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    Subject Term: Census

    24 publications with a total of 59 open recommendations including 15 priority recommendations
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: As part of its annual reporting on the broadband market, FCC should solicit and report on the views of stakeholders and others on how well FCC's actions promote broadband competition. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: As part of its annual reporting on the broadband market, FCC should solicit and report on the views of stakeholders and others on how varying levels of broadband deployment affect broadband prices and service quality. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use the Bureau's evaluations before 2020 to determine the implications of in-office address canvassing on the cost and quality of address canvassing, and use this information to justify decisions related to its re-engineered address canvassing approach.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: Early in the next decennial cycle, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to plan and execute more flexible, and perhaps smaller, address canvassing test and evaluation activity needed to support key design decisions having significant effect on the cost and quality of the census.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use productivity measures that track the progress in completing in-office address canvassing workload and the effectiveness of in-office address canvassing in reducing fieldwork in order to make informed decisions on allocating resources to current and future address canvassing workload so that the operation is completed in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    4 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to determine the cause(s) for non-interviews experienced during the non-response follow-up operation and revise and test what, if any, changes need to be made to operational procedures, training, or both, including making contact with proxy respondents.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In the Bureau's March 2017 action plan, it reported that analysis of the 2016 Census Test data is underway and that the 2016 Census Test experiences and the ongoing 2016 Census Test data analysis will inform the Bureau's evolution of operational methods and development of revised training content and provided a target completion date of December 2018, following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test. Evaluation data and studies of the 2016 Census Test experience could provide insight on what operational procedures, training, business rules, or other circumstances resulted in the higher-than-expected number of non-interviews. Making changes as needed, if any, in advance of the 2018 End-to-End Test would provide an opportunity to test them and better ensure that high rates of non-interviews do not adversely affect 2020 Census data quality.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to revise and test operational procedures for accessing incomplete closed cases and revise and test training material to reflect when this flexibility to access incomplete closed cases should be used by the enumerator.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In the Bureau's March 2017 action plan, it reported that the Bureau had identified enhancements to methods to address this recommendation and would consider how procedures can provide flexibility, and how the enumerator training can evolve to communicate the availability of this flexibility, and when the capability should be leveraged. It reported that how the software solutions will reflect these enhancements will inform the development of the procedures and training used by enumerators for the 2018 Census End-to-End Census Test. It reported a target completion of December 2018 following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to revise and test operational procedures and relevant training materials for initial property manager visits to ensure procedures and training material are communicated to and understood by enumerators and their supervisors.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In the Bureau's March 2017 action plan, it reported that based on its 2016 Census Test experiences, it had identified modifications to the system capabilities and procedures for initial multiunit manager visits and that it would implement and further study these changes in future tests, including the 2018 End-to-End Census Test. It reported a target completion in December 2018, following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up (NRFU) operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to revise and test procedures on how to better leverage enumerator-collected information on the best time or day to conduct interviews, and ensure enumerators are properly trained on these procedures.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. In the Bureau's March 2017 action plan, it reported that as the Census Bureau develops enhancements to the procedures and training for enumerators, it will reflect on what it has learned from 2016 Census Test experiences as well as from recommendations such as this. It reported a target completion of December 2018, following completion and analyses of the nonresponse follow-up operation for the 2018 End-to-End Census Test.
    Director: Dan Bertoni
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure the agency has sufficient information about risks to SSI program integrity when making decisions about efforts to address them, the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration should conduct a risk assessment of the current manual process for connecting and adjusting claim records of SSI recipients who live in households with other SSI recipients, and, as appropriate, take steps to make cost-effective improvements to SSA's claims management system to address identified risks.

