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    Subject Term: "Strategic goals"

    16 publications with a total of 52 open recommendations including 1 priority recommendation
    Director: Barbara Bovbjerg
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to develop a long-term facility plan that explicitly links to SSA's strategic goals for service delivery, and includes a strategy for consolidating or downsizing field offices in light of increasing use of and geographic variation in remote service delivery.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint, such as co-locating field and hearing offices and reducing warehouse space. SSA will also work within the existing Memorandum of Understanding to conduct a proof of concept on space sharing by employees who telework.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to reassess and, if needed, revise its field office space standards to ensure they provide sufficient flexibility to accommodate both unexpected growth in the demand for services and new service delivery technologies.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to ensure the Real Estate and Lease Tracking application has the capacity to accurately track the composition of SSA's office inventory over time.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency to develop a cost-effective approach to identifying the most common issues with online benefit claims that require staff follow-up with applicants, and use this information to inform improvements to the online claims process.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint.
    Recommendation: The Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should direct the agency for its alternative customer services approaches, including desktop icons and video services in third-party sites, to develop performance goals and collect performance data related to these goals.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA agreed with this recommendations and noted steps it plans to take to enable further reduction in its footprint, such as expanding video hearing capacity.
    Director: David Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that NNSA can better inform long-term planning and management decision making as well as to ensure that the Enhanced Surveillance Program complements NNSA's other efforts to assess the nuclear weapons stockpile, the NNSA Administrator should develop a long-term strategy for the Enhanced Surveillance Program that incorporates outcome-oriented strategic goals, addresses management challenges and identifies resources needed to achieve these goals, and develops and uses performance measures to track progress in achieving these goals.

    Agency: Department of Energy: National Nuclear Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: Fiscal year 2018 budget submission data indicates some new activities but not yet mention a strategy change.
    Director: Chris Currie
    Phone: (404) 679-1875

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: If DHS's proposed CBRNE program consolidation is approved by Congress, the Secretary of Homeland Security should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Policy to use, where appropriate, the key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in our previous work to help ensure that a CBRNE consolidated office benefits from lessons learned from other organizational transformations.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: We found that key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in previous GAO work could benefit the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if Congress approves the proposed CBRNE consolidation. As a result, we recommended that should Congress approve DHS's CBRNE consolidation plan, the department use key mergers and organizational transformation practices identified in previous GAO work. In November 2016, DHS stated that while Congress had yet to authorize DHS's CBRNE reorganization proposal, DHS remained committed to evaluating GAO's identified practices when developing an implementation plan. We will update the status of this recommendation as additional information is made available.
    Director: Melissa Emrey-Arras
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help address Education's strategic goal of providing superior customer service to borrowers, and to strengthen oversight of the Direct Loan program, the Secretary of Education should develop a minimum standard that specifies core call center operating hours to provide borrowers, including those on the West Coast, with improved access to servicers.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Education agreed to establish core hours in the requirements for servicers to help borrowers access live customer service representatives. Education also noted that borrowers can use interactive voice response and web technology to access information from their servicers during periods when live operators are not available. While these are additional tools for borrowers, they do not replace the need for access to live representatives, and, as we note in the report, Education's customer satisfaction surveys of borrowers in 2014 and 2015 raised concerns about the usefulness of servicers' automated voice response systems. Establishing core call center hours in servicer requirements, if implemented as Education described, would meet the intent of the recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help address Education's strategic goal of providing superior customer service to borrowers, and to strengthen oversight of the Direct Loan program, the Secretary of Education should ensure the new unified borrower complaint tracking system includes comprehensive and comparable information on the nature and status of borrower complaints made to both Education and servicers, to allow Education to track trends and better manage the program to effectively meet borrower needs.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education reported that it will conduct communication and awareness campaigns to ensure borrowers know of the existence and purpose of the feedback system, which includes comprehensive and comparable information on the nature and status of borrower complaints about servicers. One of the communication channels used will be through the servicers. In addition, the agency reported that it will establish a common borrower experience and common branding in the requirements for the ongoing student loan servicing solicitation by, among other things, requiring the creation of a single web portal clearly labeled as representing the agency. Through that system, all borrowers will be ale to access information, make payments, apply for benefits and manage their accounts. When implemented, this new platform, in conjunction with FSA's Feedback System, will collect complaint information at FSA comprehensively.
    Recommendation: To help address Education's strategic goal of providing superior customer service to borrowers, and to strengthen oversight of the Direct Loan program, the Secretary of Education should evaluate and make needed adjustments to Direct Loan servicer performance metrics and compensation to improve assessment, including using baseline data, and alignment with Federal Student Aid's strategic goals aimed at superior customer service and program integrity, and to ensure that the assignment of new loans to servicers takes program compliance into account.

