25 Quicksilver initiatives—to reduce the paperwork burden on small businesses through the development of an e-forms application.

OMB also is changing the name of the project to the Business Gateway.

Mark Forman, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT, said small businesses spend too much time on paperwork and that the project’s change is in response to the needs of the small business community.

OMB estimates the e-forms system will reduce the number of federal forms by 10 percent, while also decreasing the amount of duplicative data collected by agencies. By consolidating the number of forms and data, agencies will find it easier to comply with GPEA because there will be fewer forms to restructure.

Jim Van Wert, Business Compliance One-Stop’s project manager, said the goal of the initiative remains the same: to make it easier for businesses to comply with regulations.

“This focuses us on a specific type of burden,” he said. “It is easier to measure return on investment and is more of a cross-governmental approach.”

The changes grew from an interagency task force report mandated by the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002. Van Wert, a member of the task force, said there are three parts to the e-forms application:

Step 1 complete a data reference model to understand the types of data agencies collect

Step 2 convert the data to an Extensible Markup Language format and put it in a repository for users to find

Step 3 streamline the data so agencies can share it.

“The third step, which is basically data management, will let users prepopulate forms through information on their hard drives or through a central database that a third party or an agency like the General Services Administration keeps,” Van Wert said. “This effort also is about overhauling fedforms.gov to make it have transactions.”

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