The Administrative Conference of the United States (ACUS)—a government agency that promotes best practices and procedures to improve federal administration—recently adopted recommendations for improving public access to federal agency guidance documents. The new recommendations grew out of a study produced for ACUS by University of Pennsylvania Law School professor Cary Coglianese.
Federal agencies not only issue binding rules and regulations but they also issue many guidance documents that, while not officially binding, still convey useful information to the public. Many guidance documents explain how agencies interpret or apply their regulations. But, as Coglianese notes in his study, agency guidance documents can only be helpful to the public if they are readily available.
Coglianese’s study identified prevailing concerns about the lack of easy online availability of many agency guidance documents. Coglianese reviewed best practices across the federal government and offered recommendations to help federal agencies disseminate their guidance in ways that allow citizens to more easily understand how the agencies interpret and apply the laws they are charged with implementing.
Coglianese is the Edward B. Shils Professor of Law and Professor of Political Science, and he is the Director of the Penn Program on Regulation.