    Agency: Social Security Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SSA disagreed with this recommendation stating that current SSI program rules do not support connecting records of unrelated individuals living in multiple recipient households. SSA also noted that it does not have evidence from its fiscal year 2014 payment accuracy reviews that manual processing of married couple multiple recipient household claims led to payment errors. As such, the agency stated that it could not commit resources to address this recommendation at this time, but noted if a legislative proposal is put forth that affects unrelated multiple SSI recipient households, SSA will assess program policy and systems risks as part of its evaluation and planning. However, we continue to believe that the manual processing currently used to connect and adjust claim records of SSI recipients who live in households with other SSI recipients leaves the agency at risk. SSA has acknowledged that it has not assessed the extent to which manual processing leads to payment errors, and the data they provided us on fiscal year 2014 improper payments to married couple recipients does not address the full scope of the issues we identified. Specifically, field office staff reported several instances in which manual processing is used to connect and adjust claims records for multiple recipient households due to system limitations, and indicated that these manual adjustments increase the likelihood of erroneous payments. These manually processed claims are for households with multiple related recipients whose SSI benefits are currently inter-related under program rules, such as multiple child recipients who are siblings or individual recipients who marry another recipient. Without an assessment of the risks associated with the manual processing of these claims, SSA is unable to determine if additional adjustments to its system would be a cost-effective use of its resources.
    Director: Kathleen M. King
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve available data about the direct care workforce, the Acting Administrator of the Health Resources and Services Administration should take steps to produce projections of direct care workforce supply and demand and develop methods to address data limitations in order to do so.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services: Public Health Service: Health Resources and Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: HHS concurred with this recommendation, agreeing that developing projections of the direct care workforce is timely and important. Since the release of the report, HHS's Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) published a fact sheet presenting national demand projections for nursing assistants and home health aides. HRSA also reported awarding a contract to develop a projection model for the supply, demand, and distribution of long-term service and support providers. The agency expects reports from this model to be available in 2018.
    Director: Carol C. Harris
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    7 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to update the CEDCAP program office cost estimate to reflect the current status of the program as soon as appropriate information becomes available.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In May 2017, the Census Bureau provided summary documentation that included the fiscal year 2015 through 2021 estimated lifecycle costs for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) program; however, this information lacked the level of detail needed to determine whether the cost estimate reflects the current status of the program. In addition, in June 2017, the Bureau developed a draft version of the CEDCAP Cost Analysis Requirements Description (CARD), which included descriptions of technical and programmatic features of the program and is intended to serve as the basis for preparing the Program Office Estimate and the Independent Cost Estimate. However, as of August 2017, the CARD had not yet been finalized. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that updates to the status of risks are consistently documented for CEDCAP's Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control projects.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In August 2017, the Census Bureau provided risk management documentation, including a risk management plan and risk review board meeting minutes. However, this information did not include updated risk registers that documented risk status for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control projects. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: TTo ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that CEDCAP's Internet and Mobile Data Collection, Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control, and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects establish detailed risk mitigation plans on a consistent basis and that the Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects establish trigger events for all relevant risks.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In August 2017, the Census Bureau provided risk management documentation, including a risk management plan and risk review board meeting minutes. However, this documentation did not include detailed risk mitigation plans for risks related to the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) Internet and Mobile Data Collection, Survey (and Listing) Interview Operational Control, and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects. The Bureau's risk management documentation also did not include trigger events for all relevant risks for the Internet and Mobile Data Collection and Centralized Operational Analysis and Control projects. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to define, document, and implement a repeatable process to establish complete alignment between CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs by, for example, maintaining a single dependency schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. In August 2016, we reported that several issues can result from the lack of a single dependency schedule, including the need to manually identify activities, the inability to be dynamically responsive to change, and a limited ability to ensure that both the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) and 2020 Census program are planning and measuring their activities according to the same agreed upon timeframe. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not yet established a single dependency schedule to ensure complete alignment between the CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to establish a comprehensive and integrated list of all interdependent risks facing the CEDCAP and 2020 Census programs, and clearly identify roles and responsibilities for managing this list.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation, but has not yet taken steps to implement it. In August 2016, we reported that several issues can result from the lack of an integrated risk register, including inconsistencies in tracking and managing interdependent risks, redundant efforts to manage risks, and potentially conflicting risk mitigation efforts. As of August 2017, the Census Bureau had not yet developed an integrated risk register for the Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing (CEDCAP) and 2020 Census programs or documented the roles for managing it. Instead, Bureau officials stated that they flag risks in the risk register that affect both programs. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not provided evidence that relevant risks for both programs are flagged in the risk registers. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to identify when the 74 requirements related to redistricting data program and data products and dissemination will be tested.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In June 2017, Census Bureau officials stated that, as part of the 2018 End-to-End Census Test, program-level integration testing of the requirements related to the redistricting program and the data products and dissemination are planned to occur from April 3, 2018, to August 1, 2018. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not provided supporting documentation for its plans for program-level integration testing of the requirements related to the redistricting program and data products and dissemination. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver CEDCAP, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the Census Bureau to make developing a better understanding of and identifying requirements related to non-ID response validation a high and immediate priority, or consider alternatives to avoid late definition of such requirements.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce agreed with our recommendation and has taken initial steps to implement it. In April 2017, the Census Bureau documented high-level milestones related to implementing a fraud detection process in an initial effort to better understand non-ID response validation. However, as of August 2017, the Bureau had not finalized the fraud detection process or documented milestones for implementing the non-ID response validation process. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the Bureau produces a reliable cost estimate for the 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to take the following steps to meet the characteristics of a high-quality estimate: (1) Comprehensive--among other practices, ensure the estimate includes all life-cycle costs and documents all cost-influencing assumptions. (2) Well-documented--among other practices, ensure that its planned documentation plan captures the source data used; contains the calculations performed and the estimating methodologies used for each element; and describes step by step how the estimate was developed. (3) Accurate--among other practices, ensure the estimating technique for each cost element is used appropriately and that variances between planned and actual cost are documented, explained, and reviewed. (4) Credible--among other practices, ensure the estimate includes a sensitivity analysis, major cost elements are cross-checked to see whether results are similar, and an independent cost estimate is conducted to determine whether other estimating methods produce similar results.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should provide a cost estimate more current than the October 2015 estimate and ensure that the estimate is comprehensive, well-documented, accurate, and credible. In doing this the Bureau should consult the GAO's cost assessment guide (GAO-09-3SP) and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government (GAO-14-704G). High-quality estimates will: explicitly consider all life-cycle costs and assumptions, offer a clear step-by-step account of the methods and data sources used to compile the estimate, ensure the proper estimation techniques are used, reconcile any variances between actual and estimated costs, and allow cross-checking with independent cost estimates as verification of results. In August 2016, the Bureau laid out its action plan to implement this recommendation. The Bureau planned to develop a Cost Estimation Enhancement Plan that would mature the 2020 Census cost estimate and its associated processes via a series of 3-month sprints. According to the Bureau, the areas targeted for improvement were (I) Documentation, (2) Process, (3) Cost Estimate, and (4) Cost Integration. The Bureau's action plan reported the following deliverables: Incorporating the Decennial Census Management Division program work breakdown structure into the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (target completion was Q4 FY 2016); developing a formal basis of estimate document to address the cost elements, process flow, and calculations for the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (Q2 FY 2017); internal communication and training efforts to ensure these changes are widely shared and communicated (Q2 FY 2017); engaging with internal stakeholders to increase the amount of source and derivation documentation for estimates/model parameters currently based on expert judgment (Q4 FY 2016); developing a formal BOE document to address how 2020 Census program risk and uncertainty are dealt with in the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (Q2 FY 2017); and regularly comparing the results of the independent cost estimate conducted by the Office of Cost Estimation, Analysis and Assessment to the 2020 Census Cost Estimate and investigate/reconcile any significant differences (Q3 FY 2017). As of July 2017, we await this and other documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To further ensure the credibility of data used in cost estimation, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to establish clear guidance on when information for cost assumptions can and should be changed as well as the procedures for documenting such changes and traceable sources for information being used.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should implement processes for controlling and changing cost assumptions. These processes should include methods for evaluating the justification for any changes and documentation requirements that clearly show the information changed and the basis for the change. In August 2016, Bureau officials laid out their action plan to address this recommendation. The action plan described developing a Decennial Census Cost Estimation and Analysis Process and supporting policy to improve the maturity levels in this area and mentioned developing a draft internal communication and training plan for staff--target date is Q2 FY 2017. As of July 2017, we await this and other documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure Bureau and congressional confidence that the Bureau's budgeted contingencies are at appropriate levels, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to improve control over how risk and uncertainty are accounted for and communicated with the Bureau's decennial cost estimation process, such as by implementing and institutionalizing processes or methods for doing so with clear guidance.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should ensure that its budget for contingencies reflects an accurate accounting of risk and uncertainty. In doing this, the Bureau should improve controls over risk and uncertainty accounting, ensure that risk accounting informs any relevant budgets and cost estimates, and institutionalize these controls by providing clear methods for their use. In August 2016, the Bureau laid out its action plan to implement this recommendation, describing that it would ensure regular review of 2020 Census program risks that would have high cost impacts if they occur and ensure estimates of these impacts are accounted for and documented in each iteration of the life-cycle cost estimates--target date is Q2 FY 2017. As of July 2017, we await documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-6670

