Recommendations

The main statutory function of ACUS is to bring together the public and private sectors to recommend improvements to administrative and regulatory processes.

ACUS’s Office of the Chairman, with the approval of the Council, engages consultants to study administrative processes or procedures that may need improvement. Consultants or in-house staff then prepare a comprehensive research report proposing recommendations. An ACUS committee discusses this report, preparing a draft Recommendation to submit to the Council and, with approval, to the Assembly. Following a debate the Assembly adopts the final Recommendation, which ACUS undertakes to implement.                                                                              

On occasion, the ACUS membership has acted to adopt a “Statement” to express its views on a particular matter without making a formal recommendation on the subject.  ACUS statements are typically the product of the same process that leads to recommendations, but may set forth issues, conclusions from a study, or comments, rather than recommendations.  ACUS has adopted 20 such statements, which are included in the searchable database of recommendations.

  • Recommendation number: 2021-8
  • Adopted on: December 16, 2021
  • Committee: Rulemaking
Executive Summary

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) provides an expedited legislative process for overturning rules promulgated by federal agencies. This Recommendation suggests technical statutory amendments to streamline and clarify the process for submitting rules to Congress under the CRA and to reduce administrative burdens on both executive-branch agencies and congressional offices. Among other things, it recommends:

...
  • Recommendation number: 2021-9
  • Adopted on: December 16, 2021
Executive Summary

This Recommendation offers best practices for agencies to consider when developing rules governing the participation and conduct of attorneys and non-attorneys who represent parties in adjudicative proceedings. Among other things, it recommends:

Agencies should consider whether to adopt rules developed by other authorities or organizations or draft their own rules. Agencies should also consider whether...

Executive Summary

This Recommendation provides guidance for agencies in developing and implementing quality assurance (QA) systems to proactively identify problems in case adjudication, including misapplied legal standards, inconsistent applications of the law by different adjudicators, procedural violations, and systemic barriers to participation in adjudicatory proceedings. Identifying and correcting such problems promotes...

  • Recommendation number: 2020-1
  • Adopted on: December 16, 2020
  • Committee: Regulation

Numerous agencies have promulgated rules setting forth the policies and procedures they will follow when conducting informal rulemakings under 5 U.S.C. § 553.[1] The rules can cover a variety of practices, including processes for initiating and seeking public input on new rules, coordinating with the Office of Management and Budget and other agencies as a rule is being formulated, and obtaining approval from agency leadership before...

  • Recommendation number: 2020-2
  • Adopted on: December 16, 2020
  • Committee: Rulemaking

As part of the rulemaking process, agencies create public rulemaking dockets, which consist of all rulemaking materials agencies have: (1) proactively published online or (2) made available for public inspection in a reading room. Public rulemaking dockets include materials agencies generate themselves and comments agencies receive from the public. Their purpose is to provide the public with the information that informed agencies’...

  • Recommendation number: 2020-3
  • Adopted on: December 16, 2020
  • Committee: Adjudication

In Recommendation 2016-4,[1] the Administrative Conference offered best practices for evidentiary hearings in administrative adjudications. Paragraph 26 recommended that agencies provide for “higher-level review” (or “agency appellate review”) of the decisions of hearing-level adjudicators.[2] This Recommendation offers best practices for such review. The Administrative Conference intends this Recommendation to cover appellate...

Federal law establishes policies and procedures governing how federal executive agencies procure supplies and services.[1] The primary source of these policies and procedures is the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR),[2] which applies to all executive-agency acquisitions of supplies and services with appropriated funds by and for the use of the federal government, unless expressly excluded. Other relevant policies and procedures...

  • Recommendation number: 2020-5
  • Adopted on: December 17, 2020
  • Committee: Adjudication

Federal agency officials throughout the country preside over hundreds of thousands of adjudications each year.[1] As the Administrative Conference has previously observed, litigants, their lawyers, and other members of the public benefit from having ready online access to procedural rules, decisions, and other key materials associated with adjudications.[2] They also benefit from having ready online access to the policies and...

  • Recommendation number: 2020-6
  • Adopted on: December 17, 2020
  • Committee: Judicial Review

Federal agencies and their component units[1] participate in thousands of court cases every year. Most such cases result in “agency litigation materials,” which this Recommendation defines as including agencies’ publicly filed pleadings, briefs, and settlements, as well as court decisions, where such materials bear on agencies’ regulatory or enforcement activities.

Public access to agency litigation materials is desirable for...

  • Recommendation number: Statement # 20
  • Adopted on: December 16, 2020

Artificial intelligence (AI) techniques are changing how government agencies do their work.[1] Advances in AI hold out the promise of lowering the cost of completing government tasks and improving the quality, consistency, and predictability of agencies’ decisions. But agencies’ uses of AI also raise concerns about the full or partial displacement of human decision making and discretion.

Consistent with its statutory mission...