ACUS Adopts Six Recommendations and One Statement to Improve Efficiency, Fairness, Transparency, and Public Participation in Government Programs 

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Contact: Harry M. Seidman 
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hseidman@acus.gov 

ACUS Adopts Six Recommendations and One Statement to Improve Efficiency, Fairness, Transparency, and Public Participation in Government Programs 

Washington, December 17, 2020 - At its 73rd Plenary Session, held virtually on December 16 and 17, the Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS) adopted six recommendations and one statement that will improve the efficiency, transparency, and fairness of administrative programs; reduce their costs to taxpayers; and enhance the public’s ability to participate in them.  

Recommendation 2020-1: Rules on Rulemaking. This recommendation urges agencies to consider adopting rules governing their rulemaking procedures, making such rules publicly available, and soliciting public input on their content. It identifies the subjects that agencies should consider addressing in their rules on rulemakings without prescribing any particular procedures that agencies should include. Additional information is available here.  

Recommendation 2020-2: Protected Materials in Public Rulemaking Dockets. This recommendation offers best practices for handling personal information and confidential commercial information that agencies determine should be withheld from public rulemaking dockets. It addresses how agencies can best inform members of the public that comments are generally subject to public disclosure and encourage them to review comments for protected material before submission. It also offers best practices for redacting, summarizing, and aggregating comments containing protected material before publishing the comments in public rulemaking dockets. Additional information is available here.  

Recommendation 2020-3: Agency Appellate SystemsThis recommendation addresses agencies' appellate review of hearing-level adjudicative decisions. It offers best practices with respect to an agency's identification of the purpose or objective served by its appellate review; its selection of cases for appellate review, when review is not required by statute; its procedures for review; its appellate decision-making processes; its management, administration, and bureaucratic oversight of its appellate systems; and its public disclosure of information about its appellate system. Additional information is available here.  

Recommendation 2020-4: Government Contract Bid Protests Before Agencies. This recommendation addresses the rules governing the resolution of agency-level procurement contract disputes—commonly called bid protests—under the Federal Acquisition Regulation and agency-specific regulations. It identifies changes agencies can make to current agency-level bid protest procedures to promote transparency, simplicity, and predictability. Additional information is available here.  

Recommendation 2020-5: Publication of Policies Governing Agency Adjudicators. This recommendation addresses the disclosure of agency policies relating to the selection, appointment, supervision, evaluation, discipline, and removal of adjudicators. It offers agencies best practices for providing plain-language descriptions of such policies and access to relevant legal documents on their websites. Additional information is available here.  

Recommendation 2020-6: Agency Litigation Webpages.  This recommendation offers best practices and factors for agencies to consider in deciding whether and how to make litigation filings and relevant court opinions publicly available on their websites. It identifies costs and benefits agencies should weigh when considering whether to post such materials on their websites and suggests steps agencies can take to maximize their accessibility. Additional information is available here.  

Statement #20: Agency Use of Artificial Intelligence. This official statement identifies important issues agencies should consider as they develop and use artificial intelligence systems. Among the topics it addresses are transparency, bias, technical capacity building, data collection and use, privacy, and internal and external oversight and evaluation. The statement draws on the Conference's existing work concerning agencies' uses of AI, including recent reports titled  Government by Algorithm: Artificial Intelligence in Federal Administrative Agencies  and  A Framework for Governmental Use of Machine Learning. Additional information is available here

The next Plenary Session will be held in 2021. Details, including times and recommendations to be considered, will be posted on the ACUS website. Join our mailing list at www.acus.gov/subscribe to be notified instantly. 

 

About ACUS 

The Administrative Conference of the United States is an independent federal agency dedicated to improving the administrative process through consensus-driven applied research and providing nonpartisan expert advice and recommendations for federal agency procedures. Its membership is composed of senior federal officials, academics, and other experts from the private sector. Except for the Chairman, all Conference Members are unpaid.  

The Conference is committed to promoting effective public participation and efficiency in the rulemaking process by leveraging interactive technologies and encouraging open communication with the public as well as making improvements to the regulatory process by reducing unnecessary litigation and improving the use of science and the effectiveness of applicable laws.  Learn more at www.acus.gov