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve and measure the availability and adoption of high-speed Internet on tribal lands, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission should develop joint outreach and training efforts with USDA whenever feasible to help improve Internet availability and adoption on tribal lands.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, FCC indicated that it is taking steps to hold joint outreach and training efforts with USDA when feasible and FCC plans to document those efforts over the next year. GAO will continue to monitor the status of FCC's efforts.
    Recommendation: To help improve and measure the availability and adoption of high-speed Internet on tribal lands, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission should improve the reliability of FCC data related institutions that receive E-Rate funding by defining "tribal" on the program application.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of June 2017, FCC reiterated that it agrees with this recommendation and is working on developing a definition for "tribal" that it can use. FCC hopes to have the definition developed, approved, and put into use by Spring 2018.
    Recommendation: To help improve and measure the availability and adoption of high-speed Internet on tribal lands, the Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission should develop performance goals and measures to track progress on achieving its strategic objective of ensuring that all tribal schools and libraries have affordable access to modern broadband technologies.

    Agency: Federal Communications Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: FCC said that defining "tribal" is a necessary first step to tracking progress on ensuring that all tribal schools and libraries have affordable access to modern broadband technologies. FCC plans to have a definition of "tribal" in place by Spring 2018. Once the definition is in place, FCC said that it will start tracking progress using that definition.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help ensure the Bureau focuses its resources on those activities that show promise for substantially reducing enumeration cost, in advance of the 2016 Census Test and later tests, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to, ensure systematic capture of information about fieldwork cases that experience problems by including information in enumerator training about where to record the issues, who to contact, what details to include, and the importance of doing so.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce concurred with this recommendation. The Census Bureau informed us in December 2015 that no later than the end of December 2015, it would document how these matters have been addressed in the enumerator training (or in help screens on their mobile device) planned for the 2016 Census Test, and that it would use results and observations from that test to further refine such information for future tests and for the 2020 Census. The Bureau provided us with related training materials for the 2016 Test, yet we made similar observations during the test. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to identify what information from tests on a case-by-case basis it finds valuable to have from its enumerators, such as the incidence of specific technical problems with the survey instrument or mobile device and ensure that during tests enumerators and their first-line supervisors are made aware of the importance of recording such information and how to do so. As of July 2017, the Bureau is working to provide documentation that shows it has implemented this recommendation.
    Director: William B.Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve SBA's administration and oversight of the HUBZone program and reduce the risk that firms that no longer meet program eligibility criteria receive HUBZone contracts, the Administrator of SBA should establish a mechanism to better ensure that firms are notified of changes to HUBZone designations that may affect their participation in the program, such as ensuring that all certified firms and newly certified firms are signed up for the broadcast e-mail system or including more specific information in certification letters about how location in a redesignated area can affect their participation in the program

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA improved its notifications to newly certified firms but not to other certified firms. For example, SBA's certification letter to firms with principal offices in a redesignated area specifically states that the firm is in a redesignated area, explains the implications of the designation, and notes when the redesignated status will expire. However, we found in March 2016 that SBA had not yet implemented changes to better ensure that all currently certified firms would be notified of changes that could affect their program eligibility. It is important that all certified firms potentially affected by such changes receive information about the changes or are made aware in a timely fashion of any effects on their program eligibility. As of February 2017, SBA had begun to improve its notifications to all firms. According to SBA officials, the agency has started sending program notices to all the firms in its portfolio. They told us that for its most recent notice in February 2017, the agency copied all the e-mail addresses in its HUBZone database and placed them in the e-mail distribution system. According to SBA officials, SBA intends to repeat this effort with subsequent notices. We will continue to monitor SBA's implementation of this activity.
    Recommendation: To improve SBA's administration and oversight of the HUBZone program and reduce the risk that firms that no longer meet program eligibility criteria receive HUBZone contracts, the Administrator of SBA should conduct an assessment of the recertification process and implement additional controls, such as developing criteria and guidance on using a risk-based approach to requesting and verifying firm information, allowing firms to initiate the recertification process, and ensuring that sufficient staff will be dedicated to the effort so that a significant backlog in recertifications does not recur.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to this recommendation, SBA officials told us that they began automating the process to notify firms that were due for recertification. According to the officials, since September 2015, notification e-mails have been sent daily (compared with the former cycle of two times a year). Each firm due for recertification within the next 30 days would receive the notice. SBA sends a second e-mail to firms that have not responded within 45 days of the first notification. According to SBA officials, as of February 2017, this change has not yet eliminated the backlog. SBA officials informed GAO in May 2017 that they have developed risk-based guidance for conducting recertification reviews and requesting supporting documentation. According to SBA, any certified HUBZone small business concern that has received $1 million or more in HUBZone contract dollars since its initial certification (or its most recent recertification) must submit the following: (a) a list of all current employees, identifying the name of the employee, the employee's address, the number of hours worked per month, and the location where the employee performs his/her work; and (b) payroll documentation. SBA intends to complete the implementation of this policy by the third quarter of 2017.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver an Internet response option for the 2020 Decennial Census, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs to direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that the estimated costs associated with the Internet response option are updated to reflect significant changes in the program and to fully meet the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, the Census Bureau's updated cost estimate needs to reflect significant changes in the program as they relate to the Internet response option and fully meet the characteristics of a reliable cost estimate. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Bureau is better positioned to deliver an Internet response option for the 2020 Decennial Census, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs to direct the Director of the Census Bureau to ensure that the methodologies for answering the Internet response rate and IT infrastructure research questions are determined and documented in existing or future project plans in time to inform key design decisions.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. The Census Bureau has developed the methodologies for answering IT infrastructure research questions in its 2020 Census Enterprise Architecture and Infrastructure Transition Plan, which describes the Bureau's multi-year plan for evolving the IT infrastructure to support all 2020 Census operations. However, to fully implement this recommendation the Bureau needs to provide documentation that describes the methodology for determining the Internet response rate for the 2020 Census. We will continue to monitor and evaluate the Bureau's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Brian J. Lepore
    Phone: (202) 512-4523

