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    Subject Term: "Grant programs"

    53 publications with a total of 154 open recommendations including 28 priority recommendations
    Director: David A. Powner
    Phone: (202) 512-9286

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chief Executive Officer should direct the Chief Information Officer to take steps needed to ensure that system requirements are defined to align with the business needs of CNCS's future risk-based grants monitoring process (Recommendation 1).

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Chief Executive Officer should direct the Chief Information Officer to ensure that the system development project schedule identifies in the baseline both planned and actual dates for completing all project-level activities, and can be used to monitor and measure progress of the grant monitoring system project (Recommendation 2).

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Chief Executive Officer should direct the Chief Information Officer to ensure that test plans are defined and implemented to include the second version of the grant monitoring system in all stages of testing during development, and results of initial stages are approved before conducting subsequent test stages (Recommendation 3).

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To leverage and build upon the ongoing efforts within individual DOT modal administrations and to address concerns raised by experts regarding collaboration and coordination, data quality and analytics, regulation development, project delivery processes, and addressing emerging issues, the Secretary of Transportation should: (1) conduct a department-wide review of DOT's current efforts to address these concerns; and (2) develop an action plan with specific steps to implement improvements, as identified, in these areas.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Academic Improvement to expand its performance measures for the 21st Century program to address all program objectives. Specifically, Education should establish performance measures related to key behavioral, including student attendance and disciplinary incidents, and socio-emotional outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendations; rather, it generally noted that it will keep our recommendations in mind as it continues to implement changes in the program as a result of ESSA. Specifically, the department stated that it is in the process of re-examining whether additional or revised measures should be developed to align more significantly with the program's statutory objectives under ESSA. Education also expressed concern about collecting data on student attendance and disciplinary measures, noting that it will require effective collaboration between states, districts, and other eligible entities. However, we note that about half of states already collect data on at least one of these two measures; and that research has shown that 21st Century programs more often have positive effects on student attendance and reducing disciplinary incidents than on improving students' academic outcomes. Given these effects, we continue to believe that it is critical for Education to measure student attendance and disciplinary incidents to obtain more complete, accurate information on this program's effect on student outcomes.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Academic Improvement to conduct federal-level data checks on the accuracy of 21st Century program data submitted by states. Such checks could test for logical relationships between fields. Education should also publicly disclose and address any data limitations it identifies, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. Education commented that it plans to build in additional data checks into the data system beyond its current checks on the data's completeness. Specifically, Education anticipates that new technology enhancements in the data system will be designed to flag for inconsistencies in data reporting. For example, the system may send a "flag" that participation data is significantly lower or higher than previously reported participation data. Further, Education indicated that it will consider whether auditors performing audits under the Single Audit Act can be asked and guided to do more checks on the accuracy and reliability of 21st Century program data.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Academic Improvement to provide written, non-regulatory guidance to states on developing and conducting high-quality 21st Century state evaluations to help address the difficulties states face in measuring program performance and effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. Education outlined several steps it has taken to assist states in the past. For example, Education said that it provided six states with individualized technical assistance on strategies related to developing statewide evaluations and measures. Education also noted that, to date, it has conducted two webinars on state evaluations and is in the process of including presentations from those webinars on its online learning portal so that states will have easy access to the information. In addition, Education stated that it included presentations on evaluation strategies in the past during its Summer Institute. Education also said it would consider whether additional guidance for all states was needed. While these are important steps, we do not believe they are sufficient. We continue to believe that Education should prepare written guidance to assist all states in developing and conducting high-quality program evaluations.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Education should direct the Office of Academic Improvement to use the information it collects from its monitoring visits and ongoing interactions with states to share effective practices across states for sustaining their 21st Century programs once program funding ends. This information could be shared using existing mechanisms such as Education's meetings with 21st Century state coordinators.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. Education noted that it hosts meetings twice a year for 21st Century state coordinators where strategies related to program sustainability are shared with states. These meetings covered topics such as reducing the amounts of 21st Century grant awards by a percentage each year. However, these meetings have not focused on topics on program sustainability for several years. We continue to believe that Education should take the lead in sharing information with states to help them address their sustainability challenges by sharing information on state policies and practices that have shown some success.
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance its oversight of discretionary grantee performance, the Secretary of Education should direct the Risk Management Service (RMS) to work with principal offices, as appropriate, to establish and implement detailed written supervisory review procedures for official grant files to provide reasonable assurance that grant staff perform and document key monitoring activities.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education substantially agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted that it planned to establish a standard operating procedure for grant file reviews, including a protocol for the review of these files to ensure that monitoring efforts are documented appropriately.
    Recommendation: To enhance its oversight of discretionary grantee performance, the Secretary of Education should direct RMS to work with principal offices, as appropriate, to develop guidance for grant staff on using the PAM Module to share information on grantee performance. Such guidance could clarify expectations about when staff should use the "Issues" and "Notable Results" tabs while monitoring grantees once the transition to electronic grant files is complete, and clarify the types of information staff should enter about grantee performance.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education substantially agreed with this recommendation. The agency noted that it planned to reinforce through grant administration trainings the importance of sharing grantee performance information agency-wide, including in the PAM Module.
    Director: Allison B. Bawden
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the pilot programs for disconnected youth can be effectively implemented over the lifetime of the initiative, the Director of OMB should coordinate with relevant federal agencies to identify and estimate expected annual financial and staff resource contributions from each agency, including during the implementation and evaluation phases of the pilots.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal agencies involved in the disconnected youth pilots are able to evaluate pilot outcomes and ultimately communicate to Congress whether and to what extent the flexibilities tested by the pilots should be integrated into broader efforts, the Director of OMB should coordinate with relevant federal agencies to identify criteria or standards for assessing scalability, and collect data needed to address those criteria or standards.

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

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to develop and document clear goals and performance measures linked to those goals, for each program.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to establish and implement procedures to conduct a risk assessment of each program, including an examination of risk at both the programmatic and portfolio level for each program.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to establish and implement procedures to conduct periodic evaluations of completed grant projects to determine the outcomes associated with these projects, and analyze the information gained to assess if any programmatic changes are needed to improve the Community Connect program.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to establish a timeline for implementing a centralized internal system for staff to obtain relevant and timely program data for use in managing and monitoring loans and grant awards.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve RUS's management of the Infrastructure Program, Broadband Program, and Community Connect by more closely following leading practices for broadband loan- and grant-program management, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct RUS to develop, update, and maintain complete written policies and procedures for RUS's programs as a way to retain and communicate organizational knowledge internally among agency staff. RUS should determine the critical documentation that should be created or updated, including considering documentation such as loan-application review guidance and employee manuals for each of the three programs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOJ is contributing to efforts to improve data collection and service provision to Native Americans, the Director of OVW should require grantees to report the number of human trafficking victims served using grant funding, and, as appropriate, the Native American status of those victims.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: Violence Against Women Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to a draft of our report, DOJ agreed to require their grantees to report the number of human trafficking victims served, but did not agree to require them to track Native American status of those victims as appropriate, citing victim confidentiality and other reasons. In June 2017, following our report's publication, DOJ provided a status update, reporting that OVW already collects consolidated data on the number of American Indian and Alaska Native victims served who are victims of all crimes and it is in the process of revising grantee forms to collect information on the number of people served who are victims of sex trafficking. We continue to believe that collecting grantee information on both the number and Native American status of victims served is important and will continue to monitor implementation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOJ is contributing to efforts to improve data collection and service provision to Native Americans, the Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs should direct OVC and OJJDP to require their grantees to report the number of human trafficking victims served using grant funding, and, as appropriate, the Native American status of those victims.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to a draft of our report, DOJ agreed to require its grantees to report the number of human trafficking victims served, but did not agree to require them to track Native American status of those victims as appropriate, citing victim confidentiality and other reasons. In June 2017, following our report's publication, DOJ provided a status update, reporting that OJJDP human trafficking grantees will be required to report the number of human trafficking victims served, beginning with progress reports ending December 31, 2017, and that OJJDP will update applicable solicitations beginning in fiscal year 2018 to reflect this new measure. DOJ reported no new efforts from OVC, and maintained that it will not require grantees to report on the Native American status of their victims served using grant funding because of the concerns it cited initially. We continue to believe that collecting grantee information on both the number and Native American status of victims served is important and will continue to monitor implementation.
    Director: Allison Bawden
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve CNCS's efforts to move toward a risk-based process for monitoring grants and to improve its capacity for monitoring grantee compliance, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service should ensure that CNCS completes its efforts to benchmark its assessment criteria and scoring process to further develop a risk-based approach to grant monitoring and that information from this effort is used to (a) score the indicators so that the riskiest grants get the highest scores; (b) revise the assessment indicators to meaningfully cover all identifiable risks, including fraud and improper payments; and (c) document decisions on how indicators are selected and weighted.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: CNCS stated that it would continue to periodically benchmark its assessment criteria to ensure risk assessment. The agency recognizes the need to move from compliance- to risk-based monitoring and will refine its existing approach as part of reviewing and revising risk criteria and scoring. The agency's risk-based approach will begin with FY18 grant awards. To close this recommendation, CNCS will need to show documentation for how it selected and weighted revised indicators to cover identifiable risks, and how the revised scoring system identifies the riskiest grants.
    Recommendation: To improve CNCS's efforts to move toward a risk-based process for monitoring grants and to improve its capacity for monitoring grantee compliance, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service should establish and implement a policy to ensure that all grants expected to be active in a fiscal year, including those awarded after the annual assessment, are assessed for potential risk.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: CNCS agrees with this recommendation and plans to revise its current assessment policy to ensure that all grants are included in the assessment process.
    Recommendation: To improve CNCS's efforts to move toward a risk-based process for monitoring grants and to improve its capacity for monitoring grantee compliance, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service should review monitoring protocols, including the level of information collected for oversight of subrecipients' activities such as criminal history checks, and enhance protocols, as appropriate.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although CNCS said that by regulation, grantees are primarily responsible for subgrantee monitoring, the agency acknowledged that more needs to be done to address risk at the sub-recipient level, particularly regarding criminal history check compliance, and noted that it is taking several actions to improve criminal history check compliance. However, the agency's comments did not specifically address reviewing monitoring protocols. We continue to believe that it is important to determine whether monitoring protocols are designed to gather sufficient and appropriate information on subrecipient oversight, to help ensure that grantees are monitoring subgrantees as required.
    Recommendation: To improve CNCS's efforts to move toward a risk-based process for monitoring grants and to improve its capacity for monitoring grantee compliance, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service should establish activities to systematically evaluate grant monitoring results.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: CNCS said that its Office of the Chief Risk Officer has been building on the agency's current risk assessment framework and capturing the information and data necessary to enhance its approach to risk-based monitoring. However, CNCS's comments did not specifically address any planned activities to systematically evaluate grant monitoring results. We continue to believe that reviewing the outcomes and findings from its monitoring activities would help the agency analyze how well its CNCS's current efforts assess risk, and help guide improvements.
    Recommendation: To improve CNCS's efforts to move toward a risk-based process for monitoring grants and to improve its capacity for monitoring grantee compliance, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service should develop and document a strategic workforce planning process.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: CNCS reported that its senior level executive committee reviews all staffing requests and ensures that appropriate staffing justifications are provided, and ensures that all functions in the agency are provided appropriate resources. The agency also noted that, in accordance with direction received from OMB following the release of OMB Memorandum M-17-22 ("Memorandum for Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies"), it is launching an enterprise-wide re-examination of its mission, strategy and structure in order to develop a plan to ensure employee performance is maximized and the agency is operating effectively. To help close this recommendation, CNCS will need to document and develop a strategic workforce planning process that addresses key principles for effective strategic workforce planning, such as to develop strategies tailored to address gaps in number, deployment, and alignment of human capital approaches for enabling and sustaining the contributions of all critical skills and competencies, and to monitor and evaluate process toward human capital goals and programmatic results.
    Recommendation: To improve CNCS's efforts to move toward a risk-based process for monitoring grants and to improve its capacity for monitoring grantee compliance, the Chief Executive Officer of the Corporation for National and Community Service should, as part of CNCS's efforts to develop an employee development program, update critical competencies for grant monitoring, and establish a training planning process linked with agency goals and these competencies.

