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    Subject Term: Culture

    12 publications with a total of 37 open recommendations including 3 priority recommendations
    Director: Thomas Melito
    Phone: (202) 512-9601

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs should work with other U.S. federal entities participating in the CHCC to develop goals for the CHCC and its working groups. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its written comments on our report, State concurred with this recommendation. State noted its agreement with the need for outcomes and accountability and stated that the Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee (CHCC) working groups aim to draft mission statements and objectives.
    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs should work with other U.S. federal entities participating in the CHCC to clarify participants' roles and responsibilities in the CHCC and its working groups. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its written comments on our report, State concurred with this recommendation. State noted that following the adoption of the Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee (CHCC) working groups' mission statements and objectives, State foresees clarifying roles and responsibilities of CHCC participants.
    Recommendation: The Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs should work with other U.S. federal entities participating in the CHCC to document agreement about how the CHCC and its working groups will collaborate, such as their goals and participants' roles and responsibilities. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its written comments on our report, State concurred with this recommendation. State noted that once participants reach accord on the goals of the Cultural Heritage Coordinating Committee (CHCC) and its working groups, State could foresee documenting such goals through memoranda of understanding.
    Director: Michael E. Clements
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, the Chair should enhance or expand the responsibilities and authority of the COO or other official or office so they can help ensure that improvements to communication and collaboration across SEC are made. For instance, if the duties of the COO were expanded, the COO could establish liaisons in each mission-critical office and division for SEC employees to contact or develop procedures to help facilitate communication and collaboration among the mission-critical office and divisions.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, the Chair should develop and implement training for hiring specialists that is informed by a skills gap analysis.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: David C. Trimble
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    6 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve DOE's ability to evaluate and monitor the effectiveness of policies that call for all organizations, including contractors, to embrace a strong safety culture and create a work environment that encourages a questioning attitude by all employees, the Secretary of Energy should develop and implement an independent evaluation process for routinely and accurately measuring contractor employees' willingness to raise safety and other concerns without fear of retaliation. This process should ensure that an independent third party develops, conducts, and consistently applies the evaluation methodology--which should include safeguards that protect anonymity. The process should also enable DOE to oversee and ensure that appropriate corrective actions are taken in response to evaluation results.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. In December 2016, the Office of Enterprise Assessments formed a working group to address our recommendations. According to DOE, as of March 2017 the working group developed a strategy and plan to independently analyze data associated with willingness to raise concerns within contractor organizations at DOE sites with high hazard nuclear facilities. We will continue to monitor DOE's efforts to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that the organizational placement and practices of DOE- and contractor- provided Employee Concerns Programs (ECP) do not inhibit contractor employees from raising safety and other concerns, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's ECP order and guidance to (1) require that the organizational placement and practices of contractor ECP's do not compromise or impair their independence, (2) clarify the circumstances under which DOE's ECP is permitted to transfer and refer concerns to contractors, and notify or require approval of the contractor employee raising the concern, and (3) provide criteria for overseeing and evaluating the effectiveness and independence of contractor-provided ECPs.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. To address this recommendation, DOE planned to update DOE Order 442.1A, Department of Energy Employee Concerns Program, to (1) address the potential for conflicts of interest that could affect the independence of contractor ECPs, (2) clarify the circumstances under which an employee concern can be referred or transferred from a DOE ECP to a contractor ECP, and (3) specify that the processes already identified in DOE Order 226.1B, Implementation of Department of Energy Oversight Policy, be used as part of the oversight processes for contractor-provided ECPs, to include evaluation of their effectiveness and independence. According to DOE, the draft order was affected by a Presidential Memorandum issued in January 2017, which put a temporary stop to the DOE directives process. We will continue to monitor the status of DOE's implementation of this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that Congress has the information it needs as it considers whether or not to make permanent the enhanced whistleblower pilot program and that DOE has assurance that contractor employees have an effective mechanism to seek remedy for unlawful retaliation, the Secretary of Energy should fully evaluate the extent to which the pilot program has been implemented and whether its provisions will mitigate challenges associated with DOE's 708 program. This evaluation should include, at a minimum, an assessment of (1) contractors that have adopted the pilot program and the date they did so; (2) contractors that have not adopted the pilot program and an explanation of why not; (3) cases filed under the pilot program, if any; and (4) the pilot program's potential for mitigating challenges associated with the 708 program.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred in principle with the recommendation. In response to this recommendation, the Office of Hearings and Appeals conducted a review of the Part 708 program that, according to DOE, evaluated each of the areas of concern and compared current part 708 regulations with the pilot program. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the resulting report.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should expedite the department's time frames for codifying in regulatory language its policy that retaliation for nuclear safety-related disclosures is a nuclear safety violation and develop a specific schedule for issuing the proposed and final rules.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation and planned to amend its regulations to clarify which DOE regulations constitute DOE Nuclear Safety Requirements. DOD planned to expedite the schedule for this rulemaking. We will update the status of this recommendation after we confirm DOE's actions
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should direct DOE's Office of Enforcement to routinely collect information from the Department of Labor and other sources regarding substantiated cases of retaliation and take appropriate enforcement action.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to DOE, the Office of Enforcement has revised its internal implementing procedure to require that a review of DOE Office of Hearings and Appeals whistleblower cases, Department of Labor complaints submitted under the Energy Reorganization Act, and an online legal research service (for court decisions) be conducted each quarter to identify cases wherein a DOE contractor may have retaliated against an employee for reporting a safety concern and evaluate the information for potential enforcement action. We will update the status of this recommendation after we review the updated procedure.
    Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's Integrated Safety Management policy and guidance to clarify what constitutes evidence of a chilled work environment and define the appropriate steps DOE should take to hold contractors accountable for creating a chilled work environment.