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better enable NCA to meet its mission of providing reasonable access to burial options at veterans cemeteries, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs to use the capability of NCA's existing software to estimate the served and unserved veteran populations using census tract data.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: On Nov 12, 2014, VA provided an update on the actions taken in response to the recommendation contained in "VETERANS AFFAIRS: Data Needed to Help Improve Decisions Concerning Veterans' Access to Burial Options" (GAO-14-537) released to the Department, September 9, 2014. In its letter, VA noted that it non-concurred with this recommendation, and identified no actions being taken.
    Recommendation: To better enable NCA to meet its mission of providing reasonable access to burial options at veterans cemeteries, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs should direct the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs to develop and implement a plan to fully address all the elements required by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013, in VA's Rural Veteran Burial Access Strategy, including the estimated number and location of unserved veterans and a national map of cemeteries.

    Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
    Status: Open

    Comments: On Nov 12, 2014, VA provided an update on the progress it has made in implementing this recommendation, contained in "VETERANS AFFAIRS: Data Needed to Help Improve Decisions Concerning Veterans' Access to Burial Options" (GAO-14-537) released to the Department, September 9, 2014. VA stated that, as previously reported in its response to VA's Office of Inspector General recommendations, the National Cemetery Administration (NCA) is developing a methodology to identify Veterans living in rural areas. VA also stated that NCA was in the process of establishing a new database intended to enable analysis of Veteran demographics at the county, state, regional, and national levels, including identifying each county in the country as either being served (within the 75-mile service area) or unserved by a VA national or VA-funded state Veterans cemetery and the specific cemeteries that provide service to each served county. In its November 2014 response to GAO, VA stated that NCA had completed the development of the new database and was able to produce a preliminary national map. VA stated that NCA management and staff were in the process of validating the accuracy of the information in the database, and that NCA expected to complete that process by the end of the second quarter of FY 2015. After that point, VA stated that it believed that NCA would then be able to publish the national map and address the other remaining elements required by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2013.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    4 open recommendations
    including 3 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To help maintain a more thorough and insightful 2020 Census development schedule in order to better manage risks to a successful 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Undersecretary of Economic Affairs should direct the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the comprehensiveness of schedules, including ensuring that all relevant activities are included in the schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Bureau agreed with this recommendation and stated that it is reviewing and refining project schedules to ensure that they include the full scope of work needed to reach operational decision points for the 2020 Census. The 2020 Research and Planning Office currently has 55 decennial project schedules, consisting of more than 3,700 activities. Several project schedules were re-baselined and pushed into production in January 2014. Focused integration sessions occurred in late January and February 2014, resulting in revised schedules. The Bureau released its operational plan and other documentation in November 2015, and announced in June 2016 that it would finalize and release its 2020 Census schedule in July 2016. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to include within its integrated master activity schedule at lower levels the activities and milestones it has already identified as needed throughout the 2020 Census lifecycle. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help maintain a more thorough and insightful 2020 Census development schedule in order to better manage risks to a successful 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Undersecretary of Economic Affairs should direct the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the construction of schedules, including ensuring complete logic is in place to identify the preceding and subsequent activities as well as a critical path that can be used to make decisions.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Bureau agreed with this recommendation and stated that it has already begun maturing project schedules to ensure that the logical relationships between discrete schedules are put into place. Schedule integration sessions across projects and programs were held in late January 2014 and into February 2014 and periodically since then, where work is deconstructed into detailed schedules. As the Bureau continues to mature its schedule and scheduling process for the 2020 Census and related tests, its officials say they are taking care to ensure that logical linkages are in place within the schedule and that they are adding additional activities on a rolling basis. Bureau officials believe this ongoing work with the 2020 schedule will ensure they have a robust tool to help manage the 2020 program and make key decisions. The Bureau released its operational plan and other documentation in November 2015 and announced in June 2016 that it would finalize and release its 2020 Census schedule in July 2016. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to ensure linkage between activities and the estimated resources needed to complete them. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help maintain a more thorough and insightful 2020 Census development schedule in order to better manage risks to a successful 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Undersecretary of Economic Affairs should direct the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the credibility of schedules, including conducting a quantitative risk assessment.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Bureau agreed with this recommendation and stated that it has already begun maturing project schedules to ensure that the logical relationships between discrete schedules are put into place. Schedule integration sessions across projects and programs were held in late January 2014 and into February 2014 and periodically since then, where work is deconstructed into detailed schedules. As the Bureau continues to mature its schedule and scheduling process for the 2020 Census and related tests, its officials say they are taking care to ensure that logical linkages are in place within the schedule and that they are adding additional activities on a rolling basis. Bureau officials believe this ongoing work with the 2020 schedule will ensure they have a robust tool to help manage the 2020 program and make key decisions. The Bureau released its operational plan and other documentation in November 2015 and announced in June 2016 that it would finalize and release its 2020 Census schedule in July 2016. As part of the maturation process, the Bureau expects to conduct a quantitative risk assessment of decennial project schedules. In 2015, the Bureau provided us with a preliminary output from its risk analysis software as a demonstration of the type of analysis it is committed to, but more recently its officials said that they may not be able to take all the steps needed to satisfy this recommendation. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to conduct quantitative schedule risk analyses with the resulting schedule. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Director of the U.S. Census Bureau should initiate a robust workforce planning process for those working on schedules related to the Master Address File, including actions such as an analysis of skills needed, to identify and address gaps in scheduling skills.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Bureau of the Census
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Census Bureau agreed with this recommendation and states it is taking steps to improve its scheduling practices and to initiate a comprehensive workforce planning process for those working on decennial project schedules. Bureau officials state they are currently evaluating the skills needed for scheduling support of the 2020 Census and will take the appropriate steps to acquire and develop the appropriate mix of skill sets, including but not limited to developing certified scheduling staff, hiring expert contractors to assist with periodic training, and scheduling standards implementation. They also state that the Bureau is committed to continuing to strengthen the schedule management plan, practices, and methods in place for the 2020 Census. The Bureau has experienced turnover in the leadership of the team responsible for 2020 scheduling, and, as of July 2017, Bureau officials have said they are working to collect artifacts that may demonstrate how this recommendation was addressed.
    Director: King, Kathleen M
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure successful outreach efforts resulting in significant new enrollment, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Director of IHS to prepare for the increase in eligibility for expanded Medicaid and new coverage options, and the need for enrollment assistance and billing capacity, by realigning current resources and personnel to increase capacity to assist with these efforts.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, IHS has reported that it developed a business plan template to help maximize capacity building and enrollment activities at the local level in coordination with IHS Headquarters and Area Offices. The agency reported that it will monitor the overall implementation process through performance plan evaluations of local leadership by their respective Area Directors. Until we receive documentation of these efforts, this recommendation will remain open.
    Recommendation: To help ensure successful outreach efforts resulting in significant new enrollment, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to develop a plan to educate state Medicaid agencies about when coverage status information may be shared between states and IHS facilities, tribal facilities, and urban Indian health programs (I/T/U) facilities and tribes.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of January 2017, CMS officials reported that the agency has implemented a plan to educate state Medicaid agencies about when coverage status information may be shared between states and I/T/U facilities on a case by case basis because of variation in how this information is shared from state to state. Until we receive documentation of the plan and its implementation, this recommendation will remain open.
    Director: Mctigue Jr, James R
    Phone: (202) 512-7968