    Agency: Corporation for National and Community Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: CNCS cited its training efforts, such as providing training to grants management staff in FY15 and FY16 related to grants monitoring. The agency is in the process of developing a broader agency-wide employee development program that will link competencies to development needs in various mission-critical roles. To close this recommendation, CNCS will need to determine which competencies are critical for grant monitoring, and show how the competencies are linked with the agency's training planning processes and agency goals.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    20 open recommendations
    including 12 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services to design policies and procedures to reasonably assure that all award recipients required to submit single audit reports do so in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services did not comment on the recommendation directed to it. GAO believes the recommendation is valid as discussed in our report. In addition, Agriculture has not provided the 60 day letter in response to our recommendations. On July 27, 2017, the agency informed us that the delay is due to their response still needing to clear several approving offices. We have received no further status updates from Agriculture as to when we can expect to receive its 60 day letter. 31 U.S.C. 720 requires that the agency head submit a written statement of the actions taken by the agency on GAO's recommendations to selected congressional committees and GAO not later than 60 days after the date of our report.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services did not comment on the recommendation directed to it. GAO believes the recommendation is valid as discussed in our report. In addition, Agriculture has not provided the 60 day letter in response to our recommendations. On July 27, 2017, the agency informed us that the delay is due to their response still needing to clear several approving offices. We have received no further status updates from Agriculture as to when we can expect to receive its 60 day letter. 31 U.S.C. 720 requires that the agency head submit a written statement of the actions taken by the agency on GAO's recommendations to selected congressional committees and GAO not later than 60 days after the date of our report.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services did not comment on the recommendation directed to it. GAO believes the recommendation is valid as discussed in our report. In addition, Agriculture has not provided the 60 day letter in response to our recommendations. On July 27, 2017, the agency informed us that the delay is due to their response still needing to clear several approving offices. We have received no further status updates from Agriculture as to when we can expect to receive its 60 day letter. 31 U.S.C. 720 requires that the agency head submit a written statement of the actions taken by the agency on GAO's recommendations to selected congressional committees and GAO not later than 60 days after the date of our report.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Rural Development to design policies and procedures to reasonably assure that all award recipients required to submit single audit reports do so in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) concurred with this recommendation. An RD official stated that it will work with Agriculture's Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the program areas to develop policies and procedures to ensure that its award recipients are in compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. RD stated that it will meet with each program area and discuss how single audits are processed and resolved. RD plans to develop policies and procedures for identifying all award recipients that should file single audit reports; determining if all required single audit reports are filed, received, and processed each year; and assuring that transmittal letters and management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with current OMB guidance. RD also stated that it will develop new policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Rural Development to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) concurred with this recommendation. An RD official stated that it will work with Agriculture's Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the program areas to develop policies and procedures to ensure that its award recipients are in compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. RD stated that it will meet with each program area and discuss how single audits are processed and resolved. RD plans to develop policies and procedures for identifying all award recipients that should file single audit reports; determining if all required single audit reports are filed, received, and processed each year; and assuring that transmittal letters and management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with current OMB guidance. RD also stated that it will develop new policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Rural Development to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) concurred with this recommendation. An RD official stated that it will work with Agriculture's Office of Chief Financial Officer and the program areas to develop policies and procedures to ensure that its award recipients are in compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. RD stated that it will meet with each program area and discuss how single audits are processed and resolved. RD plans to develop policies and procedures for identifying all award recipients that should file single audit reports; determining if all required single audit reports are filed, received, and processed each year; and assuring that transmittal letters and management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with current OMB guidance. RD also stated that it will develop new policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendation to the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR). HHS stated that it will enhance the Grants Policy Administration Manual (issued on December 31, 2015) to provide additional details regarding the elements to be included in the management decisions letters. ASFR stated that it will use its established Single Audit Resolution Workgroup, comprised of representatives from the HHS agencies who are responsible for single audit resolution activities, to continually evaluate and strengthen its relevant policies and procedures. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR). HHS stated that it is committed to ensuring that grantees submit single audits in a timely and complete manner and that its subagencies utilize the findings to ensure proper management of its grantees. HHS stated that ASFR is taking over the single audit assignment and tracking function from the OIG and that this realignment will allow HHS to better meet the requirements of the Uniform Guidance. HHS stated that it would continue to evaluate its policies and procedures to ensure compliance with regulations, particularly as ASFR takes over the single audit findings assignment and tracking function from the OIG. In addition, HHS stated that ASFR will work to develop policies and procedures that utilize a risk-based approach for high-risk and recurring single audit findings. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revise its policies and procedures to take action to obtain single audit reports when award recipients did not submit reports within the required time frames.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendation to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). HHS stated that CMS has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) based on the Grants Policy Administration Manual (GPAM) issued December 31, 2015. The SOP is currently under review and will be implemented after approval and signature by CMS leadership. The SOP includes provisions for following up with entities that have delinquent audits. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revise its policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendation to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). HHS stated that it has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) based on the Grants Policy Administration Manual (GPAM) issued on December 31, 2015, and the draft Management Decision Letter (MDL) HHS guidelines document. In April 2017, HHS informed us that the SOP is under review and will be implemented after approval and signature by CMS leadership. The SOP includes management decision letter elements and the timely issuance of MDLs. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendation to CMS. HHS stated that CMS plans to update the 1982 Health Care Financing Administration Audit Resolution Manual and will work collaboratively with HHS to develop policies and procedures that utilize a risk-based approach for high-risk and recurring single audit findings. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) disagreed with this recommendation, but we maintain that revisions to CPD's policies and procedures are warranted to help CPD comply with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. CPD officials stated that it provided training on writing management decisions to all CPD field offices in March 2017 and plans to issue a reminder memorandum on management decisions to field offices. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) stated that it planned to produce appropriate policies and procedures for risk rating single audit findings by the end of fiscal year 2017. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing to revise policies to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Public and Indian Housing developed policies and procedures and conducted training for field offices relating to management decisions. We reviewed these policies and procedures and noted that they did not contain all of the required elements in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget guidance relating to management decisions. HUD officials stated that they will review the policies and procures and revise, if needed, to address our concerns. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Public and Indian Housing met with GAO on July 10, 2017, to discuss the status of this recommendation. The HUD officials at this meeting said the current language in their Independent Public Accountant (IPA) auditing standards addresses the GAO recommendation. However, we explained to the HUD officials at the meeting that the current language is insufficient to close the recommendation as it does not show evidence that HUD has designed or implemented policies and procedures for how HUD is identifying and managing high-risks. The HUD officials stated that they will give this recommendation more consideration and revise the standards and provide GAO with additional support to show what HUD has done to address this recommendation. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Highway Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Highway Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration to design policies and procedures to reasonably assure that all award recipients required to submit single audit reports do so in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Transit Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with our recommendations. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Transit Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Transit Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Director: Diana Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure grantees' compliance with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program's statutory requirements and to strengthen monitoring of grantee activities, SAMHSA should develop an action plan with time frames for addressing any deficiencies it finds through its reviews and making systemic changes to mitigate deficiencies on a prospective basis to strengthen the grant monitoring process.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA is currently in the process of implementing routine audits of all its grant files. SAMHSA will also conduct an audit specifically of DFC files to ensure compliance by the end of summer 2017. Additionally, SAMHSA will offer regular training to government project officers (GPO) on grant report requirements and will ensure DFC GPO participation. Finally, SAMHSA is actively implementing the Grants Enterprise Management System to streamline the grants management process and make the process for maintaining grant files automated. By the end of fall 2017, all newly awarded DFC grants will be in this system. By the end of fall 2018, all active DFC grants will utilize this system.
    Recommendation: To better ensure grantees' compliance with the Drug-Free Communities Support Program's statutory requirements and to strengthen monitoring of grantee activities, SAMHSA should develop and implement a method for ensuring that the grantee status reports it provides to ONDCP are complete and accurate.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2017, according to the Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA will develop a plan to ensure complete and accurate information is provided to ONDCP by the end of summer 2017.
    Director: Allison B. Bawden
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency in the grant merit-review process, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior should direct the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue written guidance to require all competitive grant programs to clarify in the public notice of funding opportunity all review criteria, including cost sharing factors as relevant, and their related scores to be used to make final award decisions.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2017, Interior had updated its notice of funding opportunity template for competitive grant programs to clarify that the review process must ensure that applications are scored and selected based on announced criteria. In addition, competitive grant programs must establish a written merit review plan that details the merit review factors and sub-factors and the rating system and evaluation standards which explain the scoring basis. Furthermore, the Fish and Wildlife Service is developing new guidance to ensure discretionary grant programs include all required elements to be completed in December of 2017.
    Recommendation: To reduce the risk of duplicative and overlapping funding at the grant award level, the Secretary of the Department of the Interior should direct the National Park Service and the Fish and Wildlife Service to issue written guidance that ensures their grant management staff review grant applications for potential duplication and overlap before awarding their competitive grants and cooperative agreements.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Fish and Wildlife Service issued guidance to ensure grant applications are reviewed for potential overlap and duplication, as GAO recommended in January 2017, but as of August 2017 the National Park Service had yet to issue such guidance. In August 2017, the Department of Interior (Interior) provided documentation showing that the Fish and Wildlife Service now requires discretionary grant applicants to provide a statement that addresses whether there is any overlap or duplication of proposed projects or activities to be funded by the grant. Fish and Wildlife also updated its guidance to grant awarding offices instructing them to perform a potential overlap and duplication review of all selected applicants prior to award. Interior said the National Park Service had yet to issue guidance on duplication and overlap review, but it would provide the guidance to GAO when it is finalized and implemented. Completing these improvements will help the Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Park Service reduce the risk of unnecessary or inadvertent overlap or duplication in grant funding.
    Recommendation: To reduce the risk of duplicative and overlapping funding at the grant award level, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Food and Nutrition Service to issue written guidance that ensures its grant management staff review grant applications for potential duplication and overlap before awarding competitive grants and cooperative agreements.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2017, the Department of Agriculture (Agriculture) said the Food and Nutrition Service was developing written guidance that will ensure its grants management staff identify grant programs for potential duplication and overlap with other federal agencies before awarding competitive grants and cooperative agreements, as GAO recommended in January 2017. Agriculture officials said the guidance would be based on input from grants management staff, relevant Food and Nutrition program officials, and reviews of similar guidance already in place at other Agriculture sub-agencies. The Food and Nutrition Service plans to issue this guidance by the end of federal fiscal year 2017 for use beginning in fiscal year 2018. Issuing and implementing this guidance will reduce the risk of unnecessary or inadvertent overlap or duplication in grant funding.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: Given DOT's new discretionary grant programs and similar challenges we have found with previous DOT programs, the Secretary of Transportation should issue a directive that governs department-wide and modal administration discretionary grant programs. Such a directive should include requirements to: (1) develop a plan for evaluating project proposals in advance of issuing a notice of funding availability that defines the stages of the process, including how the process will be overseen to ensure a consistent review of applications; (2) document key decisions, including the reason for any rating changes and the officials responsible for those changes, and how high-level concerns raised during the process were addressed; and (3) align stated program purpose and policy priorities with the evaluation and selection process.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOT concurred with this recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, DOT must issue a directive, to address our concerns and require DOT's operating administrations to develop and document procedures for all phases of the process for its discretionary grants.
    Recommendation: To better address FTA's stated policy priority of regional resilience and to minimize fragmentation of federal efforts, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to (a) examine the projects FTA funded under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (DRAA) discretionary transit resilience grant program for potential duplication with other resilience efforts and (b) determine whether it is appropriate to realign funds for FTA-supported projects for other purposes authorized under the DRAA, or request a rescission of funds for any of the FTA-supported projects.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions DOT has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To continue the agency's efforts to improve state and local emergency preparedness for rail accidents involving hazardous materials, the Secretary of Transportation should, after the rulemaking is finalized, develop a process for regularly collecting information from state emergency response commissions on the distribution of the railroad-provided hazardous-materials-shipping information to local planning entities.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Michelle Sager
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To facilitate collaboration and identify and broadly disseminate information on leading practices and lessons learned, the Director of OMB should establish a formal means for agencies to collaborate on tiered evidence grants. This could include creating a formal working group or providing collaboration technologies, such as an electronic mailing list or web portals.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, OMB staff told us that they had established an interagency working group and other mechanisms to facilitate collaboration and disseminate information on tiered evidence grants. We have requested documentation of such activities but have yet to receive it.
    Director: Currie, Christopher P
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better assess the impact of the fire grants program, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to establish measurable performance targets linked to AFG and SAFER program goals, such as the desired percentage of awardees who used grants to achieve compliance with equipment standards.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate is reviewing the current set of program metrics to determine the feasibility of establishing performance targets. FEMA plans to include approved targets in its annual report to Congress that will be issued for fiscal year 2016; the report was undergoing internal review for approval and release as of November 2016. Pending issuance of the report with measurable performance targets linked to AFG and SAFER program goals, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To enhance FEMA's efforts to assess and integrate the fire grant programs' contributions to national preparedness, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to use the National Preparedness Goal's definition of critical infrastructure as the basis of collecting information from applicants and using the National Critical Infrastructure Prioritization Program list to measure fire grant programs' performance in addressing national priorities.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate plans to incorporate the National Preparedness Goal definition of national critical infrastructure into fire grant performance measures in FEMA's fiscal year 2017 Annual Report to Congress. Specifically, they said FEMA plans to conduct an assessment of data from AFG program application and awards in order to verify recipients are reporting infrastructure that aligns with the National Preparedness Goal definition of critical infrastructure. In addition, FEMA plans to meet as needed with the National Programs and Protection Directorate's Office of Critical Infrastructure Analysis to determine how the Critical Infrastructure Prioritization Program list can be used in the application process. Pending completion of these efforts, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To enhance FEMA's efforts to incorporate new National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS) and Fire Community Assessment Response Evaluation System (FireCARES) data elements into fire grants program management activities, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a project management plan for identifying relevant data elements in the new NFORS and FireCARES systems and determining how they can be used to improve fire grant applications and awards processes and the performance assessment system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to officials, FEMA's Grant Programs Directorate intends to develop a plan to assess the data collected to determine feasibility for integration of NFORS and FireCARES data into the AFG programs. The plan will incorporate ways to improve the applications, awards processes, and tracking of performance. This plan should be completed by March 2017, and FEMA will continue to collaborate with stakeholders for the improvement of the AFG application, awards processes, and performance management. According to FEMA, the estimated completion of this effort is September 2017.
    Director: Daniel Garcia-Diaz
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better inform Congress and improve what is known about the extent to which elderly residents of Section 202 properties are assisted by service coordinators, the Assistant Secretary for Housing should implement HUD's guidance on processes to improve the accuracy of information on Section 202 properties with budget-based service coordinators, and take steps to evaluate whether the guidance has improved the reliability of this information.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, HUD noted that the Multifamily Housing's Office of Program Systems Management is working to make adaptive changes to iREMS to better support data for the Service Coordinator program. Upon completion of this effort, written instructions will be made available in the iREMS user guide. HUD plans to complete this effort by December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To better inform Congress and improve what is known about the extent to which elderly residents of Section 202 properties are assisted by service coordinators, the Assistant Secretary for Housing should develop and implement written guidance that describes how HUD staff should assess Section 202 properties' compliance with the program's supportive services requirement. Such guidance should include information on the roles and responsibilities of HUD staff for (1) identifying stand-alone Section 202 properties and (2) monitoring the supportive services requirement for Section 202 properties with grant- and budget-based service coordinators, Section 202 properties that do not have service coordinators, and stand-alone Section 202 properties.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, HUD noted that it is in the process of working with a consulting firm to develop guidance and training related to Quality Assurance providers (which Section 202 properties have the option of funding to oversee the quality of Service Coordinators). The guidance is intended to standardize the role of Quality Assurance providers. HUD plans to complete this effort by December 2017. HUD also noted that it will create a working group to develop additional guidance that might assist in monitoring the supportive services requirement for Section 202 properties, including stand-alone properties. HUD plans to complete this effort by December 2019.
    Recommendation: To better inform Congress and improve what is known about the extent to which elderly residents of Section 202 properties are assisted by service coordinators, the Assistant Secretary for Housing should develop and implement policies and procedures for (1) verifying the accuracy of a sample of the performance information that Section 202 properties submit through semiannual performance reports and (2) analyzing the performance information collected.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In November 2016, HUD noted that it is developing a new grant reporting framework, which will be piloted in 2017. According to HUD, the pilot will inform HUD's efforts to improve reporting, verification, and analysis of performance data related to HUD's grant programs. HUD plans to complete this effort by October 2017.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the ECPC's efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, as the administrative leader of the ECPC, should clearly document the ECPC's strategic goals.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the ECPC's efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, as the administrative leader of the ECPC, should establish a mechanism to track progress by the ECPC's member agencies in implementing the ECPC's recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the ECPC's efforts, the Secretary of Homeland Security, as the administrative leader of the ECPC, should clearly define the roles and responsibilities of the ECPC's member agencies.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should direct the Office of Grants and Debarment (OGD) and program and regional offices, as appropriate, as part of EPA's ongoing streamlining initiatives and the development of a grantee portal, to incorporate expanded search capability features, such as keyword searches, into its proposed web-based portal for collecting and accessing performance reports to improve their accessibility.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60 day response, EPA reiterated its agreement with this recommendation. EPA also stated that its vision for grants management includes having grant recipients submit performance reports and other information to the agency through a web-based portal. The portal would incorporate capabilities such as key word searches to allow for easier access to performance report information. However, the portal is a long-term initiative, subject to the agency's budget process, and dependent on the completion of the Next Generation Grants System, which the EPA expects to fully deploy in Fiscal Year 2018.
    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should direct OGD and program and regional offices, as appropriate, as part of EPA's ongoing streamlining initiatives and the development of a grantee portal, to identify grant programs where existing program-specific data reporting can meet EPA's performance reporting requirements for grants management purposes to reduce duplicative reporting by grantees.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60 day response, EPA reiterated its general agreement with this recommendation and stated it will work with recipient partners to identify where duplicative reporting can be reduced. However, EPA also noted that program-specific data cannot be relied upon to meet all grants management requirements, and performance reports often contain other information that allows Project Officers to monitor a recipient's progress. Further, EPA will need to consider the feasibility of expanding Project Officer access to certain program databases to enhance grant performance monitoring. EPA anticipates completing the process for identifying where duplicative reporting can be reduced by the end of FY 2017.
    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should direct OGD and program and regional offices, as appropriate, as part of EPA's ongoing streamlining initiatives and the development of a grantee portal, once EPA's new performance system is in place, to ensure that the Office of Water adopts software tools, as appropriate, to electronically transfer relevant data on program results from program-specific databases to EPA's national performance system.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60 day response, the EPA reiterated its general agreement with this recommendation and stated that it will apply it, where appropriate and cost effective, to program-specific databases, not only the Office of Water databases. EPA noted that not all data from program-specific databases may be appropriate for direct electronic transfer to the national performance system; some individual grant data may need to be analyzed before being rolled up into national data. Additionally, implementation of this recommendation will depend upon the agency's program offices modifying their databases to interface with the new performance system. Further, implementation of this recommendation is dependent upon completion of EPA's new performance system, currently under development; anticipated deployment is in FY 2017.
    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should direct OGD and program and regional offices, as appropriate, as part of EPA's ongoing streamlining initiatives and the development of a grantee portal, to clarify the factors project officers should consider when determining whether performance reports are consistent with EPA's environmental results directive.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60 day response, EPA reiterated its agreement with this recommendation and stated that it will make conforming changes to the implementation guidance for the Environmental Results Order (Directive) in FY 2017.
    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should direct OGD and program and regional offices, as appropriate, as part of EPA's ongoing streamlining initiatives and the development of a grantee portal, to expand aspects of EPA's policy for certain categorical grants, specifically, the call for an explicit reference to the planned results in grantees' work plans and their projected time frames for completion, to all grants.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60 day response, EPA reiterated its agreement with this recommendation and stated that it will make conforming changes to existing policy in FY 2017.
    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should direct OGD and program and regional offices, as appropriate, as part of EPA's ongoing streamlining initiatives and the development of a grantee portal, to incorporate built-in data quality controls for performance reports into the planned web-based portal based on EPA's environmental results directive.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its 60 day response, EPA reiterated its general agreement with this recommendation. However, EPA emphasized that identifying and deploying appropriate data quality controls is a long-term effort subject to budgetary considerations, completion of the Next Generation Grants System, and extensive collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. Specifically, the report's vision for built-in data quality controls involves the use of electronic templates and reduced reliance on manual data entry--which would require standardized work plan and performance report formats subject to clearance by the Office of Management and Budget. Further, EPA noted that both grant recipients and EPA program offices generally have not supported standardizing the format of work plan and progress reports in the past. Accordingly, as a first step, EPA will seek feedback from the recipient and program office community. The agency will initiate that process in FY 2017.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    9 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To reduce pre-award administrative workload and costs, particularly for applications that do not result in awards, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services should conduct agency-wide reviews of possible actions, such as further use of preliminary proposals, to postpone pre-award requirements until after a preliminary decision about an applicant's likelihood of funding and, through OSTP's Research Business Models working group, coordinate and report on these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, DOE stated that it remained committed to addressing this recommendation. DOE outlined several steps it planned to take, such as participating in interagency meetings, but it did not indicate whether it has taken these steps.
    Recommendation: To reduce pre-award administrative workload and costs, particularly for applications that do not result in awards, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services should conduct agency-wide reviews of possible actions, such as further use of preliminary proposals, to postpone pre-award requirements until after a preliminary decision about an applicant's likelihood of funding and, through OSTP's Research Business Models working group, coordinate and report on these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to HHS, NIH is considering the feasibility of an approach to streamline its application process. As of May 2017, HHS anticipated implementing this recommendation by early fiscal year 2019.
    Recommendation: To reduce pre-award administrative workload and costs, particularly for applications that do not result in awards, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services should conduct agency-wide reviews of possible actions, such as further use of preliminary proposals, to postpone pre-award requirements until after a preliminary decision about an applicant's likelihood of funding and, through OSTP's Research Business Models working group, coordinate and report on these efforts.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of February 2017, NASA anticipated implementing this recommendation by September 2017. NASA stated that it is working with other federal agencies to identify best practices for reducing the administrative burden to applicants and will assess the impact these practices have on the quality of applications so that NASA can continue to meet its mission.
    Recommendation: To better target requirements on areas of greatest risk, while maintaining accountability over grant funds, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, as part of the planned evaluation of the HHS regulation governing financial conflicts of interest in NIH-funded research, should evaluate options for targeting requirements on areas of greatest risk for researcher conflicts, including adjusting the threshold and types of financial interests that need to be disclosed and the timing of disclosures.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS stated that, as of May 2017, NIH was proceeding with plans to assess the financial conflict of interest regulation, including how to reduce administrative burden on researchers while maintaining the integrity and credibility of research findings.
    Recommendation: To better target requirements on areas of greatest risk, while maintaining accountability over grant funds, the Director of OMB, as part of OMB's planned evaluation of the Uniform Guidance, should evaluate options for targeting requirements for research grants to universities, including requirements for purchases and subrecipient monitoring, on areas of greatest risk for improper use of research funds.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of August 2017, OMB had not provided information on steps it has taken to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To further standardize administrative research requirements, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of NSF should coordinate through Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) Research Business Models working group to identify additional areas where they can standardize requirements and report on these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act was signed into law, requiring the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative workload and costs while protecting the transparency of and accountability for federally funded research. As of March 2017, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF stated that, as part of their efforts to implement GAO's recommendation, they would coordinate with other research funding agencies through this interagency working group.
    Recommendation: To further standardize administrative research requirements, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of NSF should coordinate through Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) Research Business Models working group to identify additional areas where they can standardize requirements and report on these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act was signed into law, requiring the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative workload and costs while protecting the transparency of and accountability for federally funded research. As of March 2017, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF stated that, as part of their efforts to implement GAO's recommendation, they would coordinate with other research funding agencies through this interagency working group.
    Recommendation: To further standardize administrative research requirements, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of NSF should coordinate through Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) Research Business Models working group to identify additional areas where they can standardize requirements and report on these efforts.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act was signed into law, requiring the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative workload and costs while protecting the transparency of and accountability for federally funded research. As of March 2017, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF stated that, as part of their efforts to implement GAO's recommendation, they would coordinate with other research funding agencies through this interagency working group.
    Recommendation: To further standardize administrative research requirements, the Secretary of Energy, the NASA Administrator, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the Director of NSF should coordinate through Office of Science and Technology Policy's (OSTP) Research Business Models working group to identify additional areas where they can standardize requirements and report on these efforts.