    Agency: Department of Energy
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. DOE officials said that the department was revising the Integrated Safety Management policy but the revisions are currently on hold indefinitely along with all other actions to publish new, or update existing departmental directives in response to two Presidential Executive Orders issued in January and February 2017 that directed federal agencies to, among other things, reduce and reform agency regulations.
    Director: J. Christopher Mihm
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the transparency of public reporting on CAP goal progress, the Director of OMB should, working with the PIC, report on Performance.gov the actions that CAP goal teams are taking, or plan to take, to develop performance measures and quarterly targets.

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

    Comments: We reviewed selected CAP goals quarterly performance information on the Performance.Gov website as of Q4 of FY 2016, which updates the status of the CAP goals through September 2016. Some of the selected CAP goals have updated and new performance measures, but it was not clear the extent to which CAP goal teams included information on the actions they are taking to develop such measures, consistent with our recommendation. We contacted OMB in June 2017 on the current status of this recommendation. We will provide an update to its status once OMB responds to our request.
    Director: Daniel Garcia-Diaz
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure sustained leadership commitment to and accountability for CFPB's efforts to promote a diverse, inclusive, and fair workplace, in coordination with representatives of CFPB's employee union, the Director should develop tools to collect more comprehensive employee feedback on the grievance complaint processes to understand and remedy factors that may reduce employee confidence in these processes.