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of the Army and local communities to manage future base closures, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to issue, consistent with DOD guidance, guidance on specific levels of maintenance to be followed in the event of a base closure based on the probable reuse of the facilities.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In DOD's comments on our report, it stated that it concurred with our recommendation and that the Army agrees to publish property maintenance guidance prior to closing installations in the event of future base closures. In June 2016, DOD stated that the Department is prohibited by Congressional/statutory language to plan for or implement future BRAC execution.
    Recommendation: To improve the ability of DOD and the local communities to respond to future growth actions, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force to consider developing a procedure for collecting service members' physical addresses while stationed at an installation, annually updating this information, and sharing aggregate information with community representatives relevant for local planning decisions, such as additional population per zip code, consistent with privacy and force protection concerns.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation and stated that it agrees that information pertaining to the physical location of installation personnel helps affected communities plan for housing, schools, transportation and other off-post requirements in support of installations. It further stated that existing policy requires the military departments to provide planning information, including base personnel, to states and communities to support the establishment or expansion of a military base. In the event of future basing decisions affecting local communities, DOD stated that it will work with the military departments to assess and determine the best means to obtain, aggregate, and distribute this information to help ensure adequate planning information is made available. In June 2016, DOD stated that the Department is prohibited by Congressional/statutory language to plan for or implement future BRAC execution.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Army and the Air Force to consider creating or designating a civilian position at the installation level to be the focal point and provide continuity for community interaction for future growth installations and to consider expanding this position to all installations. This position may be a collateral duty.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially agreed with this recommendation. It stated that it agrees with the need for a designated position at the installation level to work with the community and will ensure this requirement is being met through current practices and in accordance with each military department's personnel system. In many of the growth impacted communities, installation officials serve as ex-officio members of the community's growth management organization and relevant installation staff, including those engaged with public works, housing, education, and land use planning, and coordinate as needed with their civilian community counterparts. In July 2015, DOD stated that in the event the Department of Defense proceeds with future realignments that could result in a reduced footprint, there are provisions for Base Transition Coordinators (BTCs) to be designated as a liaison with the affected community. In the event these future realignments result in an expanded footprint or personnel growth, the Department would consider this recommendation at that time. In June 2016, DOD stated that the Department is prohibited by Congressional/statutory language to plan for or implement future BRAC execution.
    Director: Scire, Mathew J
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that air ventilation systems in manufactured homes perform as specified and meet the HUD Code, HUD should develop an appropriate method to test and validate the performance of the ventilation system as part of the HUD certification process.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In March 2017, HUD stated that it has not developed a test to validate the performance of the whole-house ventilation specification. We continue to believe that developing such a test will better ensure that air ventilation systems in manufactured homes perform as specified and meet the HUD Code.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's process of organizational transformation, long-term planning, and strategic workforce planning for the 2020 Census, and thus better position the Bureau to carry out a cost-effective decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs who oversees the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to, in order to ensure prioritization and timely completion of all necessary research and testing efforts, as well as timely transition to later 2020 Census phases, develop and implement a long-term planning schedule that includes key milestones and deadlines, including (1) deadlines for decisions that directly affect activity in later 2020 Census phases; (2) a schedule for creating, revising, or updating governance, program management, and system engineering and architecture plans to be used in later 2020 Census phases beyond research and testing; and (3) expected times of delivery for Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards that 2020 Census planning would be expected to use.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. Bureau officials released an operational plan in November 2015, including a high-level timeline for much of the remaining activity, but final schedules of delivery for Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards are being revised and are not yet complete. In June 2016, officials announced that the Bureau would finalize its updated schedule in July 2016. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to finalize program management and other governance documents applicable to the current and later phases of the decennial lifecycle, as well as finalizing schedules for delivery of Bureau-wide enterprise tools, processes, and standards. As of July 2017, Bureau officials reported they were working to provide artifacts they believe may address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's process of organizational transformation, long-term planning, and strategic workforce planning for the 2020 Census, and thus better position the Bureau to carry out a cost-effective decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs who oversees the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to, in order to improve the Bureau's process for following up on Bureau and oversight agencies' recommendations to improve the 2020 Census, (1) assess the status of recommendation follow-up at regular intervals, such as every 12 months; and (2) periodically report on the status of recommendation follow-up--such as on the Bureau's intranet or Internet pages.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau assigns outstanding recommendations from GAO and others within the Bureau's knowledge management database to various leads, such as specific 2020 Census research and testing project teams. The Bureau regularly collates status updates on our open recommendations as well as the Office of Inspector General for reporting to department officials. The Bureau has begun quarterly meetings with us to discuss open GAO recommendations. When the status of its own internal recommendations -- such as from evaluations of its earlier tests -- is more visible inside and outside the Bureau, the Bureau's knowledge management will be better positioned to help the Bureau achieve goals of a cost-effective census. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to implement mechanisms to capture lessons learned from its ongoing research and testing experience for recommendations in its database, and periodically report on the status of all open recommendations. As of July 2017, the Bureau is actively collecting artifacts, but has not yet provided evidence of either regular or open reporting on the status of other recommendations, such as from its own prior evaluations, ongoing tests, or the National Academy of Sciences.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to maintain progress in maximizing the efficiency of existing data sources, and to improve the broader efficiency of the federal statistical system and improve communication among agencies and others, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Chief Statistician, should work with the ICSP, when OMB next updates guidance on agency survey and statistical information collection and dissemination methods, to include additional details on actions agencies can take to meet requirements to identify duplication, to consult with persons outside of the agency, and address other requirements as appropriate.

