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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Federal workforce"

    9 publications with a total of 20 open recommendations including 7 priority recommendations
    Director: Nancy Kingsbury
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    5 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To support its strategic and open data goals, the Director of OPM should improve the availability of the EHRI payroll data--for example, by preparing the data for analytics, making them available through online tools such as FedScope, and including them among the EHRI data sources on the OPM website and Data.gov.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On 4/21/2017 OPM provided a status update based on our inclusion of this rec in the priority rec letter. "As communicated in our December 6, 2017, letter to the Comptroller General, OPM is developing a comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics. We have started an effort to standardize payroll data elements by engaging with the payroll subject matter experts through the shared service providers. We will keep GAO informed as we make additional progress."
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls for data quality, the Director of OPM should update EHRI payroll database documentation to be consistent with current field definitions and requirements, including the Guide to Human Resources Reporting and the Guide to Data Standards, Part B.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls for data quality, the Director of OPM should consistently monitor system-generated error and edit check reports and ensure that timely action is taken to address identified issues.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On 4/21/17 OPM provided an update to their 60 day letter in response to our inclusion of this rec in the priority letter to OPM. Very soon, we will begin implementing follow-up activities with shared service centers and agencies regarding issues identified with the payroll data they submit to EHRI. We are also evaluating the feasibility of incorporating automated methods to validate agency data, to the extent possible. We will keep GAO informed as we make additional progress.
    Recommendation: To integrate the payroll data into the larger suite of EHRI databases, the Director of OPM should develop a schedule for executing these plans.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Recommendation: To integrate the payroll data into the larger suite of EHRI databases, the Director of OPM should evaluate existing internal control activities and develop new control activities for EHRI payroll data, such as implementing transactional edit checks that leverage the information in the other EHRI datasets.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure HHS has reliable data on SGEs not serving on federal boards, the Secretary of HHS should take steps to improve the reliability of data on SGEs not serving on boards. For example, the agency could reconcile human capital data with general counsel and ethics office data, or issue clarifying guidance to human capital staff on appropriately identifying SGEs in human capital databases.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, HHS submitted its action plan to address GAO's recommendations. HHS stated the agency is currently reviewing its internal policies and procedures related to the hiring of special government employees not serving on boards to identify policy options that might improve data reliability.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report consistent and reliable data, the Director of OGE should determine (e.g., through a survey of Designated Agency Ethics Officials and/or by analyzing agency data) whether other executive branch agencies are experiencing data challenges similar to HHS, State, and NRC. If they are, the Director should take steps to help the agencies strengthen their data.

    Agency: Office of Government Ethics
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, OGE submitted its action plan to address GAO's recommendations. OGE reported having a number of actions underway. OGE stated the agency is surveying agency ethics officials to determine whether executive branch agencies are experiencing data challenges related to special government employees not serving on boards. According to OGE, the agency plans to evaluate what steps may help agencies strengthen their data if the survey results show agencies are experiencing data challenges. OGE reported that, in consultation with OPM, the agency proposed new regulations that would improve coordination between agency human resource officials and agency ethics officials by requiring agency human resource officials to provide ethics officials with prompt notification of the appointment of all financial disclosure report filers, including special government employees. OGE also reported expanding the agency's ongoing review of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in light of GAO's recommendation for HHS to take steps to improve the reliability of data on SGEs not serving on boards. OGE plans to evaluate the mechanisms HHS has in place for tracking special government employees not serving on boards and may offer recommendations for improving them.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the ability of agencies to deal with poor performers and to help ensure supervisors obtain the skills needed to effectively conduct performance management responsibilities, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council and, as appropriate, with key stakeholders such as federal employee labor unions, should assess the adequacy of leadership training that agencies provide to supervisors.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to OPM officials, as of July 2017, OPM conducted a survey and recently completed the survey analysis. OPM is in in the development phase for the second part of the study - stakeholder interviews. The survey data is being used to inform the interview protocol. The stakeholder interviews are scheduled to begin in mid-August 2017. The comprehensive report will tentatively begin OPM's internal review process by the end of fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the ability of agencies to deal with poor performers and to more effectively ensure that agencies have a well-qualified cadre of supervisors capable of effectively addressing poor performance, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council and, as appropriate, with key stakeholders such as federal employee labor unions, should determine if promising practices at some agencies should be more widely used government-wide. Such practices include (1) extending the supervisory probationary period beyond 1-year to include at least one full employee appraisal cycle; (2) providing detail opportunities or rotational assignments to supervisory candidates prior to promotion, where the candidate can develop and demonstrate supervisory competencies; and (3) using a dual career ladder structure as a way to advance employees who may have particular technical skills and/or education but who are not interested in or inclined to pursue a management or supervisory track.