    Agency: Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, CFPB had reached agreement with its employee union on a process to collect more comprehensive employee feedback on its grievance complaint processes, but CFPB had not yet implemented this new process. This new process will include a short survey that will be provided to employees who participate in the grievance process. A CFPB official said that CFPB will begin using this survey to collect feedback once it has determined the best point in the grievance process to distribute it.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD in determining whether CIPP is meeting its intended purpose of enhancing retention and providing greater flexibility in the career path of servicemembers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to develop and implement a plan to evaluate the pilot that includes key features such as well-defined, clear, and measurable objectives and standards for determining pilot-program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with our recommendation, and recognized the importance of developing well defined measures to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of the career intermission pilot program (CIPP). In November 2015, DOD acknowledged receipt of our final report and noted that its position on the report has not changed since providing official written comments. In May 2017, we issued GAO-17-623R, which provided an update to the CIPP participant data in our initial report, and noted that DOD had not established performance measures in response to our recommendation. As of September 2017, DOD had still not developed these measures, noting the program was still in a pilot stage, and the final consolidated report due to Congress in June 2023 will include narratives from the service secretaries discussing the effectiveness and value of the program.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To promote and enhance familiarity with values-based ethical decision-making across the department, the Secretary of Defense should direct appropriate departmental organization(s), in consultation with the Office of General Counsel and the Senior Advisor for Military Professionalism (SAMP) or its successor organization(s), to assess the feasibility of expanding annual values-based ethics training to include currently non-mandatory recipients.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred, with comment, with this recommendation, noting that the Office of the Senior Advisor for Military Professionalism is a temporary office established by Secretary Hagel for a two year term ending no later than March of 2016. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on October 19, 2015. As of October 6, 2016, DOD has not responded to further inquiries regarding any actions it has taken to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the need for a department-wide values-based ethics program has been addressed, the Secretary of Defense should direct appropriate departmental organization(s), in consultation with the Office of General Counsel, to identify actions and timeframes for responding to the Panel on Contracting Integrity recommendation, including the 14 related 2012 study recommendations, or alternatively demonstrate why additional actions are unwarranted.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred, with comment, with this recommendation, stating among other things that it has practices in place that are consistent with a number of the study recommendations and that it is most receptive to assessing and recommending implementation of additional measures. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on October 19, 2015. As of October 6, 2016, DOD has not responded to further inquiries regarding any actions it has taken to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To help inform decision makers on the SAMP's progress as well as the decision regarding the extension of the SAMP's term, the Secretary of Defense should direct the SAMP to define timelines and measures to assess its progress in completing its major tasks.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD did not concur with this recommendation, stating that the department will submit its Fiscal Year 2015 National Defense Authorization Act report on military programs and controls regarding professionalism to Congress on September 1, 2015, thereby satisfying the requirements of this recommendation. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on October 19, 2015. As of October 6, 2016, DOD has not responded to further inquiries regarding any actions it has taken to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To increase assurance that commanders are conducting command climate assessments in accordance with statutory requirements and departmental guidance, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretaries of the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy, and the Commandant of the Marine Corps to modify existing guidance or develop new guidance to comply with requirements set forth in the Fiscal Year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act and internal DOD guidance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, stating that existing Army practice is consistent with the intent of departmental guidance for command climate survey utilization. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on October 19, 2015. As of October 6, 2016, DOD has not responded to further inquiries regarding any actions it has taken to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better inform the department's approach to senior officers' professional development, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Secretary of the Navy, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to assess the need for and feasibility of implementing 360-degree assessments for all general and flag officers.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD partially concurred with this recommendation, stating that it concurs with the recommendation to assess the need for and feasibility of implementing 360-degree assessments, or 360-degree-like feedback assessments, where they are not already being performed, but that it believes that it should only do so for general and flag officers at the three star ranks and below. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on October 19, 2015. At that time, DOD also stated that it believes in a holistic approach to developing and assessing professionalism, noting, as an example, the Joint Staff's use of staff assistance visits and Senior Leader "roundtables" to complement the use of 360-degree assessments. As of October 6, 2016, DOD has not responded to further inquiries regarding any actions it has taken to implement this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to assess its progress in addressing ethics and professionalism issues, the Secretary of Defense should direct the SAMP, through the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, or SAMP's successor organization(s), to identify information sources and develop intermediate goals and performance metrics. At minimum, these performance metrics should be clear, quantifiable, and objective, and they should include a baseline assessment of current performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred, with comment, with this recommendation, noting that the office of the Senior Advisor for Military Professionalism is a temporary office established by Secretary Hagel for a two year term ending no later than March of 2016. DOD confirmed its position with regard to this recommendation on October 19, 2015. As of October 6, 2016, DOD has not responded to further inquiries regarding any actions it has taken to implement this recommendation.
    Director: Charles Michael Johnson, Jr.,
    Phone: (202) 512-7331

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Given that countering violent extremism is a priority for the U.S. government in general and State's Bureau of Counterterrorism (CT Bureau), the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure that CVE program efforts abroad are evaluated.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, the CT Bureau indicated that a third-party evaluation of the CVE program has been completed. The evaluation focused on process and programming, including all CVE projects funded between fiscal years 2012 and 2016 and resulted in two related but disparate sets of recommendations and findings. The CT Bureau indicated that it has begun incorporating the recommendations made in the evaluation into its overall CVE efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve State's CT Bureau's program management efforts, the Secretary of State should take steps to ensure the Bureau of Counterterrorism establishes specific time frames for addressing recommendations from program evaluations.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2017, the CT Bureau indicated it is in the process of reviewing recommendations from the CVE evaluation, and will soon be assigning timelines to those recommendations that the bureau deems relevant and achievable. For other evaluations, the CT Bureau indicated that it has already acknowledged the need to assign specific timelines to evaluation recommendations and has adjusted accordingly.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    6 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help DOD's sexual assault prevention and response program realize the full benefit of the data it collects on sexual assault incidents, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to develop a plan for data-driven decision making to prioritize program efforts.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to develop clear goals with associated metrics to drive the changes needed to address sexual assaults of males and articulate these goals, for example in the department's next sexual assault prevention strategy.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to include information about the sexual victimization of males in communications to servicemembers that are used to raise awareness of sexual assault and the department's efforts to prevent and respond to it.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to address challenges faced by male servicemembers as DOD continues to seek to transform its culture to address sexual assault, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the Secretaries of the military services, to revise sexual assault prevention and response training to more comprehensively and directly address the incidence of male servicemembers being sexually assaulted and how certain behavior and activities--like hazing--can constitute a sexual assault.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help ensure that all of DOD's medical and mental health providers are generally aware of any gender-specific needs of sexual assault victims, and that victims are provided the care that most effectively meets those needs, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should, in collaboration with the services' Surgeons General, systematically evaluate the extent to which differences exist in the medical and mental health-care needs of male and female sexual assault victims, and the care regimen, if any, that will best meet those needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve DOD's ability to prevent sexual assaults of male servicemembers, to increase its responsiveness to male servicemembers who are sexually assaulted, and to help ensure that all of DOD's medical and mental health providers are generally aware of any gender-specific needs of sexual assault victims, and that victims are provided the care that most effectively meets those needs, the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs should, in collaboration with the services' Surgeons General, develop and issue guidance for the department's medical and mental health providers--and other personnel, as appropriate--based on the results of this evaluation that delineates these gender-specific distinctions and the care regimen that is recommended to most effectively meet those needs.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs)
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD was contacted on July 26, 2016 for an update on efforts to address this recommendation and responded that they are working on the report required by the NDAA on male victims of sexual assault and they believe that the report will, at a minimum, take some steps to address this recommendation. DOD also noted that the report required by the NDAA is due in the first quarter of FY 17 and that they will provide us with a copy once it has been approved. We will provide updated information when we confirm any actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation.
    Director: Michael Courts
    Phone: (202) 512-8980