    Agency: Department of Education
    Status: Open

    Comments: Education stated that it would evaluate existing and alternative performance metrics and compensation strategies as part of the ongoing student loan servicing procurement. The agency noted that the results of this evaluation, along with information gleaned form other market research conducted in the context of the procurement and proposals submitted by prospective vendors, will be reflected in future servicing contracts.
    Director: Heather Krause
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help enhance efforts to expand shared services and improve the management of the Administrative Services Franchise Fund (ASFF), the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to make pricing information, such as ranges of prices, for the ASFF's lines of business publicly available, as appropriate, to help potential customers and agency decision makers understand prices and different choices of services.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with the recommendation. According to FAA, representatives from FAA's Administrative Services Franchise Fund are serving on the Office of Management and Budget's Shared Services Governance Board--a decision-making body for government-wide shared services initiatives. The Board is working with the General Services Administration's Unified Shared Services Management office on the standardization of publicly available pricing information for the FAA fund and other funds across the government and the forum in which to publish such information. FAA expects to provide an update on how it is addressing this recommendation by November 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To help enhance efforts to expand shared services and improve the management of the ASFF, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FAA Administrator to make the ASFF's strategic goals and performance metrics publicly available to help potential customers and agency decision makers understand how the fund is performing on the services provided.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: FAA concurred with the recommendation. According to FAA, representatives from FAA's Administrative Services Franchise Fund are serving on the Office of Management and Budget's Shared Services Governance Board--a decision-making body for government-wide shared services initiatives. The Board is working with the General Services Administration's Unified Shared Services Management office on the standardization of performance metrics for shared service providers (including the FAA fund) and the forum on which to publically share such information. FAA expects to provide an update on how it is addressing this recommendation by November 30, 2017.
    Recommendation: To help enhance efforts to expand shared services and improve the management of the Treasury Franchise Fund (TFF), the Secretary of the Treasury should make pricing information, such as ranges of prices, for the Administrative Resource Center Information Technology Services and Shared Services Programs (SSP) lines of business publicly available, as appropriate, to help potential customers and agency decision makers understand prices and different choices of services.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury concurred with the recommendation. In March 2017, GAO contacted Treasury for a status update on how the recommendation is being addressed. We will update the status when the update is received.
    Recommendation: To help enhance efforts to expand shared services and improve the management of the TFF, the Secretary of the Treasury should develop a more complete set of performance metrics for the TFF's SSP line of business to help managers of the SSP line of business, current and potential customers, and agency decision makers monitor and oversee how the fund is performing on the services provided.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury concurred with the recommendation. In March 2017, GAO contacted Treasury for a status update on how the recommendation is being addressed. We will update the status when the update is received.
    Recommendation: To help enhance efforts to expand shared services and improve the management of the TFF, the Secretary of the Treasury should develop an operating reserve policy that documents all existing review processes that relate to management of the TFF's operating reserves. These documented policies should include information on how fund managers are to assess the operating reserves, including guidelines to evaluate, use, and maintain the operating reserves over time.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury concurred with the recommendation. In March 2017, GAO contacted Treasury for a status update on how the recommendation is being addressed. We will update the status when the update is received.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to establish time frames to complete actions that its Federal Voting Assistance Program has identified it will take to address challenges, and also to use these time frames to demonstrate progress for stakeholders, including through its statutorily required annual reporting.

