White House Guidance on Broadening Public Participation Reflects Administrative Conference Recommendations

Contact: Harry M. Seidman
Phone: 202.480.2085
Email: hseidman@acus.gov

White House Guidance on Broadening Public Participation Reflects Administrative Conference Recommendations

Washington, D.C., July 21, 2023 – Guidance issued on July 19 by the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) encourages agencies to use Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) resources to broaden public participation and community engagement in their regulatory processes.

The guidance, contained in a memorandum from OIRA Administrator Richard Revesz to the heads of federal agencies, relies heavily on a 2018 report to ACUS by Professors Michael Sant’Ambrogio and Glen Staszewski and reflects best practices set forth in several recommendations adopted by ACUS.

The guidance encourages agencies to publish on their websites the public regulatory engagement plans described in Recommendation 2018-7, Public Engagement in Rulemaking. Consistent with Recommendation 2014-4, “Ex Parte” Communications in Informal Rulemaking, the guidance also encourages agencies to ensure their policies on communication and outreach for notice-and comment “recognize the importance of early engagement and transparency” and “support proactive outreach,” especially prior to issuing proposed rules.

OIRA’s emphasis on early public engagement and the use of plain language in agency rulemaking is also consistent with Recommendation 2021-3, Early Input on Regulatory Alternatives, and Recommendation 2017-3, Plain Language in Regulatory Drafting.

The guidance builds on Executive Order 14,094, Modernizing Regulatory Review (April 6, 2023). That executive order, as well as earlier OIRA guidance on implementing the order, reflect several ACUS recommendations on public participation.

ACUS Chair Andrew Fois said: “Public engagement in the regulatory process should be a vital part of every agency’s rulemaking. Everyone at ACUS is delighted that OIRA has referred agencies to our work to help them in their public outreach.”

ACUS was established by Congress improve federal administrative procedure, including by promoting more effective public participation in the rulemaking process. Resources on public participation are available online at www.acus.gov/public-participation.

About ACUS 

The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) is an independent, non-partisan federal agency within the executive branch dedicated to improving administrative law and federal regulatory processes. It conducts applied research, and provides expert recommendations and other advice, to improve federal agency procedures. Its membership is composed of senior federal officials, academics, and other experts from the private sector. Since 1968, ACUS has issued hundreds of recommendations, published reports and reference guides, and organized forums to improve the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of administrative processes such as rulemaking and adjudication. Many have resulted in reforms by federal agencies, the President, Congress, and the Judicial Conference of the United States. Learn more at www.acus.gov.

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