Ralph N. Kleps Award Process

Innovations in the California Courts - 20 of Years of Great Ideas

Created in 1991 in honor of Ralph N. Kleps, the first California Administrative Director of the Courts, the Ralph N. Kleps Award for Improvement in the Administration of the Courts recognize and celebrate the contributions individual courts have made to judicial administration.

In this 20th anniversary of the Kleps Awards, the Judicial Council is bestowing the awards for the 17th time. The awards are given in five categories. Three of the categories group the courts based on the number of authorized judicial positions. The fourth and fifth categories cover appellate court projects and collaborative projects.

Programs nominated for the awards are judged and scored on five criteria. Each program must:

  • Be a project of a California court—the court must be the driving force and project manager;
  • Further at least one of the six goals of the judicial branch’s strategic plan;
  • Be innovative—in other words, create or significantly enhance a concept, goal, or objective that improves the performance and practices of the court relative to its size, community, and available resources;
  • Have measureable results, outcomes, or benefits that demonstrate impact on the court and the public it serves; and
  • Be replicable in other courts.

The Kleps Award Committee serves as the jury for the award. Its members are a diverse group of court representatives, including members of the bench and court staff. The committee works hard to ensure that the process of program evaluation, scoring, and ultimately making recommendations to the Judicial Council is fair, is equitable, and identifies those programs that are best suited for replication by other courts.

Nomination materials were made available to the courts in spring 2010. A total of 17 eligible nominations were received that fall. After reviewing the nominations, the award committee determined that 12 of them met the criteria outlined in the nomination materials.

Through the winter of 2010 and spring of 2011, award committee members made site visits to all 12 nominees to see the programs in action and learn more from the program staff and judicial officers involved. Immediately after each site visit, committee members scored the program and reached a consensus.

The award committee met in spring 2011 to evaluate all nominees relative to the others within their categories. Programs that most clearly met the nomination criteria were recommended to the Judicial Council, which approved them at its April 29, 2011, business meeting as the recipients of the 2010– 2011 Ralph N. Kleps Award for Improvement in the Administration of the Courts.

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