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    Results:

    Subject Term: Consultants

    9 publications with a total of 22 open recommendations
    Director: Michael Clements
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Chief Investment Officer of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service should fully implement key practices to increase opportunities for MWO asset managers as part of its selection processes. Specifically, the Chief Investment Officer should complete actions related to top leadership commitment and removing potential barriers. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of Defense: Army and Air Force Exchange Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Chief Investment Officer of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board should use key practices as appropriate to increase opportunities for MWO asset managers if and when implementing its mutual fund window platform. Specifically, the Chief Investment Officer should take actions to demonstrate top leadership commitment, remove potential barriers, conduct outreach to MWO firms, and communicate its priorities and expectations for an inclusive selection process to its staff and consultants if and when it begins to search for a mutual fund window platform. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Chief Investment Officer of the Navy Exchange Service Command should fully implement key practices to increase opportunities for MWO asset managers as part of its selection processes. Specifically, the Chief Investment Officer should take actions to demonstrate top leadership commitment, and to the extent that staff and resources are a constraint, should direct its consultant to conduct outreach to MWO firms and communicate its priorities and expectations for an inclusive selection process by requesting its consultant conduct more inclusive asset manager searches specifically for the Navy Exchange Service Command. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Navy Exchange Service Command
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Chief Investment Officer of the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirement System should fully implement key practices to increase opportunities for MWO asset managers as part of its selection processes. Specifically, the Chief Investment Officer should take actions to demonstrate top leadership commitment, and to the extent that staff and resources are a constraint, should direct its consultant to conduct outreach to MWO firms and communicate its priorities and expectations for an inclusive selection process by requesting its consultant conduct more inclusive asset manager searches specifically for the Tennessee Valley Authority Retirement System. (Recommendation 4)

    Agency: Tennessee Valley Authority: Retirement System
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure HHS has reliable data on SGEs not serving on federal boards, the Secretary of HHS should take steps to improve the reliability of data on SGEs not serving on boards. For example, the agency could reconcile human capital data with general counsel and ethics office data, or issue clarifying guidance to human capital staff on appropriately identifying SGEs in human capital databases.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, HHS submitted its action plan to address GAO's recommendations. HHS stated the agency is currently reviewing its internal policies and procedures related to the hiring of special government employees not serving on boards to identify policy options that might improve data reliability.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report consistent and reliable data, the Director of OGE should determine (e.g., through a survey of Designated Agency Ethics Officials and/or by analyzing agency data) whether other executive branch agencies are experiencing data challenges similar to HHS, State, and NRC. If they are, the Director should take steps to help the agencies strengthen their data.

    Agency: Office of Government Ethics
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, OGE submitted its action plan to address GAO's recommendations. OGE reported having a number of actions underway. OGE stated the agency is surveying agency ethics officials to determine whether executive branch agencies are experiencing data challenges related to special government employees not serving on boards. According to OGE, the agency plans to evaluate what steps may help agencies strengthen their data if the survey results show agencies are experiencing data challenges. OGE reported that, in consultation with OPM, the agency proposed new regulations that would improve coordination between agency human resource officials and agency ethics officials by requiring agency human resource officials to provide ethics officials with prompt notification of the appointment of all financial disclosure report filers, including special government employees. OGE also reported expanding the agency's ongoing review of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in light of GAO's recommendation for HHS to take steps to improve the reliability of data on SGEs not serving on boards. OGE plans to evaluate the mechanisms HHS has in place for tracking special government employees not serving on boards and may offer recommendations for improving them.
    Director: Steve D. Morris
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To strengthen USDA's ability to better manage and monitor the progress of the Blueprint, including efforts to streamline and improve administrative services, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to develop a complete list identifying all of the Blueprint efforts under way and document key information needed to monitor their progress, such as status of implementation, time frames for completion, and related performance measures.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To strengthen USDA's ability to better manage and monitor the progress of the Blueprint, including efforts to streamline and improve administrative services, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to reexamine the adequacy of the staff and budget resources committed to the day-to-day management of the Blueprint, and further leverage existing departmental resources as needed.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to document the methodologies used to calculate any savings claimed for the Blueprint effort to ensure any such estimate is based on quality information.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief Financial Officer to develop a cost-effective method, using existing data systems, to collect and track USDA's spending on administrative services to identify baseline spending and target areas for future cost savings.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve USDA's efforts to identify and track the benefits of the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to systematically identify and track nonfinancial benefits from USDA's Blueprint efforts to better gauge the Blueprint's progress and more fully report its results.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enhance USDA's efforts to share lessons learned from the Blueprint, the Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Assistant Secretary for Administration to maintain and promote existing web-based collaboration tools, including keeping information in these tools current, for agencies and staff offices to report their experiences and lessons learned from their Blueprint efforts to help strengthen internal information sharing and inform future efforts.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of March 2017, we have requested an update from the coordinator for USDA's Blueprint for Stronger Service on USDA's actions, if any, to implement this recommendation.
    Director: J. Lawrence Malenich
    Phone: (202) 512-9399

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Foundation's Executive Director should update the Foundation's draft written policies and procedures over its contracting practices to include all key internal control activities, issue them in final form, and establish a date by which these actions will be completed.

