Agency Administrative Systems Need Attention

FPCD-83-15: Published: Dec 22, 1982. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 1982.

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GAO reviewed administrative grievance systems at selected federal agencies.

GAO found shortcomings which lessen the effectiveness of the grievance procedures, including: (1) untimely processing of grievances by agencies, and (2) lack of a formal systematic method to determine how well the systems operate. Although the departments and agencies have established time limits to provide orderly processing and timely resolution of grievances, they are not meeting the deadlines. Taking more than the allowed time to settle grievances decreases confidence in the system and detracts from its credibility. Two departments have implemented grievance mechanisms which may help reduce the time it takes to process a grievance. The departments and agencies generally do not have a basis for judging the effectiveness of their administrative systems. Some have begun to collect information to evaluate their systems, but none has an overview of the systems' effectiveness. GAO believes that, to evaluate their systems, departments and agencies should collect information, such as: (1) the types of grievances; (2) where grievances occur; (3) how and at what level in the process grievances are resolved; (4) the time it takes to process and resolve grievances; and (5) causes of delays in processing grievances.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, Office of Personnel Management (OPM), should emphasize to departments and agencies the importance of establishing and meeting credible time limits and correcting problems that cause these time limits to be exceeded.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should direct departments and agencies to collect information essential to a monitoring and evaluation program and evaluate the effectiveness of their administrative grievance systems.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Although OPM did not directly address Health and Human Services and Department of Navy procedures, OPM actions on the recommendations substantially meet the intent of the report.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should assess the advantages and disadvantages of the procedures being used by the Departments of Health and Human Services and the Navy to improve timeliness and give the results to other federal departments and agencies for comparison with their procedures' advantages and disadvantages.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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