Information Quality Guidelines-Section 515
Section 515 - Overview
The General Services Administration (GSA) provides information to the public about the current experience of GSA programs, the projected scope and impact of GSA programs in the future, and the effect of proposed changes to regulations involving GSA. Information products describe the impact of GSA programs on our economy, beneficiary populations, other government agencies, and demographic and economic information on client agencies. GSA's information products are used by government planners, vendors, policymakers, economists, the media, and the public to analyze GSA's product lines and services and their impact on the United States.
It is important that GSA organizational elements make use of OMB's Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) clearance process to help improve the quality of information that the GSA organizational elements collect and disseminate to the public. For all proposed collections of information which will be disseminated to the public, GSA organizational elements should demonstrate in their PRA clearance submissions to OMB that the proposed collection of information will result in information that will be collected, maintained, and used in a way consistent with the OMB and GSA information quality guidelines.
4. Transparency and Reproducibility. If an agency is responsible for disseminating "influential" information, guidelines for dissemination should include a high degree of transparency about data and methods to facilitate its reproducibility by qualified third parties. Information is considered influential if it will have a substantial impact on important public policies or important private sector decisions. Since much of GSA's statistical and analytical information products potentially have an impact on important public policies, GSA's information that is subject to Section 515 should be highly transparent and capable of being reproduced by qualified persons.
GSA's guidelines call for identification and documentation of data sets used in producing estimates and projections and clear descriptions of methods used to produce estimates and to develop model projections to make its results as transparent as possible. Many estimates and projections included in SSA information products are not directly reproducible by the public because the underlying data sets used to produce them are confidential. However, some statistical publications that are based on publicly available data and whose programs are made available on request are fully reproducible by the public. And GSA is in the process of developing public-use versions of several data files, which will increase the reproducibility of estimates and projections to the extent possible while still protecting confidentiality. Some estimates and projections may not be easily reproduced by third parties due to the complexity and detail of the methods and data. In these cases greater emphasis is place on periodic review by outside panels of technical experts.
GSA also achieves transparency through wide dissemination of its information. Most reports and other data products are available both as printed and electronic documents. They are announced on the GSA website and most electronic versions can be accessed and downloaded directly from the GSA website. All documents posted on our website since June 21, 2001, are Section 508 compliant, making information available to an audience that includes persons who have a visual impairment and read online using assistive technology.
5. Procedures for seeking correction of information. To seek a correction under Section 515 of information maintained or disseminated by GSA, follow the procedures described below in sending a letter to GSA: via regular mail - GSA, Section 515, 1800 F Street, NW, Room 3323, Washington, DC 20405; via email - firstname.lastname@example.org; or via the data integrity correction sheet - http//www.gsa.gov/section515.
a. Required information.
(1) Statement. Include a statement that the request for correction of information is submitted under Section 515 of Public Law 106-554.
(2) Requestor contact information. Include name, mailing address, fax number, or e-mail address, telephone number and organizational affiliation, if any. This information is needed to respond to your request and initiate follow-up contact with you if required. Do not send us your Social Security number.
(3) Description of incorrect information. Clearly indicate the information you believe is in error and should be corrected. Describe the reasons why the information is not consistent with GSA or OMB standards (OMB Standards website: www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/infopoltech.html. Include the name of the report or data product where the information is located, the date of issuance, and a detailed description of the information to be corrected. Present substitute information, if any, with an explanation showing that such information is consistent with the OMB guidelines and the GSA implementing guidelines
(4) Reasons why information should be corrected. Include specific reasons why the information should be corrected and, if possible, specify how the information should be corrected. Requests for correction that are specific and provide evidence to support the need for correction will help GSA provide a satisfactory response. Supporting documentary evidence, such as comparable data or research results on the same topic, will help in the review of the request.
(5) Address to send the request. The request for correction should be mailed to: GSA, Office of the CIO, Section 515, 1800 F Street, NW, Room 3323, Washington, DC 20405, or emailed to email@example.com.
(6) Alternatively, any person seeking to correct Agency information may use an Internet browser to go to the GSA website, Information Quality Guideline web page: www.gsa.gov/section515. On the Information Quality Guideline web page, click on the Data Integrity Correction Sheet. This page includes all the requested information needed for a request for correction. The Sheet may be filled out online and submitted to GSA by clicking on the submit button.
(7) A member of the public who files a request for correction under this paragraph has the burden of proof with respect to the necessity for correction as well as with respect to the type of correction requested.
