In six years, the Federal Trade Commission will mark the 100th anniversary of the statute that created the agency. How well is the FTC fulfilling the destiny that Congress foresaw for it in 1914? What type of institution should it aspire to be when the Commission’s second century begins in 2014?
Over the next several months, the FTC will undertake a self-assessment to consider these and other basic questions about the agency’s future direction. This exercise will include a mix of internal deliberations and external consultations. Its goals are to encourage acceptance of a norm of periodic self-assessment, to create a template for the agency to engage regularly in an analysis of its performance, and to identify approaches for improvement over both the short and long term. The self-assessment will focus on the following six general questions:
- When we ask how well the Commission is carrying out its responsibilities, by what criteria should we assess its work?
- What techniques should we use to measure the agency’s success in meeting these normative criteria?
- What resources – personnel, facilities, equipment – will the FTC need to perform its duties in the future?
- What methods should the FTC use to select its strategy for exercising its powers?
- How can the FTC strengthen its processes for implementing its programs?
- How can the FTC better fulfill its duties by improving links with other governmental bodies and nongovernment organizations?
The progress of the FTC in its modern era has built heavily upon the willingness of its people to assess their work critically and explore possibilities for improvement. The FTC at 100 self-assessment continues and extends that tradition.