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, the American Innovation and Competitiveness Act was signed into law, requiring the Office of Management and Budget, in coordination with the Office of Science and Technology Policy, to establish an interagency working group to reduce administrative workload and costs while protecting the transparency of and accountability for federally funded research. As of March 2017, DOE, HHS, NASA, and NSF stated that, as part of their efforts to implement GAO's recommendation, they would coordinate with other research funding agencies through this interagency working group.
    Director: Susan A. Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to enhance the process outlined in the Grants Manual to monitor project performance for future grants to include: (1) performance measures directly linked to project goals, and (2) fully incorporating timely and actionable information on grantee performance into FRA's review process to help determine whether current efforts are in line with the overall project goals.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and stated that FRA will enhance the grants management manual content linking performance measures to project goals, and incorporating timely and actionable information on grant performance into monitoring and oversight activities. DOT stated FRA would complete these actions by June 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to develop and provide written guidance to grantees to include FRA's expectations on the type of information grantees should provide, such as guidance specific to deliverables and milestones for each grant project.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and stated that FRA will identify gaps in existing guidance and develop and disseminate revised guidance to grantees. DOT stated FRA would complete these actions by December 31, 2017.
    Recommendation: To strengthen FRA's grants management practices, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FRA Administrator to analyze training needs and formalize a training plan for grantees and agency staff, which could include training on grant-specific procedures and policies.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT agreed with this recommendation and FRA developed a revised formal training plan in March 2017. As of May 2017, we are reviewing this plan.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To further build on the efforts to improve emergency communications interoperability in the NCR, as part of its efforts to restructure the JFC, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator should direct the Director of ONCRC to clearly articulate in a written agreement the roles and responsibilities of the participating agencies and specify how these agencies are to work together across agency boundaries.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Chris P. Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote more effective grant management coordination, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a plan with time frames, goals, metrics and milestones detailing how Grant Programs Directorate intends to resolve longstanding challenges associated with its existing hybrid grants management model, which divides responsibilities between regional and headquarters staff.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, FEMA did not believe a plan was warranted to address long-standing coordination issues associated with its existing hybrid grants management model, as recommended in GAO's February 2016 report. According to the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA believes strongly in the importance of close and collaborative relationships between headquarters and regional grants staff. Further, FEMA stated the Grant Programs Directorate at headquarters already has in place numerous steps to ensure coordination and collaboration with regional grants staff. However, these steps by FEMA were already in place when GAO conducted its review in 2015 and early 2016, yet GAO identified continuing challenges related to coordination between headquarters and regions in conducting monitoring visits and providing consistent guidance to state grantees. As a result, GAO continues to believe that without a plan with time frames, goals, metrics, and milestones detailing how officials intend to resolve long-standing challenges associated with FEMA's existing hybrid grants management model, these challenges will continue to hamper the effectiveness of interactions between FEMA and state and local stakeholders in implementing the grant programs.
    Recommendation: To enable more sophisticated and comprehensive awareness of states' NIMS implementation, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop policies and procedures for regional staff to review after-action reports from preparedness exercises within their region, and headquarters staff to review these evaluations in order to have a better understanding of NIMS implementation.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, FEMA officials provided an update on the status of actions taken in response to our report. In the update, FEMA officials said the National Integration Center (NIC) is holding consultative sessions with state and local emergency managers to ensure the revised National Incident Management System (NIMS) doctrine and implementation objectives is operationally sound from the perspective of FEMA's stakeholders. They expect to complete this effort by September 30, 2017. Pending completion of this effort, the recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Daniel Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the best use of the VA Adaptive Sports Grant program funds, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs to systematically gather and disseminate, to all its grantees, techniques that can reduce the no-show rate at funded events.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with our recommendation. In 2015, VA stated that it would have grantees report on their policies, tools and experience with veterans and service members who do not show up for events; and measures grantees have taken to reduce no-shows. VA stated that it will analyze this information and disseminate best techniques, tools, and recommended actions to current and future grantees. We will close this recommendation when we receive documentation showing that VA is systematically gathering and disseminating information on best practices for reducing no-shows.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the best use of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Adaptive Sports Grant program funds, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Undersecretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs to revise the draft monitoring plan to include guidance on the number and frequency of annual site visits and desk audits.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: VA concurred with this recommendation. In 2015, VA reported that its final monitoring plan calls for conduct of site visits or desk audits of at least 10 percent of grantees in a grant year. We will close this recommendation when we receive a copy of the final plan for FY16 documenting this commitment.
    Director: Valerie C. Melvin
    Phone: (202) 512-6304

