Overview of Data Quality Act and Regulatory
The Data Quality Act and Regulatory Flexibility Act are two other federal
statutes that can be used to require accountability of the federal agencies
during the coordination process. These statutes do not require
coordination themselves, rather they call upon the agencies to provide and
substantiate the quality of the material they are basing their decisions upon,
and to review the economic impact on small entities.
Data Quality Act
The "Data Quality Act" is a name which we have given to a two
paragraph statute which was included in a budget appropriations bill. The two
paragraphs, as part of the appropriations bill had no specific and separate
The paragraphs which are set forth in the following section required the Office
of Management and Budget (OMB) to issue guidelines to all federal agencies to
ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility and integrity of
information used in making their decisions. The information was
specifically to include statistics.
The OMB issued its guidelines as ordered. They require every federal agency to
prepare and follow Data Quality Guidelines. When data is of concern, when
you believe that a decision has been made on faulty or incorrect data, look up
the guidelines of the agency making the decision which govern its data quality
The coordinating local government can then call on the agency to verify its
data in accord with its own guidelines. This statute provides one of the most
effective tools available to coordinating local governments.
The coordinating local government can challenge the quality of the data, and in
that way determine the specific data upon which the agency has relied, and test
the accuracy and soundness of that data.
The process is simple to execute. When the agency has made a decision and you
are suspicious of the data on which the decision is based, you simply by letter
request that the agency disclose to you the data upon which the decision is
based and disclose to you the quality check which they have run on the data
pursuant to their data quality guidelines; plus you ask for their data quality
When they comply, it gives you a chance to see the specific data and determine
the validity of the data to base the decision. If they do not comply, then you
follow their guidelines as to how you appeal their refusal. Remember, this is
different from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This is not a request for
production of documents subject to FOIA. This is a request pursuant to the Data
Quality Act pursuant to Office of Management and Budget and the Agency
guidelines. FOIA charges do not apply.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Regulatory Flexibility Act requires the federal agency to conduct an
analysis of any rule or regulation which it issues to determine any adverse
impact on small "units" which include small local government units of
less than 50,000 in population. If there is a rule or regulation, or its implementation
that is being used to plague you as a county, city, town or district
or your constituents, simply request to see a copy of the agency's
flexibility study as required by the statute.
In the Federal Register notice when a rule or regulation is published, the
agencies usually include a notation that they have complied with this statute,
however, rarely is this the case. To do so is time consuming.
Therefore, requesting to see their analysis often reveals they have not
complied with the law in regards to this statute.