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

    Comments: OMB concurred with our recommendation. As of August 2017, the team is awaiting an update from the agency on the status of OMB's actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: In order to maintain progress in maximizing the efficiency of existing data sources, and to improve the broader efficiency of the federal statistical system and improve communication among agencies and others, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Chief Statistician, should work with the ICSP to create new methods or enhance existing methods to improve the dissemination of information and resources produced by interagency statistical committees. For example, such enhancements could include increasing the timeliness and availability of information on websites to better capture the full range of products and identify committee priorities.

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

    Comments: OMB concurred with our recommendation and in July 2014 reported that it plans to implement it by launching a new website for the Federal Committee on Statistical Methodology. The new website will be hosted by the General Services Administration and will give interagency statistical committees the ability to manage their own webpages and disseminate products. As of August 2017, the team is awaiting an update from the agency on the status of OMB's actions to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: In order to maintain progress in maximizing the efficiency of existing data sources, and to increase the reliability of the information presented on the Reginfo.gov website and in OMB's internal system, the Director of OMB, in consultation with the Chief Statistician, should work with the ICSP to implement quality-control procedures designed to identify and remedy any differences between cost and burden information provided on the website and in the related supporting statement documentation that underlies this information.

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

    Comments: OMB concurred with our recommendation. As of August 2017, the team is awaiting an update from OMB on the status of actions taken to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's ability to control costs for the 2020 decennial and balance cost and quality, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration, as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau, to finalize how the Bureau will apply cost as an evaluation criterion for choosing among design alternatives for 2020 and ensure that all criteria are transparent, well documented, and consistently applied before alternatives are eliminated.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. According to the Census Bureau, each research and testing (R&T) project team was to develop a study plan outlining the goal of the project, the expected outcome, and the methodology to be used to arrive at data to inform trade off analysis and decision-making. To help ensure efficient use of resources for 2020 R&T projects, and that the conclusions reached by the projects were sound and provide decision makers with reliable findings, the Bureau planned to establish internal Scientific and Methodological Review Panels. These panels were to evaluate research designs, provide critical feedback and guidance to the research teams and assess the validity of any findings, conclusions and recommendations. In October 2015 the Bureau released an operational plan that described at a high level how cost was a consideration, but it did not lay out the criteria to be used. As of July 2017, we are following up with Census officials to obtain evidence that cost is being used as an evaluation criterion when choosing among design alternatives.
    Recommendation: GAO previously recommended that the Secretary of Commerce direct the Bureau to establish guidance, policies, and procedures for cost estimation that would meet best practice criteria. To help ensure that the Bureau produces a reliable and high-quality cost estimate for the 2020 Census, the Bureau should finalize guidance, policies, and procedures for cost estimation in accordance with best practices prior to developing the Bureau's initial 2020 life cycle cost estimate.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Bureau of the Census
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. In October 2015, the Bureau announced an estimate of its 2020 Census life-cycle cost. In our June 30, 2016 report (GAO-16-628), we assessed the Bureau's guidance, policies, and procedures underlying that estimate. We found that the Bureau's cost estimate partially met the characteristics of two best practices (comprehensive and accurate) described in the GAO Cost Guide and minimally met the other two (well-documented and credible). In addition, best practices state that a risk and uncertainty analysis should be performed to determine the level of risk associated with the cost estimate. The Bureau carried out such an analysis only for a portion of estimated costs for fiscal years 2018 to 2020, covering $4.6 billion. This amounts to about 37 percent of the $12.5 billion total estimated life-cycle cost, and less than one-half of the total estimated cost of the Bureau to comply with best practices for cost estimation. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau needs to implement specific controls over its cost estimation process for the 2020 Census, such as guidance that documents who is responsible for what and when, and what information flows where and when. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are currently gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Director: Gootnick, David B
    Phone: (202) 512-3000