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the oversight of states' marketplace IT projects, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure that all CMS senior executives from IT and business units who are involved in the establishment of state marketplace IT projects review and approve funding decisions for these projects.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2015, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concurred with the recommendation. The department, in its agency comments, stated that it already included senior executives in its funding decisions for these projects. However, as noted in our report, CMS did not provide evidence that key senior executives from CCIIO, CMCS, and OTS were involved in various funding decisions associated with the states' IT projects. For example, CMS did not demonstrate that senior-level executives from all relevant business and IT units were involved in the initial approval of grant awards or the release of restricted IT funds from marketplace grants as states progressed with their projects. In addition, CMS did not provide evidence of senior executive involvement in the approval of Medicaid funds for marketplace IT projects. Furthermore, as of March 10, 2017, CMS still had not provided evidence that it had taken such actions to support the implementation of this recommendation. By ensuring such executive involvement, CMS would increase accountability for decisions to fund states' IT projects and ensure that these decisions are well informed in order to make efficient use of federal funds.
    Recommendation: To improve the oversight of states' marketplace IT projects, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to ensure that states have completed all testing of marketplace system functions prior to releasing them into operation.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2015, Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) concurred with the recommendation. The department noted that it would continue to follow its guidelines to determine if state marketplace system functions are ready for release. The department added that it would work closely with state-based marketplaces to improve their systems and verify that system requirements are met and fully tested before approving them for release into production. While CMS drafted guidance to update its process in June 2016, which required states to submit certain testing reports and supporting documentation, as of March 10, 2017, the agency had not provided evidence that it had determined that state systems had been sufficiently tested for release into operations.
    Director: J. Alfredo Gómez
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should direct OGD to develop a timetable with milestones and identify and allocate resources for adopting electronic records management for all 10 regional offices.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: Implementation efforts ongoing. According to EPA officials, the Office of Grants and Debarment established an agency-wide electronic grants record workgroup in FY 16 Q1. The workgroup identified the contents of the electronic grant file, technical options and evaluation criteria. OGD has initiated an alternatives analysis and expects to present the results of that analysis to the Grants Management Council in FY 17 Q1. Once the GMC selects the technical approach, the Agency will identify available funding for implementation through the budget process.
    Recommendation: The EPA Administrator should direct OGD to implement plans for adopting an up-to-date and comprehensive IT system by 2017 that will provide accurate and timely data on agencywide compliance with grants management directives.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: Implementation efforts ongoing. According to EPA officials, OGD is already underway with a multi-modular project to upgrade the agency's grants management IT system (IGMS). Module 2 of 3 is on schedule for deployment in FY17 Q1. The final Module is on schedule for deployment, in early FY18. OGD will incorporate in the project performance tracking of priority directives in accordance with the policy framework of the new Grants Management Plan.
    Recommendation: Until the new IT system is implemented, the EPA Administrator should direct OGD to develop ways to more effectively use existing web-based tools to better monitor agencywide compliance with grants management directives.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: Implementation efforts ongoing. According to EPA officials, OGD has already developed the capability to provide managers cumulative annual baseline monitoring data. Further capabilities of web-based tools, namely the replacement of OGD's primary tool Quik Reports, are on schedule for deployment in FY17 Q1. This effort combined with updates to the Grants Datamart will provide valuable long term enhancements for the Agency's grant reporting needs.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase states' abilities to improve disaster resilience and mitigate future damage when using federal funding in the wake of disasters, the FEMA Administrator should, consistent with the goals of the NDRF to integrate hazard mitigation and risk reduction opportunities into all major decisions and reinvestments during the recovery process, assess the challenges state and local officials reported, including the extent to which the challenges can be addressed and implement corrective actions, as needed.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In April 2017, FEMA officials provided a corrective action plan that included interim actions and milestones leading to the establishment of procedures and training to assist in implementing policy changes through the end of calendar year 2016. In September 2016, FEMA issued new policies to establish minimum standards for Public Assistance projects that are intended to promote resilience and achieve risk reduction. The April 2017 update indicates that FEMA plans to complete actions to implement this recommendation by May 2017. GAO will assess the actions taken when they are complete.
    Recommendation: To help the federal, state, and local governments plan for and invest in hazard mitigation opportunities to enhance resilience against future disasters, the Director of the Mitigation Framework Leadership Group, in coordination with other departments and agencies that are MitFLG members, should supplement the National Mitigation Framework by establishing an investment strategy to identify, prioritize, and guide federal investments in disaster resilience and hazard mitigation-related activities and make recommendations to the President and Congress on how the nation should prioritize future disaster resilience investments. Such a strategy could address, among other things, (1) the extent to which current hazard mitigation and disaster resilience programs are adequately addressing critical lifelines and critical infrastructure, (2) an approach to identifying information on what disaster resilience and hazard mitigation efforts are most effective against known risks and their potential impacts on the nation's fiscal exposure, (3) the balance of federal and nonfederal investments, and (4) the balance of pre- and postdisaster resilience investments.

