Impact of Paperwork Reduction Act on government digital efforts

A
A
A

Nick Sinai, former deputy U.S. CTO and venture partner at Insight Venture Partners, discusses how tech modernization efforts could be impacted by Paperwork Reduction Act regulations, and IT legislation making its way through Congress.


The government is looking to modernize how they provide service to the American public. Initiatives like the Technology Transformation Service have made strides towards modernizing agency services. However, outdated legislation might soon slow the pace. According to Nick Sinai, former deputy U.S. CTO and venture partner at Insight Venture Partners, there are a few reasons why the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 is interfering with modernization efforts in 2019.

 

“The big myth that needs to be continually busted is that user research is prohibited by PRA. That’s just not the case. You can observe users, you can ask users questions, you can do usability testing. That’s not only not prohibited, but actually encouraged by the Paperwork Reduction Act. But in practice, government agencies use PRA as a reason not to do user research,” Sinai said. “On the legislative side, PRA does set forth a process when you want to ask a series of structured questions, and that process does require a series of approvals within an agency and inside OMB. That slows down the agility of the government to ask those kinds of questions.”