(8) If a member of the public complains about information set forth or referenced in a GSA or GSA-sponsored document and does not request correction under the OMB or GSA guidelines, then the complaint is not subject to processing as a request for correction under those guidelines.
b. Review of the request. Based on a review of the information provided, GSA will determine whether a correction is warranted, and, if so, what action to take. Any corrective action will be determined by the nature and timeliness of the information involved and such factors as the significance of the correction on the use of the information and the magnitude of the correction. GSA will respond to the requestor in writing within 60 days of receipt of the complaint. If the information quality complaint requires more than 60 calendar days to resolve, GSA will inform the complainant that more time is required and indicate the reason why, with an estimated decision date. GSA will respond to all requests for appeals within 60 calendar days of receipt. If the request requires more than 60 calendar days to resolve, GSA will inform the complainant that more time is required and indicate the reason why, with an estimated decision date
(1) Incomplete requests. If a request for correction is incomplete, GSA may seek clarification from the person submitting the request or return it without prejudice to resubmission.
(2) Public notice of a request for correction. In selected cases, GSA may publish notice of the receipt of a request for correction and may invite public comment.
(3) Participation by other interested persons. By letter, GSA may invite or allow other interested persons to comment on a request for correction.
(4) Initial decisions. If the request for correction concerns information that GSA not involve a document subject to public comment, then the originating office of the GSA Element responsible for dissemination of the information should provide at least an initial response within 90 days (with a copy to the CIO). The response should contain a statement of reasons for the disposition.
(5) Administrative appeals. In the event GSA initially denies a request for correction of information not subject to public comment and the person who submitted the request would like additional review, then that person must submit a request for review, including a statement of reasons for modifying or reversing the initial decision, no later than 30 days from the date of that decision. A request for review under this paragraph must be submitted via e-mail to: section515@ gsa.gov, or by regular mail to: Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO), Attention: Section 515, General Services Administration, 1800 F Street, NW, Room 3323, Washington, DC 20405. The OCIO will direct the request for review to the GSA Element which supervises the originating GSA program office, and the GSA Element, with the concurrence of the Office of General Counsel, should issue a final decision for GSA (with a copy to the CIO) within 90 days from the date that the request for review is received.
(6) Any corrective action will be determined by the nature and timeliness of the information and the magnitude of the error. GSA Organizational elements are not required to change, or in any way alter, the content or status of information simply based on the receipt of a request for correction. GSA Organizational elements need not respond substantively to frivolous or repetitive requests for correction. Nor do GSA Organizational elements have to respond substantively to requests that concern information not covered by the OMB or GSA Guidelines or from a person whom the information does not affect.
(7) If GSA determines that a request for correction of information not subject to public comment has merit, GSA may respond by correcting the information in question without issuing a decision explaining the reasons for accepting the request.
(8) If GSA receives multiple requests for correction of information not subject to public comment, GSA may consolidate the requests and respond on a GSA website, or by notice in the Federal Register, or by issuing a correction in similar form and manner as the original information was issued.
6. GSA Reporting Requirements. On an annual fiscal-year basis, the GSA CIO will report to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget concerning requests for correction received under these Guidelines. GSA organizational elements must designate a reporting official, except as agreed otherwise between the GSA organizational element and the CIO, for example, where the CIO might compile the data for the GSA organizational element. Where a GSA organizational element reporting official has been designated, that official must report to the CIO no later than November 1 every year concerning requests received during the previous fiscal year and their resolutions, including requests with regard to information subject to public comment. The first reports are due November 1, 2003. The CIO will compile the GSA consolidated report and submit it annually to OMB beginning January 1, 2004. GSA organizational element reports should contain the number of complaints received, nature of complaints (e.g., request for deletion or correction) and how they were resolved (e.g., number corrected, denied, or pending review). The report must also include a compilation of the number of staff-hours devoted to handling and resolving such complaints and preparing reports.
7. Privacy Act Statement. GSA is authorized to collect the information you provide under Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law No. 106-554, codified at 44 U.S.C. 3516, note). This information is needed to process your request and allows us to reply accordingly. You do not have to furnish the information, but failure to do so may prevent your request from being processed. The information you furnish is almost never used for any purpose other than to process and respond to your request, except to disclose information to a congressional office in response to an inquiry made on your behalf to the Department of Justice, a court, or other tribunal when the information is relevant and necessary to litigation, or to another federal agency to help accomplish a function related to this process.
*OMB Information Quality Peer Review Bulletin
* GSA received one request for correction of published information for the Fiscal Year 2007. The issue was resolved. The information regarding this resolved request is located in our Section 515 Public Comments Section.
* GSA received no requests for correction of published information for the Fiscal Year 2006.
* GSA received one request for correction of published information for the Fiscal Year 2005. The issue was resolved. The information regarding this resolved request is located in our Section 515 Public Comments Section.
* GSA received no requests for correction of published information for the Fiscal Years 2003 and 2004.
Last Reviewed 7/15/2008