Reports & Testimonies

  • GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed.

    GAO’s recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented. You can explore open recommendations by searching or browsing.

    GAO's priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. These recommendations are labeled as such. You can find priority recommendations by searching or browsing our open recommendations below, or through our mobile app.

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

    Our Priorities for Policy Makers app makes it easier for leaders to search our recommendations on the go.

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

    • For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation.
    • For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.
  • « Back to Results List Sort by   

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Consulting firms"

    1 publication with a total of 4 open recommendations
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to enhance SEC's ability to strategically hire and retain the appropriate number of staff with the requisite skill sets for today and in the future, the Chairman of SEC should direct the Office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Office of Human Resources (OHR) to prioritize efforts to expeditiously develop a comprehensive workforce plan, including a succession plan, and establish time frames for implementation and mechanisms to help ensure that the plans are regularly updated.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: While SEC plans to conduct a competency assessment for the remaining occupations not included in its July 2016 workforce plan, until the assessment and resulting workforce plan for fiscal year 2019+ is completed and we have reviewed it, this recommendation remains open. However, a comprehensive assessment of occupations should always be part of the workforce planning cycle to identify the resources needed to meet mission requirements. SEC should be doing a yearly review of needs to include attrition modeling, budget costs, and staffing (i.e., staff distribution across all locations, promotion needs, hiring requirements for all areas (mission and mission support)).
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to enhance SEC's ability to strategically hire and retain the appropriate number of staff with the requisite skill sets for today and in the future, the Chairman of SEC should direct the Office of the COO and OHR to incorporate OPM guidance as it develops its workforce and succession plans, by developing a formal action plan to identify and close competency gaps, and fill supervisory positions; and institute a fair and transparent process for identifying high-potential leaders from within the agency.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: While SEC plans to conduct a succession needs survey that will be used as part of its holistic gap analysis and used to inform the next workforce plan for fiscal year 2019+, until the needs survey and resulting workforce plan is completed and we have reviewed it, this recommendation remains open. However, as part of succession planning, division managers should already know, or should have been provided, retirement eligibility information, attrition estimates, and knowledge of their staff skill sets. They need this information for succession planning purposes to determine if they need to hire, or use promotions as a way to fill potential staff losses.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to help enhance the credibility of its performance management system, the Chairman of SEC should direct the COO and OHR to conduct periodic validations (with staff input) of the performance management system and make changes, as appropriate, based on these validations.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: SEC has yet to conduct a validation of its performance management system for its entire staff. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, SEC introduced a new pilot performance management program and engaged OPM to assess the effectiveness of it, but this new program was only initiated with non-bargaining staff. This assessment included OPM facilitated focus groups and an OPM survey soliciting anonymous participant feedback. According to SEC, stakeholders were engaged in the development and implementation phases of the pilot program. Additionally, OPM hosted a training session at the midpoint of the FY 2016 pilot for supervisors to help them communicate performance expectations and feedback. In 2017, SEC expanded the pilot performance management program to bargaining unit staff. SEC has briefed the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) prior to each phase in the performance management process and incorporated feedback into the program. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) has provided program-specific training to both employees and supervisors for each phase of the performance cycle and has collaborated with NTEU on all messaging to employees. SEC is now working with OPM to determine the best approach to assess the effectiveness of the FY 2017 pilot. According to SEC, subsequent to OPM's assessment of the FY 2017 pilot, SEC will work with NTEU to determine how to proceed with the program. OHR has also agreed in advance to share the FY 2017 performance rating data with NTEU so they may use it in their own assessment of the 2017 pilot.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to build on SEC's efforts to enhance intra-agency communication and collaboration, the Chairman should direct the COO to explore communication and collaboration best practices and implement those that could benefit SEC.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2017, SEC had not demonstrated the use of best practices to improve communication and collaboration within and across SEC divisions and offices. In June 2017, SEC commenced the new Operations Steering Committee, which consists of the Acting Chief Operating Officer (COO) as the Chair, and the Managing Executives of the mission critical divisions and Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). This group meets on a monthly basis. During the September 2017 meeting, the Acting COO presented two proposed approaches, based on best practices, to address GAO's findings to improve communication and collaboration: 1. Emphasize communication and collaboration, and associated initiatives, within the new Strategic Plan. 2. Work with the Labor Management Forum - NTEU. Until we see how SEC operationalizes these proposed approaches, this recommendation remains open.