This Month at ACUS: January 2023

This series highlights selected ACUS projects. To learn more about ongoing projects, subscribe to our mailing list. 

78th Plenary Session Recommendations Published 

 The Assembly adopted three recommendations at the 78th Plenary Session on December 15: 

 All three recommendations are available on the ACUS website and in the Federal Register (88 Fed. Reg. 2312). 

New Projects Announced 

ACUS has launched three new projects directed toward development of recommendations for consideration and adoption by the Assembly: 

  • Congressional Constituent Service Inquiries. This project will examine how agencies receive, process, and respond to congressional inquiries made on behalf of constituents who need assistance accessing federal programs or navigating adjudicative and other similar administrative processes. Based on that study, this project will identify best practices for agencies to promote quality, efficiency, and timeliness in agency procedures for responding to such inquiries. 

  • Improving Timeliness in Agency Adjudication. This project will survey strategies—including procedural, technological, personnel, and other reforms—that agencies have used or might use to address backlogs or delays in administrative adjudication. Based on this survey, it will identify best practices to help agencies devise plans to promote timeliness in administrative adjudication, in accord with principles of fairness, accuracy, and efficiency. The project will also consider potential congressional reforms, if warranted. 

  • User Fees. This project will recommend best practices for agencies—and Congress, if warranted—to consider in designing and implementing user fees in administrative programs. It will examine, among other topics, how Congress and agencies determine when user fees are appropriate; how agencies determine fair and reasonable user fees for specific programs; how they engage with the public in determining user fees; and how often they review their user fee programs. 

ACUS is seeking consultants for all three projects. For more information, see the requests for proposals. Proposals for all three projects are due by February 10. 


ACUS-LSC Forum: Assisting Parties in Federal Administrative Adjudication 

ACUS and the Legal Services Corporation held the first panel discussion in an ongoing series, Assisting Parties in Federal Administrative Adjudication. In a discussion moderated by ACUS Acting Research Director Jeremy Graboyes, two senior agency officials (Nancy Griswold, Ashley Tabaddor) and two legal aid providers (Deedee Peterson, Richard Prebil) examined why many parties in agency adjudications lack professional representation and addressed potential strategies to expand access to representation in federal programs. Video of the discussion is available here. Future panels in the series will be announced soon. 

Working Group on Model Rules of Representative Conduct 

The Working Group will have its first meeting on February 7. The Working Group carries out the Assembly’s recommendation to the Office of the Chair to “consider promulgating model rules of conduct” consistent with Recommendation 2021-9, Regulation of Representatives in Agency Adjudicative Proceedings. The Working Group is chaired by Administrative Law Judge Erin Wirth, and Professor Lou Virelli serves as its reporter. 


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