Making formal recommendations is one of the primary activities of the Administrative Conference. The Conference’s research and the resulting recommendations are conducted through our Project Process. The process includes: gathering and selecting ideas for a project, getting Council approval, selecting the researcher, having the researcher’s report considered by a committee, having the selected committee formulate a recommendation, having a committee’s recommendation considered by the Council and then the full Conference membership, and then implementation activities. Recommendations are adopted by the voting members of the Conference at semi-annual plenary sessions.

On occasion, the Conference membership has acted to adopt a “Statement” to express its views on a particular matter without making a formal recommendation on the subject.  Conference 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.  During the Conference’s prior history, from 1968 through 1995, it adopted 17 such statements, which are included in the searchable database of recommendations.

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Resolving FOIA Disputes Through Targeted ADR Strategies


Recommendation 2014-1, "Resolving FOIA Disputes Through Targeted ADR Strategies," addresses more effective use of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) approaches to help resolve disputes arising under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).  The OPEN Government Act of 2007 created the Office of Government Information Services (OGIS), a part of the National Archives and Records Administration, to assist in the resolution of FOIA...

Government in the Sunshine Act


Recommendation 2014-2, "Government in the Sunshine Act," highlights best practices designed to enhance transparency of decisionmaking at multi-member boards and commissions subject to the Government in the Sunshine Act.  The recommendation urges covered agencies to provide a description of the primary mechanisms for conducting business, describe substantive business disposed of outside of open meetings subject to the Act (with...

Guidance in the Rulemaking Process


Recommendation 2014-3, "Guidance in the Rulemaking Process," identifies best practices for agencies when providing guidance in preambles to final rules.  It suggests ways that agencies can improve the drafting and presentation of these preambles, including making it easier to identify any guidance content.  The recommendation also urges agencies to ensure that users of their websites can easily locate the required small entity...

"Ex Parte" Communications in Informal Rulemaking


Recommendation 2014-4, "'Ex Parte' Communications in Informal Rulemaking," provides guidance and best practices to agencies for managing "ex parte" communications between agency personnel and nongovernmental interested persons regarding the substance of informal rulemaking proceedings conducted under 5 U.S.C. § 553.

Petitions for Rulemaking


This recommendation identifies agency procedures and best practices for accepting, processing, and responding to petitions for rulemaking. It seeks to ensure that the public's right to petition is a meaningful one, while still respecting the need for agencies to retain decisional autonomy. Building upon ACUS's previous work on the subject, it provides additional guidance that may make the petitioning process more useful for agencies...

Improving Consistency in Social Security Disability Adjudications


Recommendation 2013-1, “Improving Consistency in Social Security Disability Adjudications,” identifies ways to improve the adjudication of Social Security disability benefits claims before administrative law judges and the Appeals Council, suggests changes to the evaluation of opinion evidence from medical professionals, and encourages the agency to enhance data capture and reporting.

Benefit-Cost Analysis


Recommendation 2013-2,“Benefit-Cost Analysis at Independent Regulatory Agencies,” highlights a series of best practices directed at independent regulatory agencies in the preparation of benefit-cost analyses that accompany proposed and final rules.

Science in the Administrative Process

  • Recommendation number: 2013-3
  • Adopted on: June 14, 2013
  • Committees: Regulation
  • Tags: Science

Recommendation 2013-3, “Science in the Administrative Process,” promotes transparency in agencies' scientific decision-making, including: articulation of questions to be informed by science information; attribution for agency personnel who contributed to scientific analyses; public access to underlying data and literature; and conflict of interest disclosures for privately funded research used by the agencies in...

Administrative Record in Informal Rulemaking


Recommendation 2013-4, “The Administrative Record in Informal Rulemaking,” offers best practices for agencies in the compilation, preservation, and certification of records in informal rulemaking, and supports the judicial presumption of regularity for agency administrative records except in certain limited circumstances.

Social Media in Rulemaking


Recommendation 2013-5, “Social Media in Rulemaking,” provides guidance to agencies on whether, how, and when social media might be used both lawfully and effectively to support rulemaking activities.