Compilation of Statistics on Administrative Proceedings by Federal Departments and Agencies

Government agencies which conduct formal or informal rulemaking proceedings or cases of adjudication which directly fix the rights and obligations of private persons (hereafter referred to as “proceedings”)[1] owe a special duty to the individuals affected and to the general public to manage their caseloads as efficiently as possible, to eliminate inordinate delays in the conduct of proceedings, and to work continuously toward improving the fairness, effectiveness, and economy of their procedures. The present volume of Federal administrative proceedings is so great that much of the basic information needed in these efforts can be developed in intelligible and useful form only through statistical study. The compilation and publication of comprehensive statistics on Federal agency proceedings, at regular intervals, would:

(a) Provide each agency with information concerning its business which would enable it to manage its caseload more effectively,

(b) Augment generally the information concerning its activities which each agency must furnish to the President, the Congress, and the public,

(c) Afford affected parties and their counsel a better understanding of the administrative processes which determine their rights and obligations, and

(d) Provide a basis for specific study of particular agency procedures by the agency itself, by committees of Congress, the Administrative Conference of the United States, the organized bar, research scholars, and other individuals and organizations, public and private, interested in improving the Federal administrative process.

Recommendation

1. To the extent deemed useful to advance the purposes of this recommendation, each Federal administrative agency which conducts proceedings (as defined above) affecting private persons’ rights, privileges or obligations, should prepare annual statistical data pertaining to those proceedings, to be compiled in such manner and presented in such publications as the agency considers appropriate.

2. These statistical compilations should list the kinds of proceedings pending during the year, with a concise yet meaningful description of the nature and purpose of each kind of proceeding and citations for the statutory authority under which the proceedings are conducted, and the sections of the Code of Federal Regulations which set forth the rules of practice governing each kind of proceeding.

3. For the purpose of agency efforts that may be made in cooperation with the Chairman of the Administrative Conference of the United States, to lessen delays in administrative proceedings, the statistical compilation should show the number of days which elapsed during each significant step of the proceedings which were concluded during the year.

4. In designing each agency’s compilation, the following information, together with the time-study data referred to in 3 above, should be considered minimal:

(a) The number of proceedings of each kind pending at the beginning of the year;

(b) The number of new proceedings filed or otherwise commenced during the year;

(c) The number of proceedings concluded during the year and the manner of their disposition (i.e., by settlement, dismissal on procedural grounds, decision on the merits without hearing, final decision by agency after hearing, and an examiner’s initial decision, etc.);

(d) The number of proceedings remaining at the end of the year; and

(e) The number of proceedings concluded during the year which were appealed to the courts.

5. Each agency should periodically analyze all of the information thus compiled and should develop improved techniques fitted to its particular needs to reduce delays and expense and otherwise to improve its administrative processes. A copy of this analysis should be submitted to the Administrative Conference of the United States.

6. In presenting its statistical compilation, each agency should summarize this analysis and describe the specific steps it has taken toward the ends referred to in 5 above.

7. Each agency, in its subsequent compilations, should follow a pattern that makes possible a comparison of data with corresponding data for earlier periods, thus reflecting changes in backlogs, volumes, and elapsed times and providing a measure of the agency’s experience following the specific actions referred to in 6 above.

 

Citations:

38 FR 19784 (July 23, 1973)

__ FR _____ (2012)

1 ACUS 26

 


[1] The agency compilations proposed by this recommendation should not be limited to formal proceedings, or limited to “proceedings” as that term has been employed in gathering statistics for past conferences or Congressional groups. Rather, agency figures should report all matters directly fixing the rights, privileges, and obligations of private interests including the routine handling of applications and claims.