OMB Circular A-130

Circular A-130 was first issued by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in 1985, in order to establish policy for the management of US federal government information resources. The circular provides uniform policies, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980.

Main Policy Points

The body of Circular A-130 discusses the policy for managing information resources. The information management policy is briefly outlined below:

  • Agencies are required to plan in an integrated manner for managing information throughout its lifecycle.
  • Agencies should provide for public access to records where required/appropriate.
  • Agencies should collect or create only the information that is necessary for the proper performance of agency functions, or that which has practical use.
  • Electronic collection techniques should be used in order to reduce the burden on the public, increase efficiency of government programs, reduce costs to the government and public and/or provide better services to the public.
  • Agencies are responsible for providing the public information on their missions.
  • Agencies must maintain and implement a management system for all information dissemination products.
  • Agencies should avoid improperly restrictive practices.
  • Agencies shall use electronic media and formats (as well as public networks) to make government information more accessible and useful to the public.
  • Agencies are responsible for safeguarding sensitive or personally identifiable information.
  • Agencies should promote the appropriate application of federal information resources and carryout the necessary activities for evaluation and performance management.
  • Agencies should establish and maintain strategic information resources management (IRM) planning processes.
  • Agencies should establish information system management oversight mechanisms.
  • Agencies should create and maintain management and technical frameworks using information resources that document linkages between mission needs, information content and information technology capabilities.
  • Agencies are responsible for the acquisition of information technology in an appropriate manner.

Revisions to Circular A-130

The OMB Circular A-130 was revised during 1993 in two phases. During the first phase, issued on June 25, 1993, changes primarily focused on information policy. Revisions were carried out in order to encourage agencies to utilize new technologies to improve public access. In the second phase, revisions were made in the way the government manages its information technology resources.

According to Sally Katzen, Administrator of OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), the office charged with developing and implementing government information policies, the revisions of Circular A-130,

“… will help bring the Federal government into the information age. This is a major step toward realizing the vision of a government that uses technology better to communicate with the American people… These long-awaited revisions to Circular A-130 are an integral part of the President and Vice-President’s technology initiative… We will use information technology to make government information available to the public in a timely and equitable manner, via a diverse array of sources, both public and private. We will also ensure that privacy and security interests are protected.”

Revisions to the original Circular emphasized integrated management of information dissemination products. Agency electronic information products (e.g. computer tapes, CDs, online services) would then fall under the same policy umbrella as printed publications or audio visual materials. Agencies were then asked to develop and maintain indexes and other tools to facilitate the location of government information for members of the public.

As a result of Circular A-130, the OMB made a commitment to take various other steps to improve information management and the technology initiative at that time. Such steps included:

  • Sponsoring a coordinated initiative to improve email amongst agencies
  • Promoting the establishment of an agency-based Government Information/Inventory Locator System (GIILS) to help the public locate and access public information
  • Using the Paperwork Reduction Act to encourage agencies to convert paper documents such as purchase orders, invoices, health insurance claims, environmental reports, customs declarations and other regulatory filings to electronic form


This article takes a look at OMB (Office of Management and Budget) Circular A-130,  first released in 1985, in order to meet the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980. Circular A-130 establishes policy for the management of US federal government information resources. It provides a brief outline of the basic objectives of the policy. It also explores the two phases of revisions that took place in 1993 in order to bring the policy up-to-date.

CIPP Exam Preparation

In preparation for the Certified Information Privacy Professional/US Government (CIPP/G) exam, a privacy professional should be comfortable with topics related to this post, including:

  • Management Process – OMB Circular A-130 (II.B.a.i.)

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