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Blog Posts by Diane Cornell

Task Force on FCC Process

by Diane Cornell, Special Counsel, Chairman’s office
July 21, 2015 - 11:38 AM

I recently provided an update on the ongoing activities throughout the FCC to tackle the process reform recommendations from the Staff Working Group’s Report on FCC Process Reform from early 2014.  To complement these activities, a task force has recently been formed that includes representatives from all five Commissioners’ offices at the FCC.  The task force will consider ways to improve the effectiveness of the Commission’s internal processes from the Commissioners’ perspective, taking into account views expressed by internal and external stakeholders about the FCC’s internal processes and protocols. 

As part of this review, the task force will seek public input from those who regularly interact with the FCC, including consumers, licensees, communications law practitioners, and anyone with an interest in improving the FCC’s decision-making processes.  The task force will also review the practices of other similarly situated agencies to compare their operations with those at the FCC. 

Topics that will be reviewed and considered will include, but are not limited to: (a) the use of delegated authority, and practices for providing notice of matters being handled on delegated authority; (b) procedures for pre-vote circulation of Commission-level matters; (c) procedures associated with editing Commission decisions; (d) practices to encourage efficient Commission decision-making, such as the Consent Agenda;  (e) approaches for providing increased transparency of FCC procedures and protocols, and (f)  practices to track, disclose and encourage prompt Commissioner votes on items on circulation.

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Update on Process Reform at the FCC

by Diane Cornell, Special Counsel, Chairman’s Office
July 13, 2015 - 01:18 PM

In early 2014, we embarked on an ambitious initiative to improve how we do business at the Commission with the release of the Process Reform Report.  The 154 recommendations in the report focused on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of how the agency conducts business, handling items more quickly and more transparently (especially backlogged matters), improving our interactions with external stakeholders, and eliminating or streamlining outdated rules, procedures, and processes.  

FCC staff throughout the agency has been working hard on these recommendations over the last year, and that work continues every day.  There are ten active working groups, as well as teams tackling backlogs, streamlining, IT upgrades and many other process reform objectives within the individual Bureaus and Offices.  There’s much work left to be done, but we’ve made a lot of progress, and I’m very proud of the team effort.  Here are just a few of the highlights of the notable accomplishments over the last year:

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New Consumer Help Center Is Designed To Empower Consumers, Streamline Complaint System

January 5, 2015 - 12:47 PM

The first responsibility of the FCC is to represent consumers. Facilitating consumer interface with the Commission is a major component of that responsibility. Today, we are proud to announce the launch of a new online Consumer Help Center.

The Consumer Help Center will make the FCC more user-friendly, accessible and transparent to consumers. This new capability is part of Chairman Wheeler's comprehensive review of the agency's processes and operations. A significant goal of this effort is to take advantage of advances in technology to provide better service and support for consumers, now and in the future. The new tool launched today replaces the Commission's previous complaint system with an easier-to-use, more consumer-friendly portal for filing and monitoring complaints.

We see the Help Center as a new approach to enhancing communications between the Commission and the public. In addition to being easier to use for consumers, the information collected will be smoothly integrated with our policymaking and enforcement processes. The result will be better results for consumers and better information for the agency. The insights we gain will help identify trends in consumer issues and enable us to focus Commission time, money, and resources on the issues that matter most.

Here are some key features of the Help Center:

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An Update on Process Reform Streamlining Initiatives

by Diane Cornell, Special Counsel, Office of the Chairman
December 22, 2014 - 12:10 PM

In October, I provided an update on the FCC’s efforts to reduce our backlogs.   As 2014 draws to a close, I want to provide an update on another key reform objective:  streamlining the Commission’s processes.  We have had several working groups as well as staff throughout the Commission focusing on new approaches to simplify how we do business, with the goal of improving the efficiency, effectiveness and transparency of the Commission’s work.  Just in these last few months we’ve made tremendous progress on many fronts.  A few of these initiatives are highlighted below:

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An Update on Process Reform Efforts to Reduce Backlog

by Diane Cornell, Special Counsel, Office of the Chairman
October 9, 2014 - 03:31 PM

Since the release of the Report on FCC Process Reform last February, the dedicated staff here at the Commission has been hard at work on implementing the report’s recommendations.  One area of particular focus has been tackling matters that have been considered backlogged, and – even more importantly – increasing speed of disposal for all matters.  As noted in the Report, backlogs generally develop because of (1) increased volume of work; (2) complex issues; (3) inter-related issues; and/or (4) need for coordination with others.  Two key internal process reform working groups have been examining ways to not only reduce the number of items currently pending at the Commission, but to also move incoming items through the system faster.  A few examples of progress in this area include:

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Public Input on Process Reform

by Diane Cornell , Special Counsel, Office of the Chairman
December 11, 2013 - 05:42 PM

Thank you to all of you who took the time to respond to my blog post to provide input and ideas for reforming FCC processes.  We received numerous responses, all of which were very thoughtful and offered some great ideas for process reform.  The replies submitted through in response to the blog post are now publicly available. 

We are taking all of your comments into account, both those submitted by external parties and those received internally, for our report and recommendations to the Chairman in early January 2014.  Remember, we are only at the initial stages of this process.  We plan to remain engaged with the public on ways in which the FCC can be more efficient and effective, and we encourage you to continue to submit your ideas to  We are always open to your thoughts and ideas.

Thank you for your efforts and your constructive commitment to helping us improve the workings of the FCC.

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A Call for Input: Improving Government Efficiency at the FCC

by Diane Cornell, Special Counsel, Office of the Chairman
November 18, 2013 - 02:38 PM

***Please Note: original blog text was revised 11/19/2013 to notify the public that any feedback received will be made public

As Chairman Wheeler announced in his initial blog post upon joining the FCC, improving agency processes and procedures to more efficiently and effectively serve the public interest is one of his top priorities.  As Special Counsel to Chairman Wheeler, I have been tasked with developing a plan within the next 60 days that includes recommendations on how best to tackle the challenge of reforming FCC processes.

In connection with that effort, we are soliciting public input on improving the efficiency of how we conduct business here at the FCC.  We know that stakeholders who interact with the FCC will have many thoughts on substantive reforms that the agency should undertake, but for this effort, we are particularly interested in your ideas and insights to improve the efficiency of the process at the FCC. 

Please email your thoughts and ideas on FCC process reform to (note that comments related to specific ongoing proceedings should be filed in those dockets and not in response to this blog post).  PLEASE SUBMIT YOUR INPUT AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, BUT NO LATER THAN DECEMBER 2nd, SO THAT WE HAVE SUFFICIENT TIME TO EVALUATE RESPONSES. 

In particular, we are interested in any thoughts on what concrete steps the FCC can take to:

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