Federal Personnel:

Agencies Need To Make Greater Use of Employee Suggestion Programs

GGD-87-44BR: Published: Mar 17, 1987. Publicly Released: Mar 17, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Government Employees' Incentive Awards Program to determine if agencies have established effective suggestion programs.

GAO found that suggestion program activities and results varied widely throughout the government. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) reported that: (1) one agency received 16.1 suggestions per 100 employees during fiscal year (FY) 1985, and adopted 8,940 suggestions at a savings of $71 million; (2) another agency received less than 1 suggestion per 100 employees during that same year, adopted 1, and reported no tangible benefits; and (3) some agencies reported no activity in their programs, while others did not have a program. Although OPM regulations encouraged agencies to provide the necessary resources and establish effective promotion and publicity activities, there were wide variations among the agencies GAO reviewed in the level of management emphasis and resources devoted to the program.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM identified all federal organizations that are required to administer suggestion programs.

    Recommendation: To strengthen program oversight, the Director, OPM, should identify all agencies that are required to comply with incentive awards regulations.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM followed up with agencies that did not report FY 1986 results, and contacted agencies whose suggestion programs are in the bottom third in program performance.

    Recommendation: To strengthen program oversight, the Director, OPM, should identify those agencies with no program, marginal (low activity) programs, or declining programs.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM contacted agencies whose suggestion programs are in the bottom third in program performance to determine the reasons, discuss actions to be taken, and offer assistance. It is also providing heads of agencies an annual report depicting their agency's program results and urging that a complete program review be conducted and a plan for improvement implemented.

    Recommendation: To strengthen program oversight, the Director, OPM, should: (1) determine the reasons for noncompliance with OPM regulations and limited or no program activity; and (2) seek corrective action by reporting the findings to top agency officials.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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