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, OPM told us they were holding meetings to determine how to respond to this recommendation. As of June 2017, we are continuing to monitor OPM's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist the interagency working group, known as the Federal Agency Skills Team (FAST), to better identify government-wide skills gaps having programmatic impacts and measure its progress towards closing them, the Director of OPM--in conjunction with the CHCO Council--should strengthen its approach and methodology by (1) assisting FAST in developing goals for closing skills gaps with targets that are both clear and measurable; (2) working with FAST to design outcome-oriented performance metrics that align with overall targets for closing skills gaps and link to the activities for addressing kills gaps; (3) incorporating greater input from subject matter experts, as planned; and (4) ensuring FAST consistently follows key practices for project planning.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, OPM has sought to strengthen the methodology for closing skills gaps by offering skills gap closure training to 1) agency officials with respect to agency-specific skills gaps, and 2) interagency working groups with respect to government-wide skills gaps. Held during the spring of 2016, this OPM-led training sought to provide agency officials with methodologies for identifying the root causes for skills gaps, as well as provide assistance in developing action plans for implementing and monitoring their strategies to address these skills gaps. OPM officials stated that these interagency teams will report on a quarterly basis to the OPM Director on their progress to implement these strategies, beginning in January 2017. OPM, in conjunction with OMB, agencies, and the CHCO Council, needs to ensure that this infrastructure is implemented as developed.
    Recommendation: To ensure that OPM builds the predictive capacity to identify emerging skills gaps across the government--including the ability to collect and use reliable information on the competencies of the federal workforce for government-wide workforce analysis--the Director of OPM should (1) establish a schedule specifying when OPM will modify its Enterprise Human Resources Integration database to capture staffing data that it currently collects from agencies through its annual workforce data reporting process; and (2) work with agency CHCOs to bolster the ability of agencies to assess workforce competencies by sharing competency surveys, lessons learned, and other tools and resources.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials reported that OPM has partnered with the Chief Learning Officers Council to leverage resources to develop a framework to support agencies efforts to develop competency assessments. Additionally, OPM reported that it has created an internal working group to determine whether its Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) personnel database can support having a predictive capacity for identifying emerging skills gaps across the government, including the ability to collect and use information on the competencies of the federal workforce. OPM needs to work with agencies to improve competency assessment across the government and to pursue modifying EHRI to support the collection of staffing and competency data.
    Recommendation: To help agencies and OPM better monitor progress toward closing skills gaps within agencies and government-wide, the Director of OPM should (1) work with the CHCO Council to develop a core set of metrics that all agencies should use as part of their HRstat data-driven reviews; and (2) coordinate with FAST personnel and explore the feasibility of collecting information needed by FAST as part of agencies' HRstat reviews.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of October 2016, officials reported that OPM has partnered with the CHCO Council to implement a government-wide set of metrics for use as part of a government-wide benchmarking effort. However, it has no plans to coordinate the data collection efforts of agencies' HRstat reviews with the collection efforts of OPM's and agencies' working groups to identify and address skills gaps. OPM stated that coordinating the data collection was not possible because agencies' HRstat reviews have different goals and collect different types of data than the working groups. We maintain that action on our recommendation is important because it is likely that the core metrics collected under HRstat could help inform the efforts of the working groups and thus reduce duplicative efforts. Moreover, the use of a core set of metrics from agencies' HRstat reviews could aid in monitoring actual progress in closing skills gaps government-wide.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-2717

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report comparable and reliable data to Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI), the Director of OPM, in coordination with agencies and payroll service providers, should develop guidance for agencies on which activities to enter, or not enter, as paid administrative leave in agency time and attendance systems.