    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: The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, through the Defense Human Resources Activity, should direct FVAP's Director to fully implement the six selected leading practices of federal strategic planning into the day-to-day operations of the program.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, through the Defense Human Resources Activity, should direct FVAP's Director to complete the development of a strategic plan that fully exhibits the six selected leading practices of federal strategic planning, including, but not limited to: (1) a statement of FVAP's revised mission and goals; (2) an identification of strategies that address management challenges and resources needed to achieve goals; (3) a description of leadership involvement and accountability; (4) a description of stakeholder involvement in the development of FVAP priorities; (5) a coordination strategy to communicate the program's mission and goals to other federal agencies; and (6) a description of performance measures, aligned with program goals that FVAP will use to track progress toward achieving goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve DOD's ability to report on and measure anticipated and actual savings from ECIP projects, and to provide guidance to inform further project selection, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (AT&L) to develop and implement guidance requiring that statutory notifications to congressional committees include (1) the anticipated return on investment for all projects, including new projects added to replace canceled projects and existing projects for which there is a significant change to the cost or scope of the project; and (2) information on the estimated energy or water savings, or renewable energy production, anticipated from proposed ECIP projects.

    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 improve DOD's ability to report on and measure anticipated and actual savings from ECIP projects, and to provide guidance to inform further project selection the Secretary of Defense should also direct the Under Secretary of Defense for AT&L to direct the components to include projected measurement and verification (M&V) costs--in the military construction proposal or another appropriate document--as they develop projects; in so doing, the Under Secretary might build on existing Navy guidance, as appropriate.

    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 improve DOD's ability to report on and measure anticipated and actual savings from ECIP projects, and to provide guidance to inform further project selection, the Secretary of Defense should provide the components with additional guidance on the range of options available when developing M&V plans that are appropriate for different project sizes and types; and how to scope ECIP projects to conform to available funding.

    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 improve DOD's ability to report on and measure anticipated and actual savings from ECIP projects, and to provide guidance to inform further project selection, the Secretary of Defense should review the strategic goals for the ECIP program and make any needed adjustments to reflect current DOD priorities.

    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 improve DOD's ability to report on and measure anticipated and actual savings from ECIP projects, and to provide guidance to inform further project selection, the Secretary of Defense should, after reviewing strategic goals and adjusting as needed, update installation energy management guidance and, as appropriate, annual ECIP guidance, to clarify (1) how the components-military services and defense agencies-should balance their ECIP portfolios among what DOD describes as traditional and game-changing projects to best achieve DOD's strategic vision for ECIP, (2) what constitutes a higher-return project that should be propose under alternative financing rather than ECIP, and (3) that managers proposing repair and minor construction projects should seek operation and maintenance rather than ECIP funds..

    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: 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: 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: David Gootnick
    Phone: (202) 512-3149

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve USAID's ability to measure progress in achieving a quantitative reading goal in any future education strategy, the Acting USAID Administrator should ensure that the future strategy includes targets that will allow USAID to monitor interim progress toward its goal in comparison with planned performance.

    Agency: United States Agency for International Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In written comments on the report, USAID agreed to implement GAO's recommendation. USAID told GAO in August 2015 that a new Education Strategy will continue to focus on primary grade reading through 2020. The current strategy was scheduled to end in December 2015. USAID noted that as it expands its body of knowledge surrounding achievements of current reading projects, it will be better able to set achievable project and country level targets and report interim progress toward the new strategy's aggregate primary grade reading goal. USAID announced on August 28, 2017 that it has extended the 2011-2015 Education Strategy until December 2017, to allow adequate time for development of a new strategy with "the full backing and ownership of the new Administration." This recommendation will be applicable once USAID establishes a new strategy with new targets. According to a USAID official, as of September 14, 2017, the current strategy remains extended through December 2017. We will continue to monitor this recommendation.
    Director: Zina D. Merritt
    Phone: (202) 512-5257

