6.3 Our Information Policies
Data Quality. In support of the Open Government Directive, GSA developed and submitted an Initial Information and Data Quality Planto the Office of Management and Budget. The Data Quality Plan described our current processes and identified improvements that enable us to fully meet the goals of transparency and accountability. We have initiated steps to improve our organizational structures, policies, processes and systems to meet the three objectives of the Data Quality Framework for Federal spending: effectiveness and efficiency of the operations producing and disseminating financial information; reliability of the financial information reported; and compliance with applicable laws and regulations. As we make progress toward implementing our improvements, our internal information quality-control assessment processes will feed into our performance management process to align resource decisions to our mission, strategic and operational goals, and objectives.
Our goals for information and data quality are straightforward:
- Drive information quality improvement through focused leadership, accountability, and cooperative and collaborative stakeholder engagement;
- Incorporate the consideration of information needs and quality expectations into planning, performance and resource decision-making processes; and
- Strengthen workforce capabilities and sustain awareness of the importance of quality information through training, collaboration and communication.
GSA developed the "Information and Data Quality Handbook" that contains a framework for consistent data management. This framework includes the immediate next steps and long-term actions to improve the quality of our data. View GSA’s Data Quality Policy.
In-process and planned actions include the following:
- Create an agencywide team to collaborate on improvement solutions and ensure open communications about problems, progress and priorities;
- Establish data quality measures and targets, and tie the metrics and monitoring into how we conduct our mission;
- Expand communications and training, particularly for acquisition activities and associated data;
- Employ Lean Six Sigma and other quality improvement methods; and
- Implement improvements related to USAspending.gov, such as further automation of the data submission process.
This Initial Information and Data Quality Plan describe our approach to implementing the Office of Management and Budget’s Quality Framework and begins to identify the risks, challenges and opportunities for improvement. We recognize that this is not a short-term, one-time effort; rather, a persistent and comprehensive focus is required. We are fully committed to providing valuable and trustworthy information that facilitates innovation and collaboration to all our stakeholders.
Records Management. We meet records management requirements by ensuring our employees follow the GSA Disposition Manual, our internal records management handbook. Chapter 1 of the handbook outlines records management responsibilities for our program and administrative employees. Our offices also develop and maintain individual records maintenance plans and conduct annual reviews to ensure the plans are current and relevant. The handbook describes the delegation of responsibilities for implementing the program. It also names specific responsibilities for designated records managers, including monitoring implementation of recordkeeping activities. Employees must adequately document their actions, maintain resulting records according to GSA’s Records Disposition Plan, and carry out cutoff and disposition actions in the files in a timely manner. New offices, programs or information systems must report to the records officer through the records management liaison network. The records officer works with the program manager or system to establish recordkeeping requirements, determine if an existing schedule covers the records, and if not, develop such a schedule and submit to National Archive and Records Administration for approval.
Records we create that are permanent and have been transferred to NARA may be found listed on NARA's website at the following links:
- Permanent GSA records may be found under Record Group 269;
- Public Buildings Service records are available under Record Group 121;
- Federal Acquisition Service records are available through its predecessors:
- The Federal Acquisition Service, Record Group 137;
- Records of the Information Resources Management Service, late Federal Telecommunications Service, Record Group 352;
- Records of the former Real Property Management Service, now a part of PBS, can be found in Record Group 291;
- Records of defunct agencies from which GSA inherited responsibilities and records include:
For more information about GSA’s Records Management Program, visit Records Management.
Freedom of Information Act. Our policy is to respond to Freedom of Information Act requests within 20 business days and have a procedure in place to minimize backlog. Our staffing, processes and system for handling FOIA requests ensure we provide all responsive, nonexempt information to the requester. We also strive to make discretionary releases of information that could be withheld. Staff members assess inquiries and coordinate with others in the agency to develop timely and thorough responses. If a request becomes untimely, we contact the requestor to complete the request in the shortest possible time frame. Our Office of General Counsel advises clients looking for ways to make government more transparent, participatory and collaborative. Our attorneys are engaged with the open government working group and work with clients such as the FOIA Office to discover new ways to proactively make information available to the public. The attorneys also work with clients to satisfy security, privacy and other concerns. For more information about GSA’s Freedom of Information Act Program, frequently requested FOIAs and FOIA reports, visit the GSA FOIA Web page.
Accessibility for People with Disabilities. GSA is responsible for meeting the statutory requirements of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Section 508 law requires that Federal agencies' electronic and information technology be accessible to people with disabilities. GSA establishes and supports a governmentwide network of more than 150 agency Section 508 coordinators, provides in-person and online training, and creates and manages online resources and help numbers. Our Section 508 tools, training and services are also available to state and local governments. We maintain two websites, which provide Section 508 policy guidance, tools and resources: Section508.gov and Buyaccessible.gov. Both sites offer frequently asked questions, a glossary and training to all stakeholders, including Federal agency personnel, industry, Web developers, advocacy groups and end users. For more information, visit Section 508.
Congressional Requests. GSA’s congressional liaisons quickly respond to inquiries and perform a variety of tasks that includes preparing briefings for congressional hearings and handling phone calls emails and written correspondence. We provide access to our congressional requests and reports. For more information, visit Congressional Requests and Congressional Reports.
Declassification. GSA obtains copies of classified national security information documents from other Federal agencies or departments to complete our mission. We are only authorized to destroy classified documents or return them to the original creators for declassification. For more information, visit Declassification.