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: To address agency use of paid administrative leave that may exceed reasonable amounts as well as discrepancies in recording and reporting paid administrative leave, in December 2016, Congress passed the "Administrative Leave Act of 2016." The act mandates new categories of paid leave, including "investigative leave," "notice leave," and "weather and safety leave" and sets limitations on the duration of paid administrative leave as well as the new categories of investigative and notice leave. The Act also requires OPM to establish regulations on (1) when to grant administrative leave and the other new categories of paid leave, and (2) the proper recording and reporting of these types of paid leave. In July 2017, OPM proposed new rules to regulate paid administrative leave, which it will finalize after the public comment period ends in August 2017. In addition, in response to our recommendation, in May 2015, OPM issued a fact sheet on administrative leave, which discusses the appropriate use of an agency's administrative leave authority, including a definition of administrative leave as well as applicable government-wide, individual agency, and emergency policies on the use of administrative leave. However, this fact sheet will need to be revised to reflect the new regulations when they are in effect. Once finalized, the proposed rules, along with updated fact sheet guidance, should help agencies and federal employees appropriately use, record, and report administrative leave. We will update the status of this recommendation once the regulations are finalized and the fact sheet guidance is revised.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report comparable and reliable data to EHRI, the Director of OPM, in coordination with agencies and payroll service providers, should provide updated and specific guidance to payroll service providers on which activities to report, or not report, to the paid administrative leave data element in EHRI.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: To address agency use of paid administrative leave that may exceed reasonable amounts as well as discrepancies in recording and reporting paid administrative leave, in December 2016, Congress passed the "Administrative Leave Act of 2016." The act mandates new categories of paid leave, including "investigative leave," "notice leave," and "weather and safety leave" and sets limitations on the duration of paid administrative leave as well as the new categories of investigative and notice leave. The Act also requires OPM to establish regulations on (1) when to grant administrative leave and the other new categories of paid leave, and (2) the proper recording and reporting of these types of paid leave. In July 2017, OPM proposed new rules to regulate paid administrative leave, which it will finalize after the public comment period ends in August 2017. OPM officials reported in June 2017 that they are working with payroll providers to revise reporting requirements. Once finalized, the proposed rules, along with updated guidance to payroll providers for reporting paid administrative leave and the new leave categories, should help agencies report comparable and reliable data to EHRI. We will update the status of this recommendation once the regulations are finalized and the guidance is revised.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the classification system and to strengthen OPM's management and oversight, the Director of OPM, working through the Chief Human Capital Officer Council, and in conjunction with key stakeholders such as the Office of Management and Budget, unions, and others, should use prior studies and lessons learned from demonstration projects and alternative systems to examine ways to make the GS system's design and implementation more consistent with the attributes of a modern, effective classification system. To the extent warranted, develop a legislative proposal for congressional consideration.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, OPM officials said they continue to meet on a regular basis with the Interagency Classification Policy Forum group to inform strategies and action plans for implementation of general schedule system best practices. As a result, they have made changes for conducting occupational studies through various actions, including streamlining their process for conducting occupational studies. These actions include the cancellation of 21 occupational series with minimal agency use (25 or fewer Federal employees reported) and upcoming policy issuances - the Handbook of Occupational Groups and Families and the Interpretive Guidance for Cybersecurity Positions and 17 Professional Medical and Health occupational series. In addition, they have developed a methodology to streamline studies for occupational series with 1,000 or less Federal employees. OPM officials said any further action to develop a legislative proposal for congressional consideration would be contingent upon having permanent OPM leadership in place. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the classification system and to strengthen OPM's management and oversight, the Director of OPM should develop cost-effective mechanisms to oversee agency implementation of the classification system as required by law, and develop a strategy that will enable OPM to more effectively and routinely monitor agencies' implementation of classification standards.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, OPM officials said the agency had designed several efforts to improve the classification system and strengthen oversight: (1) OPM is reviewing occupational series post studies to assess whether agencies are implementing classification policy updates and new issuances. (2) Decisions from the classification appeals program are issued to monitor implementation of classification standards. (3) The classification policy group has formalized the participation of the Merit System Accountability and Compliance group to discuss best practices in monitoring and overseeing classification policies and is planning a related classification forum. We will continue to monitor these efforts. Specifically, OPM officials said they were conducting occupational series post studies of custodians, public affairs, financial management, sustainability and other White House initiatives. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts.
    Director: Cha, Carol R
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve planning and execution of the next telecommunications transition, the Administrator of General Services, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management, should examine potential government-wide telecommunications expertise shortfalls and use the study to shape the NS2020 strategic approach.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) has not addressed this recommendation. In June 2014, the agency reported that it had coordinated with OPM to incorporate key objectives in its NS2020 strategy to address and mitigate challenges with regards to government-wide expertise needed to execute the NS2020 program. However, as of May 2017, GSA had not demonstrated that it had studied potential government-wide telecommunications expertise shortfalls or used the study to shape the NS2020 strategic approach.
