Reports & Testimonies

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

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

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

  • Browse Open Recommendations

    Explore priority recommendations by subject terms or browse by federal agency

    Search Open Recommendations

    Search for a specific priority recommendation by word or phrase



  • Governing on the go?

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

    See the November 10th Press Release


  • Have a Question about a Recommendation?

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

    Results:

    Subject Term: "Organizational culture"

    5 publications with a total of 10 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Michael E. Clements
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, the Chair should enhance or expand the responsibilities and authority of the COO or other official or office so they can help ensure that improvements to communication and collaboration across SEC are made. For instance, if the duties of the COO were expanded, the COO could establish liaisons in each mission-critical office and division for SEC employees to contact or develop procedures to help facilitate communication and collaboration among the mission-critical office and divisions.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    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 SEC address identified personnel management challenges, the Chair should develop and implement training for hiring specialists that is informed by a skills gap analysis.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Daniel Garcia-Diaz
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure sustained leadership commitment to and accountability for CFPB's efforts to promote a diverse, inclusive, and fair workplace, in coordination with representatives of CFPB's employee union, the Director should develop tools to collect more comprehensive employee feedback on the grievance complaint processes to understand and remedy factors that may reduce employee confidence in these processes.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CFPB had reached agreement with its employee union on a process to collect more comprehensive employee feedback on its grievance complaint processes, but CFPB had not yet implemented this new process. This new process will include a short survey that will be provided to employees who participate in the grievance process. A CFPB official said that CFPB will begin using this survey to collect feedback once it has determined the best point in the grievance process to distribute it.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

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

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, SEC created a workforce and succession plan consistent with Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance, but they do not include some key components of strategic workforce and succession planning identified by OPM and our previous work. For example, the plan lacks a comprehensive skills gap analysis, does not inform decision making about the structure of the workforce, and is not clearly linkd to its budget formulation.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to enhance SEC's ability to strategically hire and retain the appropriate number of staff with the requisite skill sets for today and in the future, the Chairman of SEC should direct the Office of the COO and OHR to incorporate OPM guidance as it develops its workforce and succession plans, by developing a formal action plan to identify and close competency gaps, and fill supervisory positions; and institute a fair and transparent process for identifying high-potential leaders from within the agency.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: SEC's workforce and succession plan finalized in July 2016 is consistent with some Office of Personnel Management (OPM) guidance, but lacks some key components of strategic workforce and succession planning. SEC's workforce plan is aligned with its strategic plans, references the goals outlined in those plans, and includes performance measures to monitor and evaluate SEC's progress towards its goals. SEC's workforce planing also involves relevant stakeholders, including division and office leadership, SEC University (SEC's lead office for training), and focus groups of SEC employees. However, SEC's workforce plan lacks a comprehensive skills gap analysis. For example, SEC's workforce plan did not include an assessment of the competency of 33 percent of its workforce, including mission-support staff, such as staff in the Office of Human Resources, and supervisors. Further, SEC's workforce plan does not inform decision making about the structure of the workforce and is not clearly linked to budget formulation. For example, the workforce plan does not identify the personnel costs of the current workforce, nor does it identify the number of employees SEC intends to hire and their associated costs. Finally, SEC's succession planning lacks information on workforce attrition and lacks a process for identifying future leaders.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to help enhance the credibility of its performance management system, the Chairman of SEC should direct the COO and OHR to conduct periodic validations (with staff input) of the performance management system and make changes, as appropriate, based on these validations.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2014, SEC decided to redesign its performance management system without formally assessing it. While SEC's policies state that the Office of Human Resources (OHR) is to perform an assessment of the system on an annual basis, OHR officials told us that SEC has not conducted a formal assessment of the performance management system because the agency is in the process of developing a new system. Since our 2013 report (GAO-13-621), SEC has not reviewed the effectiveness of its existing system and has had limited stakeholder involvement in the development of the new performance management system. In developing this new system, SEC did not assess the existing system to understand if the issues raised by employees were related to the system's design or its implementation.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to build on SEC's efforts to enhance intra-agency communication and collaboration, the Chairman should direct the COO to identify and implement incentives for all staff to support an environment of open communication and collaboration, such as setting formal expectations for its supervisors to foster such an environment, and recognizing and awarding exceptional teamwork efforts.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: While SEC has created some incentives to support communication and collaboration across divisions, as of December 2016, barriers to cross-divisional communication and collaboration still remain. For example, SEC has implemented some incentives and procedures for staff to communicate and collaborate, such as an annual agency-wide awards program that recognizes outstanding teams and a tracking system that facilitates collaboration on interdivisional memorandums. In addition, one division (the Division of Economic and Risk Analysis) created an electronic system that allows other divisions to request data it collects and another division (the Division of Enforcement) created formal liaisons that other divisions and offices can contact. However, incentives for staff to support an environment of open communication and collaboration are not present for all staff across SEC. SEC has added performance expectations for 53 percent of supervisors to encourage communication and collaboration, including promoting and maintaining an environment of cooperation and proactively sharing relevant information. But these expectations were not present for the remaining 47 percent of supervisors across divisions and occupations.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to build on SEC's efforts to enhance intra-agency communication and collaboration, the Chairman should direct the COO to explore communication and collaboration best practices and implement those that could benefit SEC.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 2016, SEC has not demonstrated the use of best practices to improve communication and collaboration within and across SEC divisions and offices. SEC officials told us that they reached out to officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to discuss how FDIC had obtained high survey scores related to communication and collaboration. This outreach resulted in the creation of SEC's "All Invested" initiative, which SEC described as an initiative to encourage collaboration and communication to help the agency achieve its mission and make SEC the best place in government to work. However, many of the supervisors and staff we spoke with told us that the "All Invested" initiative was more of a marketing campaign than a substantive change. In addition, SEC has established a number of working groups to improve communication and collaboration, but these working groups are often focused on specific topics and do not provide a means for divisions and offices to collaborate on the full range of their day-to-day work activities.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202)512-4859