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help DOD increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its management of its business operations, and to enhance DOD's ability to achieve its business transformation efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Secretary of Defense, in his capacity as the CMO, to ensure that the DCMO document business transformation priorities and communicate these priorities to officials responsible for DOD's business functions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has developed an updated draft of its Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2018. Once this draft is signed and issued, we believe it will communicate the department's priorities for its business operations. DOD DCMO officials estimate that the plan will be signed and issued in October 2016.
    Recommendation: To help DOD increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its management of its business operations, and to enhance DOD's ability to achieve its business transformation efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Deputy Secretary of Defense, in his capacity as the CMO, to ensure that the DCMO oversee the development of a corrective action plan, in coordination with officials responsible for DOD business functions, that outlines the root causes for business transformation weaknesses and the solutions needed to address those weaknesses.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has developed an appendix in an updated draft of its Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2018 that is titled "Performance Action Plan," but we not yet reviewed this appendix, so cannot assess whether this would meet the intent of our recommendation that they develop a corrective action plan. DOD DCMO officials estimate that the plan, which includes this appendix, will be signed and issued in October 2016.
    Recommendation: To help DOD increase the efficiency and effectiveness of its management of its business operations, and to enhance DOD's ability to monitor the progress of its business transformation efforts, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Office of the DCMO to, in coordination with officials responsible for DOD's business functions, develop performance measures that reflect key attributes of successful performance measures, such as clarity, comprehensiveness, and linkage.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has developed an updated draft of its Agency Strategic Plan for Fiscal Years 2015-2018 that contains a set of performance measures that are more clear and comprehensive than the measures contained in previous strategic plans. This plan also demonstrates how the performances measures to link to strategic goals and objectives. DOD DCMO officials estimate that the plan will be signed and issued in October 2016.
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To more effectively fulfill its expanded role in providing a clearinghouse of information on available federal technology transfer opportunities, the Chair of FLC, in coordination with the other members of the Executive Board, should work collaboratively with agency and lab members to take steps to better communicate with potential customers during the design and implementation of FLC's clearinghouse initiatives, including conducting customer needs assessments, conducting customer testing of current and future web-based initiatives, and collecting customer feedback on all FLC initiatives to make the initiatives more useful.

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Recommendation: To more effectively fulfill its expanded role in providing a clearinghouse of information on available federal technology transfer opportunities, the Chair of FLC, in coordination with the other members of the Executive Board, once feedback is collected from potential customers, should work collaboratively with agency and lab members to use this feedback to improve FLC's initiatives to make them more useful to potential customers, including asking FLC members for additional or different information, as appropriate.

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Recommendation: To more effectively fulfill its expanded role in providing a clearinghouse of information on available federal technology transfer opportunities, the Chair of FLC, in coordination with the other members of the Executive Board, should work collaboratively with agency and lab members to develop performance goals and measures for FLC's clearinghouse initiatives and use the results to evaluate progress toward meeting FLC's goals on outreach and networking.

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Recommendation: To more effectively fulfill its expanded role in providing a clearinghouse of information on available federal technology transfer opportunities, the Chair of FLC, in coordination with the other members of the Executive Board, should report on FLC's progress in these efforts in its annual report to the President and Congress.

    Agency: Federal Laboratory Consortium for Technology Transfer
    Status: Open

    Comments: FLC has provided GAO with information on steps they are taking to address the recommendations in GAO-15-127. A number of these actions should be completed towards the end of 2016 after which we plan to request additional information from FLC.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-7968

    8 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: If IRS delays are continuing, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service should further revise the notices to provide more realistic response times based on the data and take other appropriate actions to ensure efficient use of IRS tax examiner resources. For example, IRS could choose to provide taxpayers who call IRS with a recorded message notifying them of delays in IRS responding and when to expected an IRS response.