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

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In a January 13, 2012 letter, Interior provided a status update to GAO and the Congress on this recommendation. Interior stated that it generally concurred with the recommendation and that it would advise the governors of affected jurisdictions of possible guidelines to develop compact reports. In addition, Interior officials met with staff of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee and GAO representatives on January 17, 2012 to discuss approaches to preparing this guidance. Interior targeted a completion date of September 15, 2012 for the guidance at that time. In March 2012, Interior met with three of the four governors of affected jurisdictions, Hawaii, the CNMI, and Guam. According to Interior, the governors reached the consensus that Hawaii would develop a template for developing guidelines by December 2012. Although the completion date was revised, such guidance was not prepared. Section 13 of S. 1237, as introduced June 27, 2013, would have required Interior to identify the amount of compact impact costs in affected jurisdictions for the purpose of permitting the amount of impact cost to be used as in-kind contributions for federal grants. In its statement at a July 11, 2013 Senate Energy and Natural Resources committee hearing on S. 1237, Interior stated that it "has urged the governors [of affected jurisdictions] to develop consistent standards of reporting among themselves, including the definition of FAS migrants, accurate accounting of migrant costs to the affected government, and benefits received by the affected jurisdiction from employment, taxation and consumption." but that it opposed the enactment of Section 13. On August 20, 2013, Interior sent letters to all four governors of affected jurisdictions stating that it was available to provide comments on any guidelines for measurement that the governors may choose to develop and present. Simultaneously, Interior sent a letter to GAO stating that the governing law, P.L. 108-188, does not give Interior authority to mandate either measurement processes or the reporting of impacts to the Congress. Therefore, Interior stated that it was unable to ensure that guidelines for reports to Congress are completed by the affected jurisdictions and that it can take no further action. However, our report found that, though the guidelines were not required under the law, without such guidelines, there were a number of weaknesses in affected jurisdictions' reporting of compact impacts to Interior from 2004 through 2010 related to accuracy, adequacy of documentation, and comprehensiveness. Interior prepared draft guidelines in late 2014, but these were not issued. In March 2016, Interior stated that OIA, in consultation with the leaders from the affected jurisdictions, would develop guidelines for measuring compact impact and that the guidelines would be completed in December 2016. In August 2016, Interior again stated to GAO that the guidelines would be completed by the end of the year, but they were not completed. In September 2017, Interior provided GAO with a draft template for recording costs but stated that, given new leadership at Interior and in the affected jurisdictions, more discussion would be needed before the template can be finalized. We continue to believe that providing more rigorous guidelines to the affected jurisdictions and promoting their use for compact impact reports would increase the likelihood that Interior can provide reliable information on compact impacts to Congress.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    7 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use evaluation results, response rate, and other data to develop a predictive model that would inform decisions on how much and how best to allocate paid media funds for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During 2013, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessments of the 2010 communications campaign. The Bureau concluded that extra investment of advertising in certain markets increased awareness of the Census. During 2015, the Bureau conducted research and testing on activities to support planning for the 2020 communications campaign. The Bureau based its testing, in part, on evaluation results of paid media activities the 2010 integrated communications program. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the contractor will develop a paid media plan based on tests of advertising with target audiences and complete analysis of media buys. The contractor will develop an ad tracking system to help inform decisions on allocating paid media funds for 2020. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated action on this recommendation is due by December 31, 2017, and as of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in developing its approach for the 2020 Integrated Communications Program.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to develop mechanisms to increase coordination and communication between the partnership and local census office staff. Possible actions include offering more opportunities for joint training, establishing protocols for coordination, and more effectively leveraging the partnership contact database to better align partnership outreach activities with local needs.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau reported on the agency's assessment of the partnership program. According to the Bureau, the Regional Partnership is developing a strategy for the 2020 Census Partnership and Outreach Program. In September 2014, the Bureau's Path to the 2020 Census, identified the Partnership Program as one of the best methods for communicating the importance of response and states its intent to map out details about the Partnership Program in early 2016. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will collaborate with program areas, the Field Division, and regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are gathering artifacts that they believe may demonstrate progress with this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to improve the user-friendliness of the partnership database to help ensure more timely updates of contact information and enhance its use as a management tool.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program that highlighted user problems with the partnership database. One of the report's recommendations was to ensure ease of data entry for users of the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD). In 2014, the Bureau reported the agency is continuing to modifications to the Integrated Partner Contact Database (IPCD) system and discussing options for improving the efficiency and usability of the IPCD. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will work closely with the regional offices to implement the partnership program. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. Bureau officials have indicated that action on this recommendation is due by September 30, 2017. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau progress in improving the efficiency and usability of its partnership database.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve the Bureau's marketing/outreach efforts, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to ensure that promotional materials, including in-language materials for the partnership program, are available when partnership staff are first hired.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2011, the Bureau issued an assessment of the partnership program. One of the report's recommendations was to provide promotional materials that fit partner needs. During April 2014, Bureau reported its staff in the field and communications directorates have plans to review assessments, lessons learned reports and debriefings with key staff, stakeholders, and partners to inform an effective strategy for the development, production, and delivery of promotional materials, including non-English language materials, for the 2020 Census. In December 2015, the Census Bureau issued a draft Request for Proposal of the 2020 Integrated Communications Contract. According to the Request for Proposal, the Contractor will produce materials such as promotional items for partners to use in promoting awareness of the census. The Bureau awarded the contract in August 2016. As of July 2017, Bureau officials are attempting to identify and provide evidence that they met their April 1, 2017 deadline of implementing this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to assess visitation, response rate, and other applicable data on Be Counted/QAC locations and use that information to revise site selection guidance for 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During May 2012 the Bureau reported on its assessment of the Be Counted/ Questionnaire Assistance Center program. The assessment included information on the number of individuals counted and number of location established but did not identify response rates for hard-to enumerate groups. In April 2013, the Bureau reported on its assessment of coverage measurement issues related to hard-to-enumerate populations. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts such as Be Counted. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the factors that led to the staffing issues observed during SBE and take corrective actions to ensure more efficient SBE staffing levels in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In September 2012, the Bureau issued its assessment of the Service Based Enumeration Program. The assessment reported on the number of individuals counted and the complexities of this special enumeration activity. The assessment did not address the Bureau's approach to staffing this special enumeration activity. In its 2020 Census Operational Plan, issued in October 2015, the Bureau provided a high level overview of reengineered field operations plans and has not provided details on making decisions on special enumeration efforts. As of July 2017, we continue to monitor the Bureau's plans for special enumeration activities that target hard to enumerate groups, and Bureau officials are gathering artifacts to support implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help improve the effectiveness of the Bureau's outreach and enumeration efforts, especially for HTC populations, should they be used again in the 2020 Census, and to improve some of the Bureau's key efforts to enumerate HTC populations, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Under Secretary for Economic Affairs as well as the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to evaluate the extent to which each special enumeration activity improved the count of traditionally hard-to-enumerate groups and use the results to help inform decision making on spending for these programs in 2020.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In 2012, the Bureau reported on assessments of many 2010 special enumeration activities such as the Service-Based Enumeration and the Be Counted/Questionnaire Assistance Center Programs. These assessments revealed the number of persons counted and spending for the special enumeration activities. Separately, the Bureau issued results of the 2010 Census Coverage Measurement Program that described the level of coverage of various hard-to-enumerate populations generally without attributing coverage to specific enumeration activities. In 2015, the Bureau issued its 2020 Census Operational Plan outlining design changes for enumeration activities. According to the Bureau, the changes are designed to optimize self-response and use administrative records and third party data to reduce field work. However, the Bureau had not provided details of its plans for various special enumeration activities. In April 2017 Bureau officials provided us with evaluation results of its 2010 communication efforts and other documents related to ongoing efforts to reduce errors in the census. As of mid-July 2017, Bureau officials reported they were working to provide other artifacts they believe may demonstrate that recommendation has been addressed.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-2757