    Agency: Mitigation Framework Leadership Group
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2016, officials from FEMA's Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration told us they are working with the Office of Management and Budget to implement this recommendation and shared a high-level work plan designed to guide MitFLG through the creation of a disaster resilience investment strategy. According to this plan, the strategy is to be complete in October 2017.
    Director: Mihm, J Christopher
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal program spending data are provided to the public in a transparent, useful, and timely manner, the Director of OMB should accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB staff told us that they don't expect to be able to identify programs for the purposes of DATA Act reporting until sometime after May 2017. However, they said that they are conducting a program definition and alignment study to identify a more consistent framework for defining federal agency programs with the aim of improving government-wide comparability and tying programs to spending. The effort is supported by a working group comprised of representatives from the CFO community. OMB staff noted that they expect to begin analyzing the results of the study in fall 2016.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the integrity of data standards is maintained over time, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should establish a set of clear policies and processes for developing and maintaining data standards that are consistent with leading practices for data governance.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB and Treasury have taken some initial steps to build a data governance structure including conducting interviews with key stakeholders and developing a set of recommendations for decision-making authority. In September 2016, OMB and Treasury took another step toward establishing a data governance structure by creating a new Data Standards and Management Committee that will be responsible for maintaining established standards and identifying new data elements. However, more remains to be done. As part of our ongoing feedback with OMB, we shared 5 key practices that we believe should inform their plans to develop a data governance framework moving forward.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more clearly communicate what NTIA hopes to achieve with its ongoing broadband adoption efforts and to demonstrate the agency's progress, the Secretary of Commerce should include in NTIA's annual performance plan a quantifiable outcome-based performance goal and a related performance indicator for the agency's broadband adoption efforts consistent with the strategic plan.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In responding to the recommendation in a draft of the report, the Department of Commerce stated that it agrees that outcome-based performance tools are important in evaluating the success of an agency program. However, it also stated that an outcome-based measure would not be an accurate measure of NTIA's performance because the agency's ongoing efforts to provide technical assistance to communities to support broadband adoption efforts are advisory and do not provide funding to communities. In August 2016, an NTIA official reiterated this position. We will continue to monitor NTIA's activities in this area, in case its broadband adoption efforts change.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide greater visibility over the extent to which Army UAS units have completed required training to leaders responsible for deployment decisions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to require unit status reports to include information on the readiness levels of UAS pilots in UAS units.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Army UAS pilots receive the highest caliber of training to prepare them to successfully accomplish UAS missions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to take additional steps to mitigate potential risks posed by its waiver of course prerequisites for less experienced UAS pilots attending the course to become instructors, such as by providing additional preparation for current and future instructors who do not meet one or more course prerequisites to enhance their ability to successfully provide training.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To increase opportunities to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UAS pilot training across DOD, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to address how the services should coordinate with one another in the strategy on UAS pilot training that the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness is current drafting.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the timely expenditure of VOCA grant funds and thereby limit the carryover of unexpended grant balances, minimize the need for multiple grant extensions, and strengthen OJJDP's capacity to collect and assess grantee performance information, the Assistant Attorney General for OJP should work with the Administrator of OJJDP to conduct a study to examine whether any of its administrative processes contribute to unnecessary delays in grantees' ability to expend VOCA funds within the established 12-month project period and make modifications to these processes as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: Office of the Assistant Attorney General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2015, we found that OJJDP had several administrative review and approval processes in place that had contributed to delays in grantees' ability to begin spending their award funds. For instance, grantees could not access their funds until OJJDP had completed its internal review of grantees' budgets--a step that had taken more than 2 months, on average, after the grantees' project period had begun. We recommended that OJP examine its processes and, if appropriate, make modifications to prevent unnecessary delays in grantees' ability to expend VOCA funds within the established project period. In March 2017, OJP reported that its Office of Audit, Assessment and Management (OAAM), worked with OJJDP to complete an assessment to determine the impact of administrative processes on VOCA awards. Focusing on VOCA grants awarded in fiscal years 2010 through 2015, OAAM assessed a number of factors, including (1) the average timeframe for approval of budget reviews; (2) the average timeframe for approval of conference cost requests, and (3) the number of no-cost extensions granted. OJP reported that OAAM continues to work with OJJDP to review documentation to support implementation of process improvements to address the issues the assessment identified. OAAM anticipates issuing a report by March 31, 2017 to OJP's Acting Assistant Attorney General to summarize the results of the assessment and provide updates on the process improvements OJJDP has begun to implement. Examining the delays associated with its administrative review processes and making modifications as necessary will help OJP ensure the effective administration and timely use of grant funds.
    Recommendation: To ensure the timely expenditure of VOCA grant funds and thereby limit the carryover of unexpended grant balances, minimize the need for multiple grant extensions, and strengthen OJJDP's capacity to collect and assess grantee performance information, the Assistant Attorney General for OJP should work with the Administrator of OJJDP to, considering the results of this study, examine whether the current 12-month project period is realistic in light of any administrative processes that cause delay but cannot be modified and extend the project period if necessary.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Justice Programs: Office of the Assistant Attorney General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2015, we found that VOCA grant activities were not being completed within the time parameters OJJDP established for the grant program, and that this may affect the ability of grantees to complete their grant goals and objectives. Specifically, we found that for the 28 VOCA grants that OJJDP awarded from fiscal years 2010 through 2013, grantees had expended less than 20 percent, on average, of each grant they received during the original 12-month project period. In particular, we found that OJJDP's processes for reviewing grantees' budgets and conference planning requests were contributing to delays in grantees' ability to begin spending their funds. We recommended that OJP examine whether 12 months is an appropriate project period length to ensure that VOCA grantees are well positioned to fully expend their grant funds. In March 2017, OJP reported that its Office of Audit, Assessment and Management (OAAM), worked with OJJDP to complete an assessment to determine the impact of administrative processes on VOCA awards. Focusing on VOCA grants awarded in fiscal years 2010 through 2015, OAAM assessed a number of factors, including (1) the average timeframe for approval of budget reviews; (2) the average timeframe for approval of conference cost requests, and (3) the number of no-cost extensions granted. OJP reported that OAAM continues to work with OJJDP to review documentation to support implementation of process improvements to address the issues the assessment identified. OAAM anticipates issuing a report by March 31, 2017 to OJP's Acting Assistant Attorney General to summarize the results of the assessment and provide updates on the process improvements OJJDP has begun to implement. Once OJJDP examines its administrative delays, makes any necessary changes, and reviews the original project period length, OJP will be better positioned to ensure that grantees have an appropriate period in which to expend VOCA grant awards.
    Director: Mak, Marie A
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order for NASA to fully implement the NASA Authorization Act of 2008 and for CASIS to fulfill its responsibility as outlined in the cooperative agreement, the NASA Administrator should direct the Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate to fully staff the ISS National Laboratory Advisory Committee.

    Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: NASA does not plan to staff the International Space Station National Laboratory Advisory Committee (INLAC) at this time. Officials stated that they continue to believe that the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) Board of Directors meets the intent of the INLAC charter by providing oversight of CASIS implementation of utilization of the ISS as a national laboratory. NASA remains concerned about staffing another oversight group that may create conflicts with the existing CASIS Board of Directors. NASA is also exploring with CASIS opportunities to open portions of board meetings to the general public and interested parties in order to foster additional transparency and a broad and free exchange of ideas. In response to this recommendation, the Associate Administrator for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate indicated that NASA was seeking relief from the statutory requirement to staff the INLAC.
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen its management of cash-based food assistance projects and help ensure improved oversight of these projects, the USAID Administrator should develop policy and comprehensive guidance for USAID staff and implementing partners for financial oversight of cash-based food assistance projects.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation in its comments to the March 2015 GAO report. In June 2016, USAID reported that it would work with the Cash Learning Partnership (CaLP) on the development and dissemination of policy and guidance related to financial oversight of cash-based food assistance projects. In April 2017, USAID stated that it is continuing to work with CaLP and provide training for FFP staff and implementing partners for the oversight and management of cash-based food assistance programs, including courses related to the financial oversight. However, as of April 2017, USAID had not completed any guidance for USAID staff and implementing partners for financial oversight of cash-based food assistance projects.
    Recommendation: To strengthen its management of cash-based food assistance projects and help ensure improved oversight of these projects, the USAID Administrator should require USAID staff to conduct systematic financial oversight of USAID's cash-based food assistance projects in the field.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: USAID concurred with this recommendation in its comments to the March 2015 GAO report. In January 2017, USAID stated that it was continuing to pursue training opportunities for staff in response to this recommendation. However, USAID, as of April 2017, had not completed efforts to address the recommendation. GAO will continue to monitor USAID's efforts to require staff to conduct systematic financial oversight and determine the extent to which the training and third monitoring will address this issue.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better leverage the commissioners' expertise in the development of the annual work plan, Congress should consider amending the Denali Commission Act, potentially with one of the identified options.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 10, 2016, Congress passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, or WIIN Act. As of December 14, 2016, the legislation had not yet been signed by the President. Section 5002 of the legislation included provisions related to the Denali Commission. If the legislation becomes law we will review it in more detail to see if it addresses this matter for congressional consideration.
    Recommendation: To address barriers to the operation of the Commission, Congress should consider amending the Denali Commission Act to include either a holdover or delegation of authority provision when the Federal Cochair position is vacant.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: On December 10, 2016, Congress passed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act, or WIIN Act. As of December 14, 2016, the legislation had not yet been signed by the President. Section 5002 of the legislation included provisions related to the Denali Commission. If the legislation becomes law we will review it in more detail to see if it addresses this matter for congressional consideration.
    Recommendation: To enhance the Commission's operations, the Commission's Federal Cochair should direct the Commission to consider options for fulfilling the Commission's statutory purpose and finalize that new approach in a new strategic plan.

