Regulatory Guidance Processes: Agencies Could Benefit from Stronger Internal Control Practices, Statement of Michelle A. Sager, Director, Strategic Issues, Testimony Before the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate   [open pdf - 278KB]

From the Highlights: "Regulatory guidance is an important tool agencies use to communicate timely information about regulatory and grant programs to regulated parties, grantees, and the public. Guidance provides agencies flexibility to articulate their interpretations of regulations, clarify policies, and address new issues more quickly than may be possible using rulemaking. The potential effects of guidance and risks of legal challenges underscore the need for consistent processes for the development, review, dissemination, and evaluation of guidance. This statement discusses four key questions addressed in GAO's [Government Accountability Office] April 2015 report on regulatory guidance: (1) what it is; (2) how agencies use it; (3) how agencies decide whether to use guidance or undertake rulemaking; and (4) steps agencies can take to en sure more effective guidance processes. To conduct that work, GAO reviewed relevant requirements, written procedures, guidance, and websites, and interviewed agency officials. […] GAO is making no new recommendations in this statement. In the April 2015 report, GAO recommended steps to ensure consistent application of OMB [Office of Management and Budget] requirements for significant guidance and to strengthen internal controls in guidance production processes. The agencies generally agreed with the recommendations."

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