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

    Comments: IRS revised the automated telephone message that taxpayers hear when they call but has not revised its notices. The new message provides taxpayers information on the correspondence audit workload and time frames and asks that they allow a certain number of days before calling to check on the status of their audit. However, IRS has yet to further revise notices to provide more realistic time frames. In July 2016, IRS officials said they were in the process of revising the notices in order to allow individual correspondence audit offices to enter a customized response date based on their respective inventory levels at the time notices are sent. As of March 2017, IRS officials said additional programming changes will delay implementation until July 2017.
    Recommendation: To clarify the desired results of the correspondence audit program and its linkages to IRS-wide activities, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service should establish formal program objectives.

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

    Comments: IRS correspondence audit program officials planned a working group to develop formal program objectives. In November 2016, IRS officials provided documents intended to define the program objectives, but the objectives were unclear. As of March 2017, officials said they had no planned date by which to clearly document the objectives, but said they expect to describe them in program guidance changes anticipated in the next 12 to 18 months.
    Recommendation: To clarify the desired results of the correspondence audit program and its linkages to IRS-wide activities, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service should ensure that the program measures reflect those objectives.

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

    Comments: IRS officials said that, among other actions, they plan to review and update program documentation and guidance as warranted to ensure a clear link between correspondence audit program objectives and related measures. IRS officials provided documentation in August 2016, but program measures could not be clearly linked to objectives because the objectives were not clear. As of March 2017, officials had no planned date by which to clearly document the program objectives and their links with program measures.
    Recommendation: To clarify the desired results of the correspondence audit program and its linkages to IRS-wide activities, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service should clearly link those measures with strategic IRS-wide goals on ensuring compliance in a cost-effective way while minimizing taxpayer burden.

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

    Comments: IRS officials said that, among other actions, they plan to review and update program documentation and guidance as warranted to ensure that program measures clearly link to IRS strategic goals. IRS officials provided documentation in August 2016, but measures for the program could not be clearly linked to either the program objectives or IRS goals because the objectives were not clear. As of March 2017, officials had no planned date by which to clearly document how the program measures link to the objectives and IRS strategic goals.
    Recommendation: To better inform decisions being made about the correspondence audit program, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service should document how the decisions are to be made using the performance information (including criteria and tolerances used).

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

    Comments: IRS officials agreed with the recommendation and said they would thoroughly document the program plan development process but did not refer to documenting how program decisions are to be made using performance information. In April 2016, officials provided documents describing current correspondence audit planning processes, but the documents lacked specifics on the decisions and performance information, criteria, and tolerances used. IRS officials said they would provide documentation on these specific details in Spring 2017.
    Recommendation: To better inform decisions being made about the correspondence audit program, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service should track and use other program data that have not been used to provide more complete performance information. Examples of data that could be tracked and used include how much of the recommended tax amounts is collected over time; taxpayer burden and experience such as how often audits are resolved in one contact, how often taxpayers correspond or call, and how long taxpayers wait for IRS to respond to their documents and for the audit to close; and costs beyond the direct audit time, such as the costs to answer taxpayer calls per audit, assess the recommended tax, and collect those tax assessments.

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

    Comments: IRS officials said they would evaluate the methodology used in several existing studies to determine the most productive use of collectability data and evaluate the feasibility of collecting and using additional data. In April 2016, officials provided information on researching and testing of a new audit planning method during fiscal year 2016, using costs and collection results data. In November 2016, IRS officials said they had implemented the planning method to consider collection results for fiscal year 2017 but had not yet provided supporting documentation on how the method has used the collection results or on the status of efforts to use other program data, such as whether or when IRS will use performance information on costs and taxpayer burden related to audits. IRS officials said they will provide the documentation in Spring 2017.
    Recommendation: To better ensure an effective investment of resources in the CEAP efforts, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service should clearly document the intended benefits of ongoing efforts to address identified problems, and the process for measuring and tracking actual benefits.

