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: "Records management"

    10 publications with a total of 23 open recommendations
    Director: William B. Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help business disaster victims and resource partners better access information about the disaster loan process, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should integrate information resources such as the fact sheet, reference guide, and three-step process flier into its disaster loan assistance web portal and Partner Training Portal in a way that is more accessible to users.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the disaster loan assistance portal includes links to various loan-related resources and a link to SBA.gov, where users can access the SBA Disaster Loan Program Reference Guide and online learning center. We will continue to follow up with SBA on whether the agency plans to centrally integrate the links to loan-related resources into its disaster loan assistance web portal and Partner Training Portal, so resources can be more accessible to users.
    Recommendation: To help reduce confusion about the disaster loan process and the time frames applicants may experience, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should ensure the consistency of content across its disaster loan process resources by including in these written and online resources, as appropriate, the following: (1) the three-step process; (2) the types of documentation SBA may request and the general reasons why such information may be requested; and (3) estimates of loan processing time frames applicants might experience and external factors, such as the severity of a disaster, that may affect these time frames using, for example, estimates from its forecasting and related planning tools.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the agency has provided a consistent messaging about the timeframe for making approval decisions on disaster loan applications: SBA's goal is to make a decision on all home and business disaster loan applications within 2-3 weeks, and this loan approval timeframe also is referenced in other loan-related resources and media interviews. We will continue to follow up with SBA on whether the agency plans to (a) ensure informational content is consistent across written and online resources, (b) also include in written and online resources the types of documentation SBA may request and general reasons for the information requests, and (c) tailor the general 2-3 week loan decision timeframe to the each disaster, including the severity of the disaster and other factors that may affect the timeframe, by using the agency's forecasting and related planning tools.
    Recommendation: To further assist disaster business loan applicants, the Administrator of the Small Business Administration should define technical terminology related to financial statements and other finance terminology on the disaster business loan application forms, in both electronic and paper format. For example, in the online application portal, SBA could incorporate a glossary in the "help" feature. Additionally, SBA could include a glossary in the paper application, so that business applicants who apply by mail can access the definitions as well as the general reasons why such information may be requested.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA stated that the agency is developing a glossary of business financial terms to clearly define terminology used in SBA home and business disaster loan applications and required supporting financial documents. Once completed, SBA stated that it will make the glossary available through the agency's disaster loan assistance portal and the SBA.gov website. We will follow up with SBA once the agency completes the glossary of business financial terms.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.,
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the information it needs on the President's use of drawdown authority, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Defense Security Cooperation Agency to report more frequently to Congress on information outlined in Section 506(b)(2) of the Foreign Assistance Act, as amended, even if delivery of all the articles and services authorized has not been completed, or if the crisis is still ongoing.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Secretary of Defense agreed with this recommendation. In December 2016, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency provided 506 reports to Congress. As of April 2017, there were no additional uses of the 506 authority.
    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: Gerald L. Dillingham, Ph.D.
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If, in the next authorization for FAA, Congress chooses to mandate that FAA take actions to streamline and reform the agency, Congress may wish to consider requiring FAA to (1) track measures of and (2) report to Congress on the actual results of such efforts.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA's authorization expired at the end of Fiscal Year 2015. As of May 2017, Congress has passed several FAA authorization extensions that did not include any actions related to this matter. We will continue to monitor legislation, and when we determine what steps the Congress has taken regarding this matter, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better enable FAA to track, aggregate, and report on the results of its streamlining and reform initiatives, the Secretary of Transportation should direct FAA to develop a mechanism to capture the results of its efficiency initiatives in its planned database for process improvements. Measures of results might include, for example, cost savings, timeliness, or customer service metrics, which may be common to several types of process improvement efforts and therefore facilitate aggregation across improvements.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, FAA expanded its existing data repository to include results of the efficiency initiatives, but no realized results or benefits have yet been entered into the data repository. GAO will continue to monitor the status of this recommendation.
    Director: Cary B Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD to improve the overall management of shipping containers for current and future contingencies, and to more fully incorporate recommendations into its policy and guidance and to ensure that improvements to container management will be sustained for future contingencies, the Secretary of Defense should develop a comprehensive list of recommendations made by DOD agencies and other organizations, and make the information available for policymakers to incorporate, as appropriate, into new or existing container-management policy and guidance. DOD could use our work as a starting point for this assessment.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with our recommendation and requested that GAO provide a listing of the recommendations we identified during this review to use as a starting point for its assessment. After we provided the listing of 95 recommendations, DOD added an additional 7 recommendations DOD identified through an independent assessment from the Institute for Defense Analysis. DOD then reviewed each of the recommendations for Departmental-level policy and guidance implications. As a result, after we completed our review in 2014, the Department has been making improvements in container management. For example, according to a DOD official, the department is revising DOD Instruction 4500.57, "Transportation and Traffic Management" to include specific container management responsibilities for combatant commanders, provisions for use of intermodal containers during contingency operations, container management definitions, and policy on use of the Joint Container Management System. Additionally, the Campaign Plan for Global Distribution 9033 is being revised to require each geographic combatant command to publish a Theater Distribution Plan and provides a standardized template to promote uniformity. Finally, according to DOD officials, the Universal Services Contract for sealift includes provisions for container detention and buyouts that are more favorable to the Government in reducing detention costs. As of September 2017, DOD has made progress toward implementation. For example, the department revised DOD Instruction 4500.57 "Transportation and Traffic Management" in March 2017 and included specific container management responsibilities for combatant commanders, provisions for use of intermodal containers during contingency operations, container management definitions, and policy on use of the Joint Container Management System. Also, DOD updated the Universal Services Contract 8 in January 2016 with provisions such as lower container buyout costs that are more favorable to the government in reducing costs than the contract from the prior year. Currently, the department's draft global campaign plan that includes commanders' responsibilities for managing containers is awaiting final approval. GAO is awaiting additional information from DOD such as other provisions in the container management contract that will assist the government in reducing costs, and final approval of DOD's plan.
    Director: Brown, Orice Williams
    Phone: (202)512-5837

