MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
Jacob J. Lew
OMB Procedures and Guidance on Implementing the Government Paperwork
This document provides Executive agencies with the guidance required under Sections 1703 and
1705 the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), P. L. 105-277, Title XVII. GPEA
requires agencies, by October 21, 2003, to provide for the (1) option of electronic maintenance,
submission, or disclosure of information, when practicable as a substitute for paper; and (2) use
and acceptance of electronic signatures, when practicable. GPEA specifically states that electronic
records and their related electronic signatures are not to be denied legal effect, validity, or
enforceability merely because they are in electronic form.
GPEA is an important tool in fulfilling the vision of improved customer service and governmental
efficiency through the use of information technology. This vision contemplates widespread use of
the Internet and its World Wide Web, with Federal agencies transacting business electronically as
commercial enterprises are doing. Members of the public who wish to do business this way may
avoid traveling to government offices, waiting in line, or mailing paper forms. The Federal
government can also save time and money transacting business electronically.
This guidance also implements part of the President's memorandum of December 17, 1999,
"Electronic Government," which calls on Federal agencies to use information technology in
ensuring that governmental services and information are easily accessible to the American people.
Among other things, the President charged the Administrator of General Services, in coordination
with appropriate agencies and organizations, to assist agencies in developing private, secure, and
effective communication across agencies and with the public through the use of digital signature
Creating more accessible and efficient government requires public confidence in the security of
the government's electronic information communication and information technology systems.
Electronic commerce, electronic mail, and electronic benefits transfer can involve the exchange of
sensitive information within government, between government and private industry or
individuals, and among governments. Electronic systems must be able to protect the
confidentially of citizens' information, authenticate the identity of the transacting parties to the
degree required by the transaction, guarantee that the information is not altered in an unauthorized
way, and provide access when needed.
To reach these goals, agencies must meet objectives outlined by GPEA guidance. First, each
agency must build on their existing efforts to implement electronic government by developing a
plan and schedule that implement, by the end of Fiscal Year 2003, optional electronic
maintenance, submission, or transactions of information, when practicable as a substitute for
paper, including through the use of electronic signatures when practicable. Agencies must submit
a copy of the plan to OMB by October 2000 and coordinate the plan and schedule with their
strategic IT planning activities that support program responsibilities consistent with the budget
process (as required by OMB Circular A-11).