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

    Comments: IRS Correspondence audit program officials said they would document the expected benefits of ongoing changes by June 2016. We have since asked IRS officials to provide related documents. As of April 2017, we are awaiting documents.
    Recommendation: To better ensure an effective investment of resources in the CEAP efforts, the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service should develop a plan and timeline for implementing the CEAP contractor's recommendations on possible ways to improve the (a) selection of correspondence audit workload and (b) allocation of resources between providing telephone assistance and reviewing taxpayer correspondence to resolve audits or develop justifications for not implementing the recommendations.

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

    Comments: IRS officials agreed with the recommendation and said they would continue to pursue efforts with research functions to further improve workload selection and maximize resource usage. However, they did not refer to any plan or timeline for implementing contractor recommendations to improve the selection of correspondence audit workload and allocation of examiner resources, or develop justifications for not implementing those recommendations. In March 2017, officials confirmed that IRS does not intend to implement the contractor's recommendations or to evaluate them, for example, by developing justifications for not implementing them.
    Director: Anne-Marie Fennell
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure appropriate levels of employees' supervision and guidance for the workforces of USDA's service center agencies, consistent with OPM guidance, the Secretary of Agriculture, through the Chief Human Capital Officer, should revise departmental policy targeting a uniform supervisory ratio so that the service center agencies can identify appropriate supervisory ratios based on a documented analysis of their specific customer needs and workload distribution.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 15, 2016, USDA has not taken action on this recommendation. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Recommendation: To ensure appropriate levels of employees' supervision and guidance for the workforces of USDA's service center agencies, consistent with federal internal control standards, the Secretary of Agriculture, through the Chief Human Capital Officer, should communicate to the service center agencies the departmental guidance for calculating supervisory ratios and ensure its use.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 15, 2016, USDA has not taken action on this recommendation. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Recommendation: To help USDA's service center agencies effectively implement office closures and meet internal control standards, the Secretary should take action to amend USDA's policy on organizational changes to include such leading practices as presenting a business-case or cost-benefit analysis and using the change management practice of measuring progress toward stated goals.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to USDA the Department is in the process of revising its policy on organizational changes, but as of December 15, 2016, this revision is not yet finalized. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the use of buyout or early retirement incentives, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct its service center agencies, FSA and RD, to document clear links between their buyout and early retirement incentives and their reshaping or overall strategic goals.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 15, 2016, USDA has not taken action on this recommendation. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the use of buyout or early retirement incentives, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct its service center agencies, FSA, NRCS, and RD, to establish a system for identifying and evaluating relevant data on buyout and early retirement incentive recipients.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of December 15, 2016, USDA has not taken action on this recommendation. We will continue to monitor USDA's efforts.
    Director: Mihm, J Christopher
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: When such revisions are made, the Director of OMB should work with the Performance Improvement Council to test and implement these provisions.

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

    Comments: According to information provided by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Performance Improvement Council (PIC) staff in June 2015, although OMB revised its guidance as we recommended, it did not work with the PIC to test implementation of these provisions. Instead, they told us that both PIC and OMB staff ensure agencies are implementing these provisions of their guidance when reviewing agencies' agency priority goals (APG) quarterly update submissions. However, our analysis of agencies' APG updates in October 2016 found implementation of these provisions continues to be mixed. We will continue to monitor progress.
    Recommendation: In addition, as OMB works with agencies to enhance Performance.gov to include additional information about APGs, the Director of OMB should ensure that agencies adhere to OMB's guidance for website updates by providing a description of how input from congressional consultations was incorporated into each APG.

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

    Comments: In June 2015, OMB staff stated that they would focus agency attention on congressional consultations and publishing relevant input from those consultations during the development of the 2016-2017 agency priority goals (APG). OMB and agencies published information about the 2016-2017 APGs on Performance.gov in October 2015. However, our analysis of relevant sections of Performance.gov in October 2016 generally found that either agencies did not include information about congressional input or they had not updated Performance.gov to reflect the most recent round of stakeholder engagement. We will continue to monitor progress.
    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.