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve NASA management and oversight of its spaceflight projects, and to improve the reliability of project EVM data, the NASA Administrator should direct the appropriate offices to modify the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5 to require projects to implement a formal surveillance program that: (1) Ensures anomalies in contractor-delivered and in-house monthly earned value management reports are identified and explained, and report periodically to the center and mission directorate's leadership on relevant trends in the number of unexplained anomalies. (2) Ensures consistent use of work breakdown structures (WBS) for both the EVM report and the schedule. (3) Ensures that lower level EVM data reconcile to project level EVM data using the same WBS structure. (4) Improves underlying schedules so that they are properly sequenced using predecessor and successor dependencies and are free of constraints to the extent practicable so that the EVM baseline is reliable.

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

    Comments: NASA partially agreed with this recommendation. NASA has implemented several initiatives related to EVM training tools and support material to enhance EVM implementation, but has not modified the NASA Procedural Requirements (NPR) 7120.5 to require projects to implement a formal surveillance program. In May 2017, officials reiterated NASA's position that they do not plan to implement a formal surveillance plan due to resource constraints. We continue to believe that implementing this recommendation for projects to implement a formal surveillance program would be beneficial and prevent anomalies in EVM data from occurring. Without implementing proper surveillance, projects may be utilizing unreliable EVM data in its analyses to inform its cost and schedule decision making.
    Director: Mccool, Thomas J
    Phone: (202)512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In developing legislation for a national reporting system for the biological laboratory community, Congress may wish to consider provisions for the agency it designates as responsible for the system to take into account the following in design and implementation: (1) including stakeholders in setting system goals; (2) assessing labs' organizational culture to guide design and implementation decisions; (3) making reporting voluntary, with open-reporting formats that allow workers to report events in their own words and that can be submitted by all workers in a variety of modes (Web or postal), with the option to report to either an internal or external entity; (4) incorporating strong reporter protections, data deidentification measures, and other incentives for reporting; (5) developing feedback mechanisms and an industry-level entity for disseminating safety data and safety recommendations across the lab community; and (6) ensuring ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the safety reporting system and safety culture.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: Congress has not taken action on this recommendation.