    Agency: Morris K. Udall and Stewart L. Udall Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Foundation concurred with our recommendation and stated that it will implement the recommended actions. In addition, the Foundation stated that our recommendations will be incorporated in the Foundation's risk assessment documentation, established as a priority, and included in the Foundation's fiscal year 2016 Corrective Action Plan. As of July 2017, the Foundation has not implemented corrective actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve implementation and oversight of the MODA program, the Secretary of Defense should consider providing additional performance information to Congress on the extent to which DOD is achieving its advisor assignments and program expansion relative to its goals.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, DOD said that the MoDA program drafted a performance management framework which will establish program goals, objectives, and performance indicators to assess progress and measure results. However, as of October 2017, DOD had not provided evidence that the framework had been implemented.
    Director: Charles Jeszeck
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal regulators have better information about lump sum windows and to better ensure that participants have ready access to key information they need to make a decision when presented with a lump sum offer, the Department of Labor should require plan sponsors to notify DOL at the time they implement a lump sum window offer, including the number and category of participants being extended the offer (e.g., separated vested; retiree) as well as examples of the materials provided to them.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor (DOL) agreed that this type of information may be helpful in determining the extent to which lump sum window offers are made, as well as the types of disclosures the participants receive. However, DOL reported that it has not identified authority under ERISA for it to impose such a requirement on plan sponsors either before or shortly after the plan offers the lump sum window. The agency states that ERISA expressly provides specific reporting and disclosure requirements. These include various filings, such as annual financial reports, reports upon plan termination, and reports upon making certain transfers of pension plan assets to health benefit accounts. The agency believes ERISA does not require plans to notify them regarding the benefit distribution options they offer or changes in those options, and does not read the broad rulemaking authority in ERISA in Section 505 (general regulations) and Section 110 (pension reporting and disclosure) as authorizing EBSA to establish the notice filing requirement GAO recommended. The agency also commented that ERISA expressly requires that most pension plans file a Form 5500 annual report with the statute specifying the required contents of this annual report in some detail and requiring ?such other financial and actuarial information as the Secretary may find necessary or appropriate.? Although the agency noted it could, by regulation, require reporting on lump sum window offers on the Form 5500, there would be a substantial time lag because ERISA by statute establishes the reporting cycle for the Form 5500 -- the report is not due until 210 days (7 months) after the plan year closes (e.g., for calendar year plans, July 31st of the following year). The agency recognizes that this might not be responsive to the recommendation, which appears to envision a notification system that is relatively contemporaneous with the lump sum window being offered to participants and beneficiaries.
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal regulators have better information about lump sum windows and to better ensure that participants have ready access to key information they need to make a decision when presented with a lump sum offer, the Department of Labor should coordinate with the Internal Revenue Service and the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) to clarify the guidance regarding the information sponsors should provide to participants when extending lump sum window offers and place the guidance on the agency's website. Guidance should include clear and understandable presentations of information, such as the relative value of the lump sum, the role and level of protections provided by PBGC, and the positive and negative ramifications of accepting the lump sum. Such guidance could also include promising practices for information materials from plan sponsors which are particularly effective in facilitating informed participant decision-making.

