Research Administration Office

University of California

Memo

Operating Guidance

No. 90-8, Supplement 3

September 13, 1995

Subject: NASA Requirements for Reporting on Subcontracting Plans: Revision

In Supplement No. 1 to C&G Memo 90-8 (5/17/94) we alerted you to the fact that NASA was requiring the form SF 295, "Summary Subcontract Report," to be submitted on a quarterly rather than annual basis. The OMB clearance for NASA's use of the form came up for renewal this year and we submitted comments as promised in that Supplement (see Enclosure 1).

We have just received a response to our comments (see Enclosure 2). NASA will now be requiring the SF 295 on a semiannual basis instead of quarterly. While this is certainly an improvement, it is not all that we asked for. The OMB clearance lasts for three years, so we hope in 1998 to be able to convince NASA to move from semiannual to annual reporting.

Refer:

William Sellers

(510) 987-9847

william.sellers@ucop.edu

Subject Index: 16

Organization Index: F-615, U-115

Cancel: 90-8 Suppl. 1

David F. Mears

Director

Research Administration Office

cc:

David Barnard

Materiel Managers

Small Business Coordinators

Kate Phillips/COGR


July 26, 1995

Donald J. Andreotta

NASA Agency Clearance Officer, Code JT

NASA Headquarters

Washington, DC 20503

re: OMB 83-1 (2700-0073)

Dear Mr. Andreotta:

We are writing to strongly oppose the extension of a paperwork burden on NASA contractors. The clearance request was published in the Federal Register on July 6, 1995.

On September 30, 1993, NASA published a final rule in the Federal Register that had the effect of adding a new clause to the NASA FAR Supplement, numbered 1852.219-75 and titled "Small Business and Small Disadvantaged Business Subcontracting Reporting." This rule changed the frequency of reporting on subcontracting plans on the SF 295 form from annual to quarterly, for NASA prime contracts containing subcontracting plans. It also contained a similar flowdown provision. Thus the quarterly reporting requirement has been in effect for three years--long enough to provide ample opportunity for NASA to gain experience with this requirement.

In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act and codified at 5 CFR 1320, any collection of information must have "practical utility" in order to obtain OMB approval (§1320.4). Practical utility, as defined in §1320.7(o), "means the actual, not merely the theoretical or potential, usefulness of information to an agency, taking into account...the agency's ability to process the information in a useful and timely fashion." The regulation goes on to state:

In determining whether information will have practical utility, OMB will take into account whether the agency demonstrates actual timely use for the information either to carry out its functions or to make it available to the public....In the case of general purpose statistics or recordkeeping requirements, practical utility means that actual uses can be demonstrated. [orig. emphasis]

Thus it is incumbent on OMB to demand proof that the NASA quarterly reporting requirement for the SF-295, as opposed to the annual requirement imposed by every other civilian agency, affords the practical utility required under the statute and implementing regulations. The statement in the clearance request, that "NASA requires more frequent reporting...to more effectively manage its goal for small disadvantaged business participation" certainly does not meet the standard of proof required, and in fact is a ludicrous justification because by inference it means that NASA needs four times as much paperwork as any other civilian agency to manage the same program .

We look forward to hearing that you have denied this request for extension. We will then expect NASA to rescind the NASA FAR Supplement clause at 1852.219-75. This action is very important to us because, by NASA's own estimate, each report consumes over 16 hours of effort to prepare. In these days of capped administrative overhead costs, we cannot afford to waste 6 person-days every year for every NASA contract that involves a subcontracting plan.

Sincerely,

David F. Mears

Director

Research Administration Office

cc:

Executive Director Feuerborn

Tony DeCrappeo/COGR

OMB, Paperwork Reduction Project (2700-0073), Washington DC 20503


National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Headquarters

Washington, DC 20546-0001

SEP 7 1995

Mr. David F. Mears, Director

Research Administration Office

University of California

300 Lakeside Drive

Oakland, CA 94612-3550

Dear Mr. Mears:

Thank you for your letter recommending a change to SF 295 reporting. The SF 295 frequency of reporting on subcontract plans has been revised from a quarterly to semiannually requirement. NASA has coordinated this revision with the Office of Management and Budget and we have both agreed to this reporting improvement which reduces government paperwork burden.

Donald J. Andreotta

Deputy Director, IRM Division