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Cost-Containment Measures - Annual Report 2011

  • Cost Containment Summit 2011

    Judicial Conference committee chairs discussed Judiciary spending during the cost-containment summit.

  • Cost Containment Summit

    Finding ways to reduce costs while serving the public is at the forefront of Judiciary policy-making and planning.

  • Cost Containment Summit 2011

    Identifying cost-containment initiatives is happening in all parts of the Judiciary.

  • Cost Containment Summit 2011

    The Administrative Offices advises Judicial Conference committees and advisory groups on the budget outlook.

  • Cost Containment Summit 2011

    Cost-containment initiatives developed by the Administrative Office’s internal task force were adopted by the Director.

This situation is likely to last for the foreseeable future, making it essential that the Judiciary continue its cost-containment strategy begun in 2004 and adapted over time. The Judicial Conference emphasized effective and efficient use of public resources as a key operating principle in the Strategic Plan for the Federal Judiciary, which it approved in September 2010 and began implementing throughout fiscal year 2011.

At a cost-containment summit held in Washington, DC, in September 2011, Judicial Conference committee chairs discussed all aspects of Judiciary spending. Their goal was to reduce expenses and plan for a constrained budget climate if, as anticipated, court appropriations were severely reduced.

Judicial Conference committee chairs agreed to pursue a prioritized list of cost-containment initiatives. Some proposals were considered for implementation in FY 2012 and for FY 2013 financial plans. For example, the Judicial Resources Committee has accelerated reviews of the work measurement formulas. Other suggestions are longer-term and may require Judicial Conference approval.

Early in 2011, Executive Committee Chair Chief Judge David B. Sentelle sent a list of potential cost-cutting "quick hits" for immediate review by the chairs of all Judicial Conference committees. Judges and court managers on Judiciary advisory committees helped develop the cost-cutting recommendations. These ideas laid the foundation for the cost-containment summit.

The initiatives produced by the cost-containment summit were provided to the appropriate Judicial Conference committees, with encouragement to develop additional ideas. Committee recommendations were reviewed by the Judicial Conference Budget Committee in January 2011, and by the Executive Committee at its February meeting. At its March 2012 meeting, the Judicial Conference is expected to consider a comprehensive cost-containment strategy for the Judiciary.

Many cost-containment initiatives are already in progress:

At the Administrative Office, the Director formed an AO cost-containment task force in January 2011 representing all parts of the agency, with the mission of developing short- and long-term recommendations for meeting core AO responsibilities with substantially reduced resources. This entailed a review of the policy and process alternatives available, and developing specific actions for containing costs in fiscal years 2012, 2013, and beyond. The task force completed its work in April, focusing on funds supporting the operation of the AO as well as funds managed centrally that support court operations. AO executive management endorsed the recommendations in May and many recommendations have been implemented for 2011 and 2012.