    Agency: Department of Labor
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Labor agreed with this recommendation, noting it is important to coordinate with the Treasury Department/IRS and PBGC to clarify the guidance regarding the information sponsors and other plan fiduciaries should provide to participants and beneficiaries when extending lump sum window offers. In 2016, the agency noted that the manner of publishing that guidance would be part of that coordination process. They may consider some formal public request for input (such as publishing a Request for Information in the Federal Register) and focus group or other field testing work. In addition, the agency noted that the 2015 ERISA Advisory Council announced that one of its projects this year concerns how to give participants effective notices and disclosures concerning lump sum window offers, including possible development of model participant notices. The 2015 Council developed recommendations and model notices on lump sum window offers in "pension risk transfer transactions," and suggested that DOL make the Model Notices available on its web site to plan sponsors and participant advocates and that plan sponsors use the Model Notices when engaging in risk transfer transactions. Similar to other model communications developed by the 2015 Council, the agency believes the model notice could be further enhanced if subjected to broader public input from, for example, plan sponsors, participant advocates, communications experts, and academics. Subject to the limits on its authority in this area and resource constraints. They are considering efforts to obtain public input on the Council's recommendations and model notice. They also intend to contact the Treasury Department/IRS and PBGC to discuss the Council's recommendations.
    Recommendation: To provide participants with useful information and to provide for lump sums that are based on up-to-date assumptions, Treasury should review its regulations governing the information contained in relative value statements to ensure these statements provide a meaningful comparison of all benefit options, especially in instances where the loss of certain additional plan benefits may not be disclosed.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury generally agreed with this recommendation but did not provide specific comments on plans to address it.
    Recommendation: To provide participants with useful information and to provide for lump sums that are based on up-to-date assumptions, Treasury should review the applicability and appropriateness of allowing sponsors to select a "lookback" interest rate for use in calculating lump sums associated with a lump sum window that can serve to advantage the interests of the sponsor.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury generally agreed with this recommendation but did not provide specific comments on plans to address it.
    Recommendation: To provide participants with useful information and to provide for lump sums that are based on up-to-date assumptions, Treasury should establish a process and a timeline for periodically updating the mortality tables used to determine minimum required lump sums-- including a means for monitoring when experts' views may indicate that mortality tables may have become outdated, and for taking expedited action if warranted.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury
    Status: Open

    Comments: Treasury generally agreed with this recommendation but did not provide specific comments on plans to address it.
    Director: Emrey Arras, Melissa H
    Phone: (617) 788-0534

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness of information from school evaluations, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to develop a plan for future school evaluations that includes, among other things, clearly-defined evaluation questions and an assessment of the experience, expertise, and skills needed by the personnel from the entity or entities conducting the school evaluations.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016, DOD reported that it had contracted with a recognized industry leader to provide expert research and analysis of the Department's needs and offer best practices in compliance across industry and government. In 2017, DOD reported that it awarded the contract for conducting the school evaluations and as part of that contract, specified the required experience and education for key staff conducting the evaluation. To guide the evaluations, DOD developed several data collection instruments to collect information on schools participating in the program and service members' experiences in the program. GAO will consider closing this recommendation once the first round of evaluations are completed and we obtain any evaluations based on the DCIs.
    Director: Cary Russell
    Phone: (202) 512-5431

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enable the Army to address the requirement to identify and track personnel with SFA-related experience, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Army to develop and implement a plan with goals and milestones for how it will develop the means for systematically identifying and tracking personnel with SFA-related experience.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to a TRADOC official, TRADOC has reviewed the CJCSI on Irregular Warfare (Sept. 2015) as well as the recently published DoDI 3000.11 - Management of DoD Irregular Warfare (IW) and Security Force Assistance (SFA) Capabilities (dated 3 May 2016). Based on that recently published DoDI, TRADOC (along with the other services) are coordinating with the Office of the Secretary of Defense - Force Training to prepare an initial briefing at the next Irregular Warfare Executive Steering Committee chaired by both ASD SO/LIC and JS J7 (tentatively scheduled for Jan. 2017). The briefing will cover how TRADOC plans to identify and track SFA and IW capabilities and where they are in starting that tracking process, to include any significant issues or best practices. TRADOC will then be prepared to provide a report on those skills, training and education programs and experiences every two years in conjunction with the IW assessment as required by the Instruction. In preparation for that briefing, TRADOC conducted a meeting the first week of August with both the G1 (Personnel) and Force Modernization Division to discuss the current Service personnel systems and wargame a best way to capture those skills, training and experiences. According to the official, a potential solution may be the development of an Additional Skill Identifier (ASI) vice creating a separate MOS, to allow the most effective means of being able to capture those SFA and IW skills experiences and training and the identification of a Proponent/authority for the awarding of the ASI.
    Director: Lawrance L. Evans, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that foreclosure prevention principles are being incorporated into servicers' practices, the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System should ensure that the planned activities to oversee the foreclosure prevention principles include evaluation and testing of servicers' implementation of the principles.

    Agency: Federal Reserve System: Board of Governors
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, Federal Reserve staff indicated that examiners are continuing to review servicers' efforts to incorporate the foreclosure prevention principles into their practices. Our assessment of the extent to which those reviews include evaluation and testing of servicers' implementation of the principles is pending additional discussions with the Federal Reserve.