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    Subject Term: "Program inventories"

    6 publications with a total of 22 open recommendations including 4 priority recommendations
    Director: James McTigue
    Phone: (202) 512-9110

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and communicate Field Collection program and case selection objectives, including the role of fairness, in clear and measurable terms sufficient for use in internal control.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and described actions it will take to address it, to include that the Small Business/Self-Employed Division (SB/SE) will develop fiscal year 2017 program objectives that align with the mission of SB/SE and that the Collection program will develop and document specific Field Collection and case selection activities that will support SB/SE objectives. However, it is not clear how these efforts will be fully responsive our recommendation to establish Field Collection (not division-level) program and case selection objectives sufficient for use in internal control. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by July 2017. We will update the status of IRS's implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of any documents IRS provides on actions taken.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and implement performance measures clearly linked to the Field Collection program and case selection objectives.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and outlined planned actions to address it. However, since it is not clear that IRS's planned actions to implement our first recommendation will result in Field Collection program and case selection objectives sufficient for internal control purposes, IRS's ability to address the related recommendation to establish performance measures may be limited. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by August 2017. We will update the status of IRS's implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of any documents IRS provides on actions taken.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should incorporate program and case selection objectives into existing risk management systems or use other approaches to identify and analyze potential risks to achieving those objectives so that Field Collection can establish risk tolerances and appropriate control procedures to address risks.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and outlined planned actions to address it. However, since it is not clear that IRS's planned actions to implement our first recommendation will result in Field Collection program and case selection objectives sufficient for internal control purposes, IRS's ability to address the related recommendation to assess program risks may be limited. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by July 2017. We will update the status of IRS's implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of any documents IRS provides on actions taken.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and communicate control procedures guidance for group managers to exercise professional judgment in the Field Collection program case selection process to achieve fairness and other program and collection case selection objectives.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and described actions it will take to address it, to include review of current procedures and guidance and making changes, if necessary. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by July 2017. We will update the status of IRS's implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of any documents IRS provides on actions taken.
    Recommendation: To ensure that Field Collection program case selection processes support IRS's and the Collection program's mission, including applying tax laws with integrity and fairness to all, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should develop, document, and implement procedures to periodically monitor and assess the design and operational effectiveness of both automated and manual control procedures for collection case selection to assure their continued effectiveness in achieving program objectives.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: IRS agreed with the recommendation and outlined planned actions to address it. However, since it is not clear that IRS's planned actions to implement our first recommendation will result in Field Collection program and case selection objectives sufficient for internal control purposes, IRS's ability to address the related recommendation to monitor control procedures may be limited. IRS said it planned to complete actions on this recommendation by July 2017. We will update the status of implementation of the recommendation after we complete review of documents IRS provides on the actions taken.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Performance Improvement Council and General Services Administration, should ensure the information presented on Performance.gov consistently complies with GPRAMA public reporting requirements for the website's content.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff informed us that they will be partnering with a vendor to redesign Performance.gov, and that they plan to launch the new site in February 2018, concurrent with the President's Budget for fiscal year 2019. OMB staff also told us they will ensure that the redesigned site includes content that meets public reporting requirements, and anticipate releasing updated agency reporting guidance in the fall of 2017 to help ensure agencies are prepared to report required data. We will continue to monitor the status of actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Performance Improvement Council and General Services Administration, should analyze and, where appropriate, implement usability test results to improve Performance.gov.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff informed us that they will be partnering with a vendor to redesign Performance.gov, and that they plan to launch the new site in February 2018, concurrent with the President's Budget for fiscal year 2019. According to OMB staff, results from previous usability tests of the website will be used to inform the redesign of the site to make it more user-friendly and accessible. We will continue to monitor the status of actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in consultation with the Performance Improvement Council and General Services Administration, should develop a strategic plan for the future of Performance.gov. Among other things, this plan should include: (A) the goals, objectives, and resources needed to consistently meet Digitalgov.gov and GPRAMA requirements; (B) a customer outreach plan that considers how (1) OMB informs users of changes in Performance.gov, (2) OMB uses social media as a method of communication, and (3) users access Performance.gov so that OMB could, as appropriate, deploy mobile applications to communicate effectively; and (C) a strategy to manage and archive the content and data on Performance.gov in accordance with National Archives and Records Administration guidance.