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve strategic planning, performance management, and program oversight within and related to NFIP, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to develop a comprehensive workforce plan according to PKEMRA that identifies agency staffing and skills requirements, addresses turnover and staff vacancies, and analyzes FEMA's use of contractors.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to FEMA officials, as of July 2016, FEMA is in the process of developing a Workforce Strategic Plan they say will contribute to organizational performance and mission by enabling FEMA to align the overall workforce with strategic priorities. FEMA expected to complete the plan by the first quarter of FY2017. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.
    Recommendation: To improve FEMA's policies, procedures, and systems for achieving NFIP's program goals, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to consider the costs and benefits of implementing an interim system for FEMA and updating its document management policies and procedures while waiting for DHS to implement an agencywide electronic document management system.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA officials stated that, as of July 2016, FEMA is working to pilot an Electronic Records Management System (ERMS). They said that they expected to have all email records in an electronic state by December 31, 2016, and all records in an electronic state by December 31, 2019. They said that they expect the end state in 2019 to meet the Presidential Directive and NARA guidelines. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.
    Recommendation: To improve FEMA's policies, procedures, and systems for achieving NFIP's program goals, the Secretary of DHS should direct the FEMA Administrator to establish timelines for and complete the development and implementation of FEMA's revised acquisition process, in line with the DHS Acquisition Directive 102-01, including a rollout process with staff training and a mechanism to better ensure that all acquisitions undergo the necessary reviews.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: FEMA officials stated that, as of July 2016, a Disaster Acquisitions Response Team (DART) was in place along with metrics in place to monitor the team's success. They said they had also awarded a contract to serve as a contract file repository and that previously scanned contract files would be uploaded by December 31, 2016. As of December 2016, FEMA officials said they were still working to implement this recommendation and agreed to provide us with an update of their progress.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-5594

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To understand the scope of the business nonfiler population, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should estimate the magnitude of business nonfiling among businesses registered with IRS, using data from its operational files to select cases for further investigation. Based on the results of this work IRS should develop a tax gap estimate for the impact of business nonfiling insofar as doing so is cost-effective.