    Agency: Denali Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Commission's grants management, the Commission's Federal Cochair should direct the Commission to issue Commission-specific policies for awarding and managing grants.

    Agency: Denali Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Commission's grants management, the Commission's Federal Cochair should direct the Commission to establish a documented process for ensuring that the findings of single audits of grantees are promptly resolved and take action to resolve any recent single audits that showed evidence of a potential problem.

    Agency: Denali Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Commission's grants management, the Commission's Federal Cochair should direct the Commission to continue efforts to close out grants and projects, including deobligating unspent grant funds in a timely manner.

    Agency: Denali Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Commission's grants management, the Commission's Federal Cochair should direct the Commission to take steps to consistently manage and retain Commission records, including implementing its record retention policy once it is approved.

    Agency: Denali Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, GAO is reviewing actions by the agency to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To allow for greater flexibility in the Commission's operations, Congress should consider amending the Denali Commission Act to modify or end the 5 percent cap on administrative expenditures.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 14, 2016, no legislation had been enacted to address this issue.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget should direct, as appropriate, federal agencies involved with the White House Working Group on Detroit, to collect good practices and lessons learned from their efforts to assist Detroit during its fiscal crisis and share them with other federal agencies and local governments. Toward this end, OMB may want to consider making use of existing knowledge and capacity associated with the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative and its National Resource Network.

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

    Comments: In commenting on a draft of GAO's March 2015 report, OMB neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. In April 2017, OMB staff stated that they believed steps had been taken to preserve some of the lessons coming out of the administration's efforts to assist the City of Detroit during its fiscal crisis. However, they were unable to provide specifics. GAO has requested additional information and supporting documentation regarding this effort.
    Director: Kay Brown
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the consistency of assistance provided to tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should take steps to provide consistent title IV-E guidance to tribes across its regional offices.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2015, HHS hired a tribal coordinator who will work in the Office of the Associate Commissioner of the Children's Bureau. The tribal coordinator's primary functions will include facilitating communication across the regions and with tribes to share experiences and information, so as to ensure greater consistency and clarity. While this hire represents an initial step towards improving communication with tribal title IV-E agencies, more time is needed for the tribal coordinator to implement policies and procedures that will ensure consistent title IV-E guidance to tribes across HHS regional offices. In May 2017, the agency reported that tribal coordinator position was ultimately elevated to the Office of the ACYF Commissioner and became the Commissioner's representative to the Tribes. We await documentation on any guidance provided to the regional offices that would help with consistency.
    Recommendation: To improve the timeliness of assistance provided to tribes, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should establish procedures to ensure reviews of draft title IV-E plans are conducted by regional office staff in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, HHS stated that it does not anticipate taking action in response to this recommendation because of its existing protocols for communicating with and responding to tribal title IV-E grantees. We maintain that establishing procedures, including but not limited to timeframes for responses, would help ensure that tribes receive timely feedback from regional offices regarding their draft title IV-E plans.
    Director: Brown, Kay E
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To encourage broader adoption and evaluation of promising approaches and address impediments to the use of the career pathways approach among TANF agencies, HHS should, in consultation with Congress, identify potential changes that would address the lack of incentives for states and localities to adopt promising approaches and then develop and submit a legislative proposal outlining those changes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2015, HHS noted that the agency's fiscal year 2016 budget includes a proposal to increase incentives for states to implement or strengthen subsidized employment programs and notes the Administration's willingness to work with Congress to improve the TANF program's effectiveness in accomplishing its goals. Additionally, HHS reported that it continues to provide technical assistance and disseminate research to help encourage TANF agencies to adopt or strengthen employment-focused approaches. While we commend these efforts, we continue to believe it is important for HHS, in consultation with Congress, to identify potential changes that would address the lack of incentives for states and localities to adopt promising approaches and develop and submit a legislative proposal outlining those changes. As of October 2017, we have not received any additional status updates on this recommendation from HHS.
    Director: Susan Fleming
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency and provide Congress and the public greater visibility into the types of highway activities funded with Highway Trust Fund monies, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FHWA Administrator to explore the costs, feasibility, and options for collecting and publicly reporting consistent aggregate project-level spending data.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FHWA agreed with the recommendation and stated that it was reviewing the feasibility and options for collecting and reporting aggregate project-level highway spending data, and that it intended to complete this review by December 2015. In December 2015, the President signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or "FAST Act". Sec. 1402 of the Act requires DOT to annually report, for all projects administered by FHWA with a total estimated cost of $25 million or more (and for all other projects to the extent practicable), on the total cost of funded projects, the amount of federal funds obligated, and other information, and to make this information "available in a user-friendly manner on the public Internet website of the Department of Transportation." GAO is monitoring DOT's efforts to implement this provision of the Act and the extent to which it fulfills GAO's recommendation.
    Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
    Phone: (202) 512-6244

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the maritime sector, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to work with federal and nonfederal partners to ensure that the maritime risk assessment includes cyber-related threats, vulnerabilities, and potential consequences.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, USCG stated that the National Maritime Strategic Risk Assessment (NMSRA) was still being finalized. The agency stated that they expected this to be completed by July 2017. Once completed, we will analyze the results of the NMSRA in order to validate the extent to which its contents implement our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the maritime sector, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to use the results of the risk assessment to inform how guidance for area maritime security plans, facility security plans, and other securityrelated planning should address cyber-related risk for the maritime sector.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, USCG stated that it had developed a draft Navigation and Vessel Inspection Circular (NVIC) to provide guidance on assessment methods that assist vessel and facility owners and operators identify and address cybersecurity vulnerabilities. USCG stated that the draft NVIC would be published in the Federal Register for 60 days, to enable maritime stakeholders to review and provide comment. Once USCG provides us a final copy of the NVIC, we will analyze it to determine if it provides guidance for addressing cyber-related risk in the maritime sector.
    Recommendation: To enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the maritime sector, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Commandant of the Coast Guard to work with federal and nonfederal stakeholders to determine if the Maritime Modal Sector Coordinating Council should be reestablished to better facilitate stakeholder coordination and information sharing across the maritime environment at the national level.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) stated that the tasking for the National Maritime Security Advisory Committee to explore the issue of information sharing mechanisms in regards to cyber information had been completed. However, USCG did not mention any decision related to the reestablishment of the sector coordinating council.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the effective use of Port Security Grant Program funds to support the program's stated mission of addressing vulnerabilities in the maritime port environment, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator, in coordination with the Coast Guard, to develop procedures for officials at the field review level (i.e., captains of the port) and national review level (i.e., the National Review Panel and FEMA) to consult cybersecurity subject matter experts from the Coast Guard and other relevant DHS components, if applicable, during the review of cybersecurity grant proposals for funding.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, FEMA officials stated they would provide GAO an update on the status of the recommendation by July 2017. Once provided, we will analyze the information we receive and update status of implementation efforts.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the effective use of Port Security Grant Program funds to support the program's stated mission of addressing vulnerabilities in the maritime port environment, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the FEMA Administrator, in coordination with the Coast Guard, to use any information on cyberrelated threats, vulnerabilities, and consequences identified in the maritime risk assessment to inform future versions of funding guidance for grant applicants and reviews at the field and national levels.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, FEMA officials stated they would provide GAO an update on the status of the recommendation by July 2017. Once provided, we will analyze the information received and update status of implementation efforts.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: 202-512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should establish additional accountability measures for management of the TIGER program to (1) establish clear procedures for addressing late-arriving applications and communicate its decisions to either accept or reject these applications to the public, and (2) document and approve major decisions in the application evaluation and project selection process through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism that provides a clear rationale for decisions to: (a) advance for senior review applications other than those rated as highly recommended; (b) not advance applications rated as highly recommended; and (c) change the technical evaluation rating of an application.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO reviewed DOT's TIGER application evaluation process for the 2014 and 2015 funding rounds and found that DOT established guidance that it would no longer accept late-arriving TIGER applications and it improved its internal procedures for documenting major decisions in its application evaluation database, including decisions to advance for senior review applications other than those rated as "highly recommended." However, DOT did not document these procedures through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism to ensure a consistent and transparent process for approving major decisions in these and future TIGER rounds. Moreover, in reviewing the 2015 TIGER application evaluation process, GAO noted that DOT altered its procedures for evaluating applications while the review process was ongoing. According to DOT's Financial Assistance Guidance Manual, grant evaluations must be conducted in accordance with the evaluation plan created prior to the announcement, and may not be changed once applications have been received. As of August 2017, the Department's Inspector General is conducting an audit of the TIGER program to assess DOT's application evaluation procedures. GAO will review the Inspector General's findings when they become available.
    Director: Jacqueline M. Nowicki
    Phone: (617) 788-0580

