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Management of Fed Advisory Committees Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) Management Overview

In 1972, the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Public Law 92-463, 5 U.S.C., App) was enacted by Congress. Its purpose was to ensure that advice rendered to the executive branch by the various advisory committees, task forces, boards, and commissions formed over the years by Congress and the president, be both objective and accessible to the public. The Act not only formalized a process for establishing, operating, overseeing, and terminating these advisory bodies, but also created the Committee Management Secretariat (MC), an organization whose task it is to monitor and report executive branch compliance with the Act.

In 1976, Executive Order 12024 delegated to the administrator of GSA all responsibilities of the president for implementing the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). Secretariat operations are directed at reporting to the president and Congress on the activities of at least 1000 federal advisory committees. Samples of documents and forms used by the Secretariat and its clients can be found in the "Advice and Guidance" pages.

Executive orders and congressional revisions have further refined the extension and the application of the Act in 1993, 1997, and 1998, and the extent and nature of the Secretariat's reporting of the activities of the committees. The legal history is easy to follow in the "Legislation and Regulation" pages.

The FACA Brochure!

Basic summary information about FACA and Committee Management!

Training for FACA

The Secretariat conducts between four and seven training courses a year, both in the Washington area and throughout the US. FACA goal is to educate those federal employees directly involved with the operation of federal advisory committees. Students are rigorously instructed in the nuances of FACA.

Annual Comprehensive Review

Committee Management Secretariat staff conduct an ongoing review of federal advisory committees, boards, and commissions to confirm that the committees are fulfilling the purpose for which they were established. This review is accomplished through the utilization of specific criteria, and by means of on-site visits, as well as examination of meeting minutes and annual reports.

Annual Report of the President

From 1972 through 1998, the Secretariat annually compiled a consistent set of statistical data on federal advisory committees, as required by FACA. This data was made available to the public, the president, and Congress via a printed annual report and copies of the detail provided by each committee and agency are available in the Library of Congress. The data included information on the distribution of Federal Advisory Committee Resources, comparisons of real versus nominal costs, actual and projected advisory committee costs, Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff levels by agency, a breakout of presidential advisory committees, and a past year to present year comparison of open meetings versus closed meetings. The printed and transmitted Annual Report was discontinued by Congress effective with the 1999 report since the information is now available online.

FACA Consultation

Agencies consult with the secretariat before creating an advisory committee, and the Secretariat verifies, among other things, that the committee is prepared to file a charter which meets all the requirements of FACA.

Performance Guidelines

As required by Section 7(c) of FACA, Committee Management Secretariat staff seek to quantify and qualify those guidelines and criteria by which various categories of advisory committees throughout the executive branch may improve their performance in terms of quality of advice and efficiency of delivery. Committee Management staff attend meetings and review reports and minutes in an effort to validate and verify suitable guidelines. To supplement this process, Committee Management has distributed a performance evaluation questionnaire to advisory committee members and officers. The agencies, with the secretariat, are now working on the results, which will be released to the agencies for their use in advisory committee planning and management.

Legal Consultations

The staff of the Secretariat are also consulted for interpretation as regards the Sunshine Law, FACA, the GSA Final Rule, and other sections of current and pending legislation which involve the creation of federal advisory committees.

Special Projects

The Secretariat staff provide support to both the White House and the Office of Management Budget (OMB) when the need arises. For example, the Secretariat currently assists OMB with the implementation of Executive Order 12838 which mandates a reduction in the number of advisory committees.

Last Modified 10/7/2004