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

    Comments: As of March 2017, IRS said it did not plan to develop a partial estimate of the business nonfiler rate, as we recommended in August 2010. IRS reported that funding would likely be unavailable for it to do so using operational data. According to IRS, its existing operational data on business nonfilers are sufficient. However, even a partial estimate could give IRS additional information that would be useful in its strategic planning and help it determine what priority it should place on this type of noncompliance.
    Recommendation: To monitor the performance of business nonfiler activities, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should set a deadline for developing data that can be used to measure the performance of the BMF CCNIP and its business nonfiler compliance activities overall.

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

    Comments: IRS has determined that it does not have the necessary data that could be used to measure its business nonfiler efforts across the agency and that it therefore cannot set a deadline for developing such data, as GAO recommended in August 2010. According to IRS, developing such data would be prohibitively costly. Rather, as of March 2017, IRS plans to continue to use the data at the operating division level. Without going through the process of developing performance data, IRS is unable to know what data would aid in monitoring and evaluating its business nonfiler efforts. Absent cross-agency performance data, IRS is unable to fully understand the outcomes of its business nonfiler efforts.
    Director: Brostek, Michael
    Phone: (202)512-9039

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve compliance with shareholder basis rules, Congress may wish to require S corporations to calculate and report shareholder's stock and debt basis as completely as possible. S corporations would report the calculation on the Schedule K-1 and send it to shareholders as well as IRS. If Congress judges that stock purchase price information that is currently only available to shareholders should not be transmitted to the S corporation due to privacy concerns, an alternative is to require that S corporations report less complete basis calculations using information already available to the S corporation.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, Congress had not enacted legislation to require S corporations--a federal business type that provides certain tax benefits like passing income and losses to shareholders' individual returns-- to calculate and report shareholder's stock and debt basis as completely as possible and report the calculation to shareholders and IRS, as GAO suggested in December 2009.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202)512-9377

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Finance Officer at the Commission's European Regional (ER) office should instruct and monitor approving officials to ensure that expenditure transactions are dated when goods and services are received and approved before payments are processed.

    Agency: American Battle Monuments Commission: European Regional Office
    Status: Open

    Comments: During our fiscal years 2009, 2010, and 2011 financial statement audits, we continued to find expenditure transactions being processed prior to the goods or services being received and approved for payment. During our fiscal year 2012 audit, the Commission informed us that since the transition to a new financial management system in August 2011, all receiving is conducted in the iProcurement system (part of the Oracle accounting system) and must be complete before an invoice is processed for payment in Oracle. Although we found that invoices were approved before payment, we continued to find instances where the invoices were not dated and/or signed when goods or invoices were received. During fiscal year 2017, the Commission informed us that they developed a related policy to address our recommendation. However, the Commission has not provided documentation or an explanation of the controls used by management for monitoring (i.e. evaluating or reviewing) the effective implementation of the procedures established related to this recommendation. Therefore, we will continue to follow up on this open recommendation with the Commission at a later date.
    Director: Clark, Cheryl E
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To address other issues that may exist in IRS's master files that affect penalty calculations, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct appropriate IRS officials to, in instances where programs are not functioning in accordance with the intent of the IRM, take appropriate action to correct the programs so that they function in accordance with the IRM.

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

    Comments: According to IRS, it had substantially completed its corrective actions to address 19 penalty programming issues it had identified from its internal assessment of penalty computation programs. However, as of September 30, 2016, IRS had not provided us with supporting documentation to validate that it completed the corrective actions. We will continue to evaluate IRS's actions to address this recommendation during our fiscal year 2017 financial statement audit.