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve grantees' planning and implementation efforts, increase the effectiveness of grantee efforts to integrate and manage resources, and learn more about the program's impact, the Secretary of Education should clarify program guidance about planning and implementation grants to provide reasonable assurance that planning grantees are better prepared to continue their efforts in the absence of implementation funding. Additional guidance could include encouraging grantees to set aside a small amount of the grant to identify and deliver early, tangible benefits to their neighborhoods.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education stated that it would communicate to planning grant applicants that implementation funding is contingent on the availability of funds and that it would clarify to grantees that planning grant funds could be used to achieve early, tangible benefits. However, Education has not awarded any new planning grants since 2012. In FY17, ED reported that if new funding becomes available for the Promise Neighborhoods' planning and implementation awards, the Department will emphasize to all interested applicants that grant awards are contingent on the availability of funds and the results of the competitive award process. Education also stated that it would provide more targeted technical assistance to planning grant recipients regarding strategies for continuing grantees' efforts absent implementation funding. In 2015, its technical assistance provider published information on planning for growth and sustainability of Promise Neighborhoods.
    Recommendation: In order to improve grantees' planning and implementation efforts, increase the effectiveness of grantee efforts to integrate and manage resources, and learn more about the program's impact, the Secretary of Education should develop and disseminate to grantees on an ongoing basis an inventory of federal programs and resources that can contribute to the Promise Neighborhoods program's goal to better support coordination across agency lines.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education stated that it would work with its technical assistance providers to create a mechanism to distribute a comprehensive list of external funding opportunities, programs and resources on a regular basis to better support the grantees' implementation efforts. In FY15, ED reported that the program office held a grantee meeting in July 2015 featuring at least three workshops on sustainability and leveraging additional funding sources. The program office also had a website (promiseneighborhoods.ed.gov) with a number of resources under the "toolbox" tab that can assist interested programs in financing their ongoing needs. While the workshops and web resources were good first steps that can assist grantees, GAO maintains that Education, rather than individual grantees, is best positioned to develop and share such an inventory of federal programs that relate to the goals of the Promise Neighborhoods program. Without such an inventory, Education may be missing opportunities to better support grantees; find other federal program for future coordination efforts; and identify potential fragmentation, overlap and duplication at the federal level. In FY17, Education did not provide any updates on this recommendation, nor has it provided such an inventory.
    Recommendation: In order to improve grantees' planning and implementation efforts, increase the effectiveness of grantee efforts to integrate and manage resources, and learn more about the program's impact, the Secretary of Education should develop a plan to use the data collected from grantees to conduct a national evaluation of the program.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education stated that it would consider options for how and whether it can use the data collected from grantees to conduct a national evaluation. As a first step, Education said it would conduct a systematic evaluation of the reliability and validity of the data. In its 2016 Notice of Funding Availability for Implementation Grants, Education acknowledged that grantees have struggled to collect the full range of data necessary to conduct meaningful evaluation activities and emphasized the importance of helping grantees develop robust data systems. In addition, in its agency comments, Education had stated that it had not received sufficient funding to support a national evaluation. In FY2017, ED provided documentation of its request for funding for conducting an evaluation and the response to the request. However, the entity within ED that is responsible for impact evaluations maintains that it has no plans to conduct an impact evaluation, given that grantees were not randomly selected. GAO agrees that the program was not designed for impact evaluation, however, as we reported, there are other options for evaluating such programs that can provide meaningful information about how well grantees are addressing the problem of poor student outcomes in impoverished neighborhoods. Not evaluating the program limits Education and other agencies from learning about the extent to which model is effective and should be replicated. Developing an evaluation plan would provide critical information about the resources required to conduct an evaluation, and could better inform future funding requests for such an evaluation.
    Director: Wilshusen, Gregory C
    Phone: (202)512-6244

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Homeland Security, in collaboration with emergency service sector stakeholders, should address the cybersecurity implications of implementing Next Generation 911 and the First Responder Network Authority network in the next iteration of sector plans.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2015, DHS released an updated sector-specific plan for the emergency services sector that describes the sector's greater dependence on cyber-based infrastructure as a notable trend and emerging issue among the sector's risks. However, the plan does not incorporate steps to address the cybersecurity risk of implementing Next Generation 911 or risks associated with the First Responder Network, the public safety broadband network, currently in development. An update to the sector-specific plan will likely not occur until 2018. When DHS provides evidence regarding additional risk mitigation steps, we will review the evidence provided to update the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Crosse, Marcia G
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to reduce the administrative costs associated with a fragmented MAI grant structure that diminishes the effective use of HHS's limited HIV/AIDS funding, and to enhance services to minority populations, HHS should consolidate disparate MAI funding streams into core HIV/AIDS funding during its budget request and allocation process.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS stated that it does not support the consolidation of Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI)funds into core funding. As of September, 2016, we are still awaiting an update from HHS on the status of any efforts to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Recommendation: In order to reduce the administrative costs associated with a fragmented MAI grant structure that diminishes the effective use of HHS's limited HIV/AIDS funding, and to enhance services to minority populations, HHS should seek legislation to amend the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency Act of 1990 or other provisions of law, as necessary, to achieve a consolidated approach.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS stated that it does not support the consolidation of Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) funds into core funding. As of September, 2016, we are still awaiting an update from HHS on the status of any efforts to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Kohn, Linda T
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help address the uncertainty NIH faces, related to the potential impact of increasing indirect costs on its funding of future research, the Director of NIH should assess the impact of growth in indirect costs on its research mission, including, as necessary, planning for how to deal with potential future increases in indirect costs that could limit the amount of funding available for total research, including the direct costs of research projects.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: National Institutes of Health
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of July 7, 2015, NIH provided some information indicating that it had taken action to address our recommendation by tracking the size of indirect costs as a proportion of NIH's overall budget as part of the agency's annual budget planning process and risk assessment program. However, we determined that the actions did not fully address the recommendation because they focus on the agency's overall budget and do not assess the potential ongoing impact of indirect costs for universities on its mission. As of August 2017, NIH officials have not informed us of any additional actions taken to implement this recommendation. We will update the status of this recommendation when we receive additional information.
    Director: Gootnick, David B
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to improve the ability of the U.S. agencies participating in the Joint Economic Management Committee (JEMCO) and Joint Economic Management and Financial Accountability Committee (JEMFAC) to conduct required oversight of compact funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of Insular Affairs, as Chairman of JEMCO, to coordinate with other JEMCO-member U.S. agencies to have JEMCO take all necessary steps, or, as the administrator of compact grants, to directly take all necessary steps, to ensure that the FSM (1) completes satisfactory plans to address annual decrements in compact funds, (2) produces reliable indicator data used to track progress in education and health, and (3) addresses all single audit findings in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: JEMCO accepted decrement plans from the FSM which addressed one element of the recommendation. However, as of June 16th, 2017 the other parts of the recommendation have not been addressed.
    Recommendation: In order to improve the ability of the U.S. agencies participating in the JEMCO and JEMFAC committees to conduct required oversight of compact funds, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Director of Insular Affairs, as Chairman of the JEMFAC, to coordinate with other JEMFAC-member U.S. agencies to have JEMFAC take all necessary steps, or, as the administrator of compact grants, to directly take all necessary steps, to ensure that the RMI (1) completes satisfactory plans to address annual decrements in compact funds, (2) produces reliable indicator data used to track progress in education and health, and (3) addresses all single audit findings in a timely manner.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: JEMFAC accepted decrement plans from the RMI, which addressed one element of the recommendation. However, as of June 16th, 2017 the other parts of the recommendation have not been addressed.
    Director: Brown, Kay E
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide the basis for greater consistency across states in assessing elder justice service delivery, the Secretary of HHS, as chairman of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council, should direct the Council to make it a priority to identify common objectives for the federal elder justice effort and define common outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS agreed with this recommendation and noted the formation of the Elder Justice Coordinating Council (EJCC) as an effort to develop common objectives and plans for action to address elder justice issues. As of June 2014, the EJCC had developed eight recommendations for increased federal leadership in combating elder abuse based on input from elder justice experts in financial exploitation, public policy and awareness, enhancing response, and advancing research. Staff compiled information on best and promising practices for primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention; empirical evidence from peer-reviewed research; approaches used in related disciplines; and information about where gaps exist in the collective knowledge about elder abuse, neglect and exploitation. Staff then turned the suggestions into proposals with accompanying steps for federal action. Those proposals were subsequently presented at two public EJCC meetings (May and September 2013) and were made available for public review and comment. The Secretary of HHS formally accepted the recommendations in May 2014, and they were posted to the EJCC page of the Administration on Aging's website. In May 2015, HHS reported that the EJCC had published these recommendations in a document entitled "Eight (8)Recommendations for Increased Federal Involvement in Addressing Elder Abuse, Neglect, and Exploitation" and stated that the recommendations addressed the issues identified in GAO's recommendation. While we recognized that these 8 recommendations corresponded to the common objectives included in our recommendation, we also sought from HHS information on the status of common outcomes for the objectives. HHS reported that outcomes for the eight common objectives that the EJCC has approved were being discussed, but have not yet been approved. In March 2016,HHS reported that the EJCC's Elder Justice Working Group continued to gather and discuss action steps and outcomes for the eight recommendations. We will monitor the EJCC's progress in agreeing upon outcomes and close the recommendation when agreement on outcomes is reported.
    Director: Czerwinski, Stanley J
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, develop and make publicly available an implementation schedule that includes performance targets, goal leaders who can be held accountable for each goal, and mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on results.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, it had not released to the public an implementation schedule that included key elements such as performance targets, mechanisms to monitor, evaluate, and report on progress made toward its stated priorities. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, clarify the roles and responsibilities for various streamlining initiatives and steps for decision making, in particular how COFAR will engage with relevant grant-making agency stakeholders and utilize agency resources.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, the document did not provide clarification on roles and responsibilities for its members. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Recommendation: The Director of OMB should, in collaboration with the members of COFAR, improve efforts to develop an effective two-way communication strategy that includes the grant recipient community, smaller grantmaking agencies that are not members of COFAR, and other entities involved with grants management policy.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In January 2017, GAO reported that although COFAR had released its updated priorities for Fiscal Years 2016 through 2017, the document did not provide a detailed communication strategy for the grant recipient community. For this reason, this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Caldwell, Stephen L
    Phone: (202)512-9610

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address long-standing challenges that continue to hinder regional preparedness efforts in the NCR, the FEMA Administrator should require that the Director of NCRC assist regional officials in developing measures to better assess the implementation of the NCR's strategic plan.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, FEMA officials reported that (1) efforts to update the NCR Homeland Security Strategic Plan had been delayed o provide more time to determine targets for each core capability, and in light of anticipated changes in the NCR homeland security and emergency management governance structure; (2) FEMA's 's Office of National Capital Region Coordination (ONCRC) held a kick-off meeting of a new NCR Strategic Plan Working Group in February 2017; and (3) the working group will continue development of the new plan with a revised estimated completion date of November 2017.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202)512-4431

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to provide states with greater flexibility to pursue a range of strategies to address the various factors contributing to motorcycle crashes and fatalities, Congress should consider allowing states to use the Motorcyclist Safety Grants for purposes beyond motorcyclist training and raising motorist awareness of motorcycles.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: No action has been taken on this matter to date. When GAO determines that Congress has taken action on it, GAO will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide the states with information that could better enable them to effectively address the factors that contribute to motorcycle crashes and fatalities, NHTSA should (1) as part of its expected comprehensive plan for motorcycle safety, identify research priorities that address these factors as well as gaps in knowledge about the effectiveness of state strategies, particularly those that it has identified as a high priority or promising. (2) in addition to setting these research priorities, conduct research on the following strategies that it has identified as a high priority or promising: (a) encouraging motorcyclists to increase their conspicuity, and (b) implementing a graduated-licensing model for motorcyclists.