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

    Comments: In July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff informed us that they will be partnering with a vendor to redesign Performance.gov, and that they plan to launch the new site in February 2018, concurrent with the President's Budget for fiscal year 2019. OMB and PIC staff stated that the vendor will help them develop a strategic plan for Performance.gov. According to OMB staff, once selected, the new vendor will also be charged with developing a stakeholder outreach plan that will encompass diverse groups including Congress, federal agency managers and staff, and other interested groups. We will continue to monitor the status of actions to address this recommendation.
    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 stated that they expect to issue new guidance on the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act by the end of 2017. According to these staff, OMB expects that, within a year of issuing the new guidance, they will be able to move forward with plans to resume implementation of the federal program inventory. In October 2017, OMB staff told us they believe there are opportunities to leverage the DATA Act taxonomy in service to the goals of GPRAMA and they continue to work with their performance management colleagues on this effort. However, they said no formal progress has been made to identify programs for the purposes of DATA Act reporting.
    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 standardizing data elements and definitions, conducting interviews with key stakeholders and developing a set of recommendations for decision-making authority. In September 2016, OMB and Treasury established a Data Standards Committee (DSC) that is responsible for advising OMB and Treasury, and providing recommendations on DATA Act data standards to the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) -- the decision making body regarding DATA Act and other data standards. According to OMB staff, the DSC meets on a monthly basis, but has not yet provided recommendations to OMB or to the ESC. OMB staff told us in October 2017 that, in accordance with their broader data governance mandates and overall transparency efforts, they are reviewing opportunities to incorporate and leverage other mandates and existing governance structures. 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: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    8 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to collaborate with each other in defining and identifying programs that contribute to common outcomes.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they had not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continued to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA). OMB staff told us they will issue guidance to implement PMIAA by the end of 2017. They noted that a program inventory would help agencies meet PMIAA requirements such as conducting program portfolio reviews. Staff told us they cannot commit to an implementation date for the inventory updates because of methodological and timing challenges, but they anticipate making significant progress within a year of issuing the PMIAA guidance. We will continue to monitor progress.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, revise relevant guidance to provide a time frame for what constitutes "persistent over time" that agencies can use as a decision rule for whether to include short-term efforts as programs.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they had not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continued to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA). OMB staff told us they will issue guidance to implement PMIAA by the end of 2017. They noted that a program inventory would help agencies meet PMIAA requirements such as conducting program portfolio reviews. Staff told us they cannot commit to an implementation date for the inventory updates because of methodological and timing challenges, but they anticipate making significant progress within a year of issuing the PMIAA guidance. We will continue to monitor progress.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, define plans for when additional agencies will be required to develop program inventories.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they had not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continued to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA). OMB staff told us they will issue guidance to implement PMIAA by the end of 2017. They noted that a program inventory would help agencies meet PMIAA requirements such as conducting program portfolio reviews. Staff told us they cannot commit to an implementation date for the inventory updates because of methodological and timing challenges, but they anticipate making significant progress within a year of issuing the PMIAA guidance. We will continue to monitor progress.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory effort by designating tax expenditure as a program type in relevant guidance.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, OMB had not taken action to include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory, as GAO recommended in October 2014. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB to publish a list of all federal programs on a central, government-wide website. The federal program inventory is the primary tool for agencies to identify programs that contribute to their goals, according to OMB's guidance. By including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB could help ensure that agencies are properly identifying the contributions of tax expenditures to the achievement of their goals. Although OMB published an initial inventory covering the programs of 24 federal agencies in May 2013, OMB decided to postpone further development of the inventory in order to coordinate with the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In July 2015, GAO recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to merge DATA Act purposes with the production of a federal program inventory. In July 2017, OMB guidance and staff stated they are determining how best to implement the program inventory requirements in coordination with those of the DATA Act and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act. Without including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB is missing an important opportunity to increase the transparency of tax expenditures and the outcomes to which they contribute.