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Executive Order 12160—Federal Consumer Programs

September 26, 1979


By virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution of the United States of America, and in order to improve the management, coordination , and effectiveness of agency consumer programs, it is ordered as follows:

1-1. Establishment of the Consumer Affairs Council.

1-101. There is hereby established the Consumer Affairs Council (hereinafter referred to as the "Council").

1-102. The Council shall consist of representatives of the following agencies, and such other officers or employees of the United States as the President may designate as members:

(a) Department of Agriculture.

(b) Department of Commerce.

(c) Department of Defense.

(d) Department of Energy.

(e) Department of Health, Education, and Welfare.

(f) Department of Housing and Urban Development.

(g) Department of the Interior.

(h) Department of Justice.

(i) Department of Labor.

(j) Department of State.

(k) Department of Transportation.

(1) Department of the Treasury.

Each agency on the Council shall be represented by the head of the agency or by a senior-level official designated by the head of the agency.

1-2. Functions of the Council.

1-201. The Council shall provide leadership and coordination to ensure that agency consumer programs are implemented effectively; and shall strive to maximize effort, promote efficiency and interagency cooperation, and to eliminate duplication and inconsistency among agency consumer programs.

1-3. Designation and Functions of the Chairperson.

1-301. The President shall designate the Chairperson of the Council (hereinafter referred to as the "Chairperson").

1-302. The Chairperson shall be the presiding officer of the Council and shall determine the times when the Council shall convene.

1-303. The Chairperson shall establish such policies, definitions, procedures, and standards to govern the implementation, interpretation, and application of this Order, and generally perform such functions and take such steps, as are necessary or appropriate to carry out the provisions of this Order.

1-4. Consumer Program Reforms.

1-401. The Chairperson, assisted by the Council, shall ensure that agencies review and revise their operating procedures so that consumer needs and interests are adequately considered and addressed. Agency consumer programs should be tailored to fit particular agency characteristics, but those programs shall include, at a minimum, the following five elements:

(a) Consumer Affairs Perspective. Agencies shall have identifiable, accessible professional staffs of consumer affairs personnel authorized to participate, in a manner not inconsistent with applicable statutes, in the development and review of all agency rules, policies, programs, and legislation.

(b) Consumer Participation. Agencies shall establish procedures for the early and meaningful participation by consumers in the development and review of all agency rules, policies, and programs. Such procedures shall include provisions to assure that consumer concerns are adequately analyzed and considered in decisionmaking. To facilitate the expression of those concerns, agencies shall provide for forums at which consumers can meet with agency decision-makers. In addition, agencies shall make affirmative efforts to inform consumers of pending proceedings and of the opportunities available for participation therein.

(c) Informational Materials. Agencies shall produce and distribute materials to inform consumers about the agencies' responsibilities and services, about their procedures for consumer participation, and about aspects of the marketplace for which they have responsibility. In addition, each agency shall make available to consumers who attend agency meetings open to the public materials designed to make those meetings comprehensible to them.

(d) Education and Training. Agencies shall educate their staff members about the Federal consumer policy embodied in this Order and about the agencies' programs for carrying out that policy. Specialized training shall be provided to agency consumer affairs personnel and, to the extent considered appropriate by each agency and in a manner not inconsistent with applicable statutes, technical assistance shall be made available to consumers and their organizations.

(e) Complaint Handling. Agencies shall establish procedures for systematically logging in, investigating, and responding to consumer complaints, and for integrating analyses of complaints into the development of policy.

1-402. The head of each agency shall designate a senior-level official within that agency to exercise, as the official's sole responsibility, policy direction for, and coordination and oversight of, the agency's consumer activities. The designated official shall report directly to the head of the agency and shall apprise the agency head of the potential impact on consumers of particular policy initiatives under development or review within the agency.

1-5. Implementation of Consumer Program Reforms.

1-501. Within 60 days after the issuance of this Order, each agency shall prepare a draft report setting forth with specificity its program for complying with the requirements of Section 1-4 above. Each agency shall publish its draft consumer program in the FEDERAL REGISTER and shall give the public 60 days to comment on the program. A copy of the program shall be sent to the Council.

1-502. Each agency shall, within 30 days after the close of the public comment period on its draft consumer program, submit a revised program to the Chairperson. The Chairperson shall be responsible, on behalf of the President, for approving agency programs for compliance with this Order before their final publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER. Each agency's final program shall be published no later than 90 days after the close of the public comment period, and shall include a summary of public comments on the draft program and a discussion of how those comments are reflected in the final program.

1-503. Each agency's consumer program shall take effect no later than 30 days after its final publication in the FEDERAL REGISTER.

1-504. The Chairperson, with the assistance and advice of the Council, shall monitor the implementation by agencies of their consumer programs.

1-505. The Chairperson shall, promptly after the close of the fiscal year, submit to the President a full report on government-wide progress under this Order during the previous fiscal year. In addition, the Chairperson shall evaluate, from time to time, the consumer programs of particular agencies and shall report to the President as appropriate. Such evaluations shall be informed by appropriate consultations with interested parties.

1-6. Budget Review.

1-601. Each agency shall include a separate consumer program exhibit in its yearly budget submission to the Office of Management and Budget. By October 1 of each year the Director of the Office of Management and Budget shall provide the Chairperson with a copy of each of these exhibits. The Chairperson shall thereafter provide OMB with an analysis of the adequacy of the management of, and the funding and staff levels for, particular agency consumer programs.

1-7. Civil Service Initiatives.

1-701. In order to strengthen the professional standing of consumer affairs personnel, and to improve the recruitment and training of such personnel, the Office of Personnel Management shall consult with the Council regarding:

(a) the need for new or revised classification and qualification standard(s), consistent with the requirements of Title 5, United States Code, to be used by agencies in their classification of positions which include significant consumer affairs duties;

(b) the recruitment and selection of employees for the performance of consumer affairs duties; and

(c) the training and development of employees for the performance of such duties.

1-8. Administrative Provisions.

1-801. Executive agencies shall cooperate with and assist the Council and the Chairperson in the performance of their functions under this Order and shall on a timely basis furnish them with such reports as they may request.

1-802. The Chairperson shall utilize the assistance of the United States Office of Consumer Affairs in fulfilling the responsibilities assigned to the Chairperson tinder this Order.

1-803. The Chairperson shall be responsible for providing the Council with such administrative services and support as may be necessary or appropriate; agencies shall assign, to the extent not inconsistent with applicable statutes, such personnel and resources to the activities of the Council and the Chairperson as will enable the Council and the Chairperson to fulfill their responsibilities under this Order.

1-804. The Chairperson may invite representatives of non-member agencies, including independent regulatory agencies, to participate from time to time in the functions of the Council.

1-9. Definitions.

1-901. "Consumer" means any individual who uses, purchases, acquires, attempts to purchase or acquire, or is offered or furnished any real or personal property, tangible or intangible goods, services, or credit for personal, family, or household purposes.

1-902. "Agency" or "agencies" mean any department or agency in the executive branch of the Federal government, except that the term shall not include:

(a) independent regulatory agencies, except as noted in subsection 1-804;

(b) agencies to the extent that their activities fall within the categories excepted in Sections 6 (b) (2), (3), (4),and (6)of Executive Order No. 12044.

(c) agencies to the extent that they demonstrate within 30 days of the date of issuance of this Order, to the satisfaction of the Chairperson with the advice of the Council, that their activities have no substantial impact upon consumers.


The White House,

September 26, 1979.

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 4:56 p.m., September 26, 1979]

Jimmy Carter, Executive Order 12160—Federal Consumer Programs Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248452

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