    1 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's use of its master schedule to manage the 2020 decennial census, the Secretary of Commerce should require the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to include estimates of the resources, such as labor, materials, and overhead costs, in the 2020 integrated schedule for each activity as the schedule is built, and prepare to carry out other steps as necessary to conduct systematic schedule risk analyses on the 2020 schedule.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: Commerce neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. The Bureau continues to refine its 2020 Census master schedule, which it recently announced it completed in July 2016. Bureau officials have periodically described their intent to link resources to activities within their schedules, but as of July 2016 had confirmed that it had not yet done so. The Bureau has provided us with copies of its schedule, but not yet satisfactory evidence of having completed such an analysis. We are beginning an audit of the Bureau's scheduling practices this summer and will review actions the Bureau may have taken to address this recommendation. As of July 2017, we have received initial documents as we begin this review.
    Director: Goldenkoff, Robert N
    Phone: (202)512-6794

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the Bureau's recruiting, hiring, and training of temporary field staff, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to modify recruiting and hiring tools, including the skills test and phone interview, to better differentiate applicants with the skills and competencies needed by crew leaders from those who would be better suited for other field positions.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: During April 2011, the Bureau reported on actions taken to modify recruiting and hiring tools. As of May 2014, the Bureau had drafted its 2020 Workforce Action Plan that will inform its decisions on managing human capital for 2020. The plan is expected to inform a variety of hiring and recruiting activities, including conducting a skills analysis for research and testing projects. We met with Bureau officials in August 2016 to discuss efforts they may have used in the 2016 Census Test in response to this recommendation. We discussed the status of this recommendation with Bureau officials in July 2017, and we await supporting documentation on possible actions taken.
    Director: Kingsbury, Nancy R
    Phone: (202)512-2700

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help correct undercounts, eliminate conceptual problems, and where possible, fill gaps for information on immigration flow, the Commissioner of INS should: (1) evaluate and, where feasible, improve data on flow; and (2) utilize an effective information typology (either the one put forward in table 2.1 of this report or an alternative designed by INS) to clearly distinguish different demographic concepts and to determine which statistics can fairly be compared to others.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security: Office of the Secretary
    Status: Open

    Comments: On September 5, 2017, GAO called the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Immigration Statistics, and discussed this open recommendation. The Deputy Assistant Secretary said that in response to the February 6, 2017, e-mail and a brief personal discussion with GAO during a Migration Policy Institute conference in August 2017, he had assigned a staff member to complete work on the typology, but that the staff member was one of several who were temporarily reassigned to work in Houston as a consequence of Hurricane Harvey, and for that reason work on the typology would be delayed. He said DHS would like to have this typology completed and published before the end of 2017, but could not guarantee that, and said that it would be completed. On February 6, 2017, GAO sent an e-mail to the Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Immigration Statistics at DHS, which included a PDF of the typology GAO created, as well as a PDF of the published report. GAO followed up with a telephone call to the Deputy Assistant Secretary on February 24, 2017, and noted the former Director of the Office of Immigration Statistics had been working on adding some categories to the typology and planned on completing those and publishing it. The Deputy Assistant Secretary said he agreed that doing the typology and publishing it is important, and that he would be addressing it in the near future. On June 1, 2016, the Special Assistant for the Office of Policy at the Department of Homeland Security told GAO that it has initiated an examination of this recommendation to determine how it might be closed. When the typology is published and utilized, this recommendation will be closed.