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to better present a more coherent picture of all federal programs, include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory effort by developing, in coordination with the Secretary of the Treasury, a tax expenditure inventory that identifies each tax expenditure and provides a description of how the tax expenditure is defined, its purpose, and related performance and budget information.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, OMB had not taken action to include tax expenditures in the federal program inventory, as GAO recommended in October 2014. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires OMB to publish a list of all federal programs on a central, government-wide website. The federal program inventory is the primary tool for agencies to identify programs that contribute to their goals, according to OMB's guidance. By including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB could help ensure that agencies are properly identifying the contributions of tax expenditures to the achievement of their goals. Although OMB published an initial inventory covering the programs of 24 federal agencies in May 2013, OMB decided to postpone further development of the inventory in order to coordinate with the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). In July 2015, GAO recommended that OMB accelerate efforts to merge DATA Act purposes with the production of a federal program inventory. In July 2017, OMB guidance and staff stated they are determining how best to implement the program inventory requirements in coordination with those of the DATA Act and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act. Without including tax expenditures in the inventory, OMB is missing an important opportunity to increase the transparency of tax expenditures and the outcomes to which they contribute.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to consult with relevant congressional committees and stakeholders on their program definition approach and identified programs when developing or updating their inventories.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they had not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continued to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA). OMB staff told us they will issue guidance to implement PMIAA by the end of 2017. They noted that a program inventory would help agencies meet PMIAA requirements such as conducting program portfolio reviews. Staff told us they cannot commit to an implementation date for the inventory updates because of methodological and timing challenges, but they anticipate making significant progress within a year of issuing the PMIAA guidance. We will continue to monitor progress.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, revise relevant guidance to direct agencies to identify in their inventories the performance goal(s) to which each program contributes.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they had not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continued to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA). OMB staff told us they will issue guidance to implement PMIAA by the end of 2017. They noted that a program inventory would help agencies meet PMIAA requirements such as conducting program portfolio reviews. Staff told us they cannot commit to an implementation date for the inventory updates because of methodological and timing challenges, but they anticipate making significant progress within a year of issuing the PMIAA guidance. We will continue to monitor progress.
    Recommendation: To ensure the effective implementation of federal program inventory requirements and to make the inventories more useful, the Director of OMB should, to help ensure that the information agencies provide in their inventories is useful to federal decision makers and key stakeholders, and to provide greater transparency and ensure consistency in federal program funding and performance information, ensure, during OMB reviews of inventories, that agencies consistently identify, as applicable, the strategic goals, strategic objectives, agency priority goals, and cross-agency priority goals each program supports.

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

    Comments: As of July 2017, Office of Management and Budget (OMB) staff stated that they had not taken any actions in response to our recommendations related to the federal program inventory, as they continued to determine how best to implement inventory requirements in coordination with those of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) and the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act (PMIAA). OMB staff told us they will issue guidance to implement PMIAA by the end of 2017. They noted that a program inventory would help agencies meet PMIAA requirements such as conducting program portfolio reviews. Staff told us they cannot commit to an implementation date for the inventory updates because of methodological and timing challenges, but they anticipate making significant progress within a year of issuing the PMIAA guidance. We will continue to monitor progress.
    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: Aloise, Eugene E
    Phone: (202)512-6870

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Once the stewardship for the isotopes have been assigned, the Secretary of Energy should direct the head of the responsible office(s) to develop strategic plans that, among other things, systematically assess and document risks to managing the isotopes and supporting activities, such as not having control over the supply of these isotopes, and implement actions needed to mitigate them.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to the Isotope Program, it has assessed supply and demand for some key isotopes and is working with stakeholders to manage supply and demand of isotopes for which the program does not control the supply of. We will review the program's actions and update the status of this recommendation.