    Agency: Department of Transportation: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOT concurs with our recommendation. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) plans to focus its motorcycle research program on issues that offer the greatest potential for safety improvement and will use research priorities identified in its upcoming Motorcycle Safety Program Plan to guide future research investments. In July 2014, NHTSA provided an update indicating that they planned to complete their Motorcycle Safety Program Plan by April 2015. They also indicated that they had not begun research on rider conspicuity or graduated licensing for motorcyclists. In August 2015, NHTSA provided additional information indicating that it had revised timeframes for developing its Motorcycle Safety Program Plan to Spring 2016. NHTSA also indicated that it plans to conduct research on encouraging motorcycle conspicuity as well as on graduated-licensing and expects to complete this additional research in 2016. In May 2016, NHTSA informed GAO that it had completed a draft of its Motorcycle Safety Program Plan and that it anticipated making the plan available by the end of 2016. NHTSA also indicated that it has extended its timeframe for completing a literature review that includes motorcycle conspicuity and licensing; it now anticipates completing that review in March, 2017. Additionally, NHTSA plans to begin a new research project in 2016 that will focus on identifying potential barriers to increasing motorcycle conspicuity.
    Director: Dillingham, Gerald L
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal investments effectively address the remaining airport noise problem and to more fully demonstrate the results of AIP noise grants, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FAA to establish a strategic noise reduction goal that aligns with the nature and extent of airport noise and targets the agency's noise grant program.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2013, FAA responded to GAO that it had conducted a review of its strategic goals related to noise and concluded that they were sufficiently robust. However, as noted in the report and in subsequent conversations with FAA officials as recently as 2016, FAA's strategic goal of reducing the population within a 65 Day-Night Average Sound Level (DNL) to less than 300,000 had no relationship with the noise grant program. Noise grants are for mitigating those people living within 65 DNL.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that federal investments effectively address the remaining airport noise problem and to more fully demonstrate the results of AIP noise grants, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FAA to establish performance measures to assess progress toward this goal that better demonstrate the results of the program and provide Congress and FAA's program managers with information to gauge progress and make programmatic decisions.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred in part to this recommendation. In August 2013, FAA responded to GAO that it had reviewed its noise grant performance measures and concluded that the performance measures and target levels remain valid, though acknowledged that emerging issues could eventually lead FAA to adjust its targets. However, as noted in the report and in subsequent conversations with FAA officials as recently as 2016, that there is insufficient performance information about the nature and extent of remaining airport noise exposure and the contribution of noise grants in mitigating the impact of that exposure. Specifically, FAA does not know how many residences, schools, or other public buildings are in significantly noise exposed areas or which of those have yet to benefit from noise insulation projects. Without this information, Congress and FAA program managers cannot make fully informed decisions about what the noise grant program can reasonably be expected to address in the future and the extent to which noise exposure remains a constraint on growth.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-4325

    8 open recommendations
    including 4 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, USDA noted that its Rural Business-Cooperative Service had implemented procedures to improve data collected on program performance, including procedures to validate data entered into its Guarantee Loan System. In addition, USDA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce?s Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for USDA to follow through on the initiatives described above.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) noted that it announced additional reporting requirements for grantees as part of its Fiscal Year 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs federal funding opportunity that are intended to improve program evaluation. EDA added that it plans to work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finalize the new survey forms needed to implement the new requirements with a goal of piloting them in fiscal year 2017. In addition, Commerce participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for Commerce to follow through on the initiatives described above.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, HUD noted that the department had completed its effort to clean up its Community Development Block Grant data and is working to resolve issues with grantees for which costs have been disallowed. HUD expects to resolve these issues by December 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should consistently collect information that would enable them to track the specific type of assistance programs provide and the entrepreneurs they serve and use this information to help administer their programs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, SBA noted that it continues to evaluate its entrepreneurial development programs through third-party evaluations and limited data collected from their resource partners and will use this information to guide program development. In addition, SBA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for SBA to follow through on the initiatives described above and collect information for the additional six programs identified in our report as lacking information.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, USDA noted that its Rural Business-Cooperative Service had implemented procedures to improve data collected on program performance, including procedures to validate data entered into its Guarantee Loan System. In addition, USDA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for USDA to follow through on the initiatives described above that are intended to improve the evaluation of programs that provide assistance to entrepreneurs.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, Commerce's Economic Development Administration (EDA) noted that it announced additional reporting requirements for grantees as part of its Fiscal Year 2017 Economic Development Assistance Programs federal funding opportunity that are intended to improve program evaluation. EDA added that it plans to work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to finalize the new survey forms needed to implement the new requirements with a goal of piloting them in fiscal year 2017. In addition, Commerce participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for Commerce to follow through on the initiatives described above and conduct evaluations of the three economic development programs that have not yet been assessed.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2017, HUD noted that the department had completed its effort to clean up its Community Development Block Grant data and is working to resolve issues with grantees for which costs have been disallowed. HUD expects to resolve these issues by December 2017.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of the Departments of Agriculture, Commerce, and Housing and Urban Development, and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct more program evaluations to better understand why programs have not met performance goals and their overall effectiveness.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In March 2017, SBA noted that it had taken a number of steps to build its program evaluation function, including (1) hiring its first lead program evaluator in August 2016 to manage new and coordinate ongoing agency program evaluations, (2) drafting a program evaluation framework that will support the agency's efforts to conduct, monitor, and implement findings from evaluations, and (3) creating a performance and evaluation community of practice that meets on a monthly basis to discuss program evaluation principles and address questions for the framework (e.g., data sharing, definitions, learning agendas). SBA expects to start new program evaluations in 2017. In addition, SBA participates in an OMB-led interagency working group convened to share best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance analysis. In March 2017, OMB noted that SBA and Commerce's Office of Performance and Risk Management plan to co-publish a report outlining several best practices in program evaluation, data sharing, and technical assistance. It will be important for SBA to follow through on the initiatives described above that are intended to improve the evaluation of programs that provide assistance to entrepreneurs.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help reduce the risk of duplication by strengthening DHS's administration and oversight of these programs, and to better identify and reduce the risk of duplication through improved data collection and coordination, the FEMA Administrator should take steps, when developing non disaster grant management system (ND Grants) and responding to the May 2011 FEMA report recommendations on data requirements, to ensure that FEMA collects project information with the level of detail needed to better position the agency to identify any potential unnecessary duplication within and across the four grant programs, weighing any additional costs of collecting these data.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Directorate of Emergency Preparedness and Response: Federal Emergency Management Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, FEMA had taken steps to address GAO's February 2012 recommendation, but actions were not complete. For example, in fiscal year 2014, FEMA modified its existing grants data system to capture more robust project-level data--such as project budget data--for the Homeland Security Grant Program, which includes the State Homeland Security Grant Program and the Urban Areas Security Initiative. However, FEMA stated that it will not be able to use ND grants to cross-check for redundant projects across all preparedness grant programs until project-based applications are deployed for all preparedness grant programs in the system. For example, Port Security Grant Program and Transit Security Grant Program applications are not housed in the legacy grants data system that was modified to collect more specific project data. To mitigate this issue, FEMA reported that its program officers manually cross-check for redundant projects across all preparedness grant programs. Further, grant program policies call for applicants to coordinate across all preparedness grant stakeholders to help ensure unity of effort and avoid redundant investment proposals. Although future upgrades over several years to ND Grants are planned to eliminate duplication during the application process, FEMA believes the most efficient use of resources is to use current legacy systems to identify duplication in the meantime. Using this interim approach to collect more specific project-level data during the grant application process should help FEMA strengthen the administration and oversight of its grant programs until FEMA implements its long-term solution to upgrade ND Grants. However, implementing ND Grants as previously planned would better position FEMA to identify potentially unnecessary duplication within and across grant programs, as ND Grants was designed to have greater project-level enhancement capability than the legacy system.
    Director: Gootnick, David B
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to strengthen its ability to collect, evaluate, and transmit reliable information to Congress, the Secretary of the Interior should disseminate guidelines to the affected jurisdictions that adequately address concepts essential to producing reliable impact estimates, and call for the affected jurisdictions to apply these guidelines when developing compact impact reports.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a January 13, 2012 letter, Interior provided a status update to GAO and the Congress on this recommendation. Interior stated that it generally concurred with the recommendation and that it would advise the governors of affected jurisdictions of possible guidelines to develop compact reports. In addition, Interior officials met with staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and GAO representatives on January 17, 2012 to discuss approaches to preparing this guidance. Interior targeted a completion date of September 15, 2012 for the guidance at that time. In March 2012, Interior met with three of the four governors of affected jurisdictions, Hawaii, the CNMI, and Guam. According to Interior, the governors reached the consensus that Hawaii would develop a template for developing guidelines by December 2012. Although the completion date was revised, such guidance was not prepared. Section 13 of S. 1237, as introduced June 27, 2013, would have required Interior to identify the amount of compact impact costs in affected jurisdictions for the purpose of permitting the amount of impact cost to be used as in-kind contributions for federal grants. In its statement at a July 11, 2013 Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee hearing on S. 1237, Interior stated that it "has urged the governors [of affected jurisdictions] to develop consistent standards of reporting among themselves, including the definition of FAS migrants, accurate accounting of migrant costs to the affected government, and benefits received by the affected jurisdiction from employment, taxation and consumption." but that it opposed the enactment of Section 13. On August 20, 2013, Interior sent letters to all four governors of affected jurisdictions stating that it was available to provide comments on any guidelines for measurement that the governors may choose to develop and present. Simultaneously, Interior sent a letter to GAO stating that the governing law, P.L. 108-188, does not give Interior authority to mandate either measurement processes or the reporting of impacts to the Congress. Therefore, Interior stated that it was unable to ensure that guidelines for reports to Congress are completed by the affected jurisdictions and that it can take no further action. However, our report found that, though the guidelines were not required under the law, without such guidelines, there were a number of weaknesses in affected jurisdictions' reporting of compact impacts to Interior from 2004 through 2010 related to accuracy, adequacy of documentation, and comprehensiveness. Interior prepared draft guidelines in late 2014, but these were not issued. In March 2016, Interior stated that OIA, in consultation with the leaders from the affected jurisdictions, would develop guidelines for measuring compact impact and that the guidelines would be completed in December 2016. In August 2016, Interior again stated to GAO that the guidelines would be completed by the end of the year, but they were not completed. In September 2017, Interior provided GAO with a draft template for recording costs but stated that, given new leadership at Interior and in the affected jurisdictions, more discussion would be needed before the template can be finalized. We continue to believe that providing more rigorous guidelines to the affected jurisdictions and promoting their use for compact impact reports would increase the likelihood that Interior can provide reliable information on compact impacts to Congress.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202)512-4010

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help resolve identified borrower noncompliance in a timely manner, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of RHS to implement enforcement mechanisms that can be tailored to the severity of the borrower noncompliance, such as the civil money penalty enforcement provision in its program regulations.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency continues to take actions to address this recommendation, but has not yet fully implemented it.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that requirements for tenant eligibility are met across the FLH portfolio, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of RHS to require its loan servicers to use the Systematic Alien Verification and Entitlements (SAVE) program administered by the Department of Homeland Security to verify tenant's residency status during supervisory reviews.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency has not implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of RHS to better utilize available data on demand for the FLH program--such as systematically reviewing local market analyses, further analyzing occupancy data on a statewide, regional, or national level, and retaining and analyzing application information--to help target available funding to areas of greatest need.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The agency continues to take actions to address this recommendation, but has not yet fully implemented it.