    Recommendation: To improve planning and execution of the next telecommunications transition, the Administrator of General Services should ensure that the lessons are applied, based on priority and available resources, to the next transition strategy.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration has not implemented this recommendation but has taken steps to address it. In April 2014, the agency developed a strategy for transitioning to the next telecommunications contract vehicle. The strategy described the lessons learned that contributed to the delay in the prior transition and identified approaches the agency planned to take to apply the lessons learned. For example, it identified high level plans for addressing the need for improved management of the complex acquisition process and the need for technical and contracting telecommunications expertise across the government. As of August 2016, GSA had prioritized the lessons learned and considered the resources needed to apply them. However, as of May 2017, the agency had not demonstrated that it had ensured that the lessons were applied, based on priority and available resources, to the next transition strategy. We will continue to monitor GSA's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency of costs and the efficiency of suitability andpersonnel security clearance background investigation processes thatcould lead to cost savings, the Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget, in the capacity as Chair of the Performance Accountability Council, should expand and specify reform-related guidance to help ensure that reform stakeholders identify opportunities for cost savings, such as preventing duplication in the development of electronic case-management and adjudication technologies in the suitability determination and personnel security clearance processes.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Performance Accountability Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2013, OMB provided GAO with an update to this recommendation. Although OMB has not yet issued guidance to help ensure that reform stakeholders identify opportunities for cost savings, OMB noted that it continues to work with Executive Agents on activities that reduce duplication in electronic case management and adjudication technologies for the suitability determination and personnel security clearance processes and provided four examples of those activities. (1)In March 2012, OMB's Office of E-Government and Information Technology began meeting with OPM regarding opportunities to enhance the functionality of non-DoD adjudicative entities that are serviced by OPM's Central Verification System, a subsystem of OPM's Personnel Investigation Processing System. (2) In March 2012, OPM provided programming language to the National Security Agency for the Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (EQIP), which the PAC previously identified as the Executive Branch solution for all investigation requests/applications. Since, NSA has begun development of a single classified automated EQIP solution for the Intelligence Community (IC). (3) In May 2012, DoD directed the consolidation of the seven non-IC DOD Central Adjudication Facilities under a single centralized authority. This more efficiently allocates adjudicative resources in a single case management system. (4) In anticipation of the IC's move to a cloud computing environment, ODNI's Special Security Directorate has begun discussion with IC components on how best to support further standardization and prevent duplication as they develop and modify IT systems to implement investigative and adjudicative training standards, respond to reporting requirements, and implement revised adjudicative guidelines. (5) The PAC, the Security Executive Agent, and DOD continue to promote the adoption of the DOD eAdjudication system (CATS) solution within other agencies across Government. The CATS e-Processing Suite (e-Delivery, e-Screening, and e-Adjudication processes) eliminates manual processes and realizes adjudicative efficiencies through the use of technology. DoD recently reported that During FY2012, e-Delivery saved the DoD approximately 590,000 hours (over 280 man-years) in employee processing and handling time, equating to a one-year salary cost avoidance of nearly $33 million. In addition, during FY2012, e-Adjudication saved the DoD approximately 57,000 hours (over 28 man years) in employee adjudication time, equating to a one-year salary cost avoidance of nearly $3.2 million. Shortly after the report was issued, OPM provided GAO with a letter dated May 25, 2012, that included its plans to address the recommendations that GAO made in GAO-12-197, to improve the transparency of the costs and efficiency of the suitability and security clearance background investigation process. Although this recommendation was geared toward the Deputy Director for Management at OMB, OPM pledged to support OMB in the implementation of this recommendation by 1) providing cost analysis data to support cost efficient Executive Branch implementation of new Federal Investigative Standards, 2) supporting standardization and consolidation of investigative systems and processes to the extent it benefits the goals of cost efficiency and reciprocity, and 3) providing recommendations for the standardization of technology supporting suitability adjudicative processes to the extent this benefits the goals of cost efficiency and reciprocity. OPM noted that, in March 2012, it provided OMB reform leadership with both cost analysis data to support the implementation of the new Federal Investigative Standards and recommendations for the standardization of technology for the consideration of OMB's e-Government experts.
    Director: Courts, Michael J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to contain costs and reduce duplication of administrative support services overseas, Congress may wish to consider requiring agencies to participate in ICASS services unless they provide a business case to show that they can obtain these services outside of ICASS without increasing overall costs to the U.S. government or that their mission cannot be achieved within ICASS.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2018, no legislative action has yet been taken. Congress has not required agencies to participate in ICASS absent a business case that shows that they can obtain services outside ICASS without additional cost to the U.S. government, as GAO suggested in January 2012. In July 2013, legislation was introduced in the Senate directing the Secretary of State to develop a process that any agency participating in the ICASS program shall use to provide a cost analysis and justification for the agency's decision to opt out, in whole or in part, of ICASS services. Congress did not pass this legislation, passing in its stead the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which contained no language related to ICASS. In January 2014, the joint explanatory statement regarding the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, included a direction that the Secretary of State develop, in coordination with the ICASS Service Center and participating agencies, an efficient process by which an agency participating in the ICASS program provides a cost analysis and justification for the agency's decision to opt out of any ICASS services. However, this direction does not speak to a requirement that agencies participate in ICASS absent such a justification. Action on this matter is important because continued duplication of administrative services limits ICASS's ability to achieve economies of scale and deliver services more efficiently.