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to protect SWT participants from abuse and the SWT program from misuse, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs to establish a mechanism to ensure that sponsors provide complete and consistent lists of fees that participants must pay.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation that the State Department (State) establish a mechanism to ensure that sponsor provide complete and consistent lists of fees that exchange visitors on the Summer Work Travel program must pay, State acknowledged it collected such fee information in 2016. As of August 3, 2017, we are awaiting State's review and analysis of this information to ensure the price lists are consistent and comprehensive.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to protect SWT participants from abuse and the SWT program from misuse, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs to establish a mechanism to establish a mechanism to ensure that information about these participant fees is made publicly available.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation that the State Department (State) establish a mechanism to ensure that information about Summer Work Travel participant fees is made publically available, State noted that it had published a notice for proposed rulemaking on January 12, 2017. When finalized, this would require would require each sponsor to include in its recruiting material, and post on its main Web site (e.g., with a visible link to such a page on the sponsor?s homepage), examples of the typical monthly budgets of exchange visitors placed in various regions of the United States to illustrate wages (based on the required weekly minimum of 32-hours of work at a typical host placement) balanced against itemized fees and estimated costs. Until State finalizes this rule, they cannot enforce this requirement. As of July 27, 2017, this information was not available to the public on the six sponsor websites we checked.
    Recommendation: To enhance State's efforts to protect SWT participants from abuse and the SWT program from misuse, the Secretary of State should direct the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs to establish detailed criteria that will allow State to assess the sufficiency and appropriateness of opportunities for cultural activities outside the workplace that sponsors provide to SWT participants.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In response to our recommendation that the State Department (State) establish detailed criteria that will allow it to assess the sufficiency and appropriateness of opportunities for cultural activities outside the workplace that sponsors provide to Summer Work Travel participants, State published a notice for proposed rulemaking on January 12, 2017. When finalized, this would require sponsors and their host entities to create cultural opportunities at least once per month. The proposed rule also notes that State will issue guidance outlining best practices for cross-cultural programming. As of July 27, 2017 this is not finalized.
    Director: Clowers, Angela N
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to enhance SEC's ability to strategically hire and retain the appropriate number of staff with the requisite skill sets for today and in the future, the Chairman of SEC should direct the Office of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Office of Human Resources (OHR) to prioritize efforts to expeditiously develop a comprehensive workforce plan, including a succession plan, and establish time frames for implementation and mechanisms to help ensure that the plans are regularly updated.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: While SEC plans to conduct a competency assessment for the remaining occupations not included in its July 2016 workforce plan, until the assessment and resulting workforce plan for fiscal year 2019+ is completed and we have reviewed it, this recommendation remains open. However, a comprehensive assessment of occupations should always be part of the workforce planning cycle to identify the resources needed to meet mission requirements. SEC should be doing a yearly review of needs to include attrition modeling, budget costs, and staffing (i.e., staff distribution across all locations, promotion needs, hiring requirements for all areas (mission and mission support)).
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to enhance SEC's ability to strategically hire and retain the appropriate number of staff with the requisite skill sets for today and in the future, the Chairman of SEC should direct the Office of the COO and OHR to incorporate OPM guidance as it develops its workforce and succession plans, by developing a formal action plan to identify and close competency gaps, and fill supervisory positions; and institute a fair and transparent process for identifying high-potential leaders from within the agency.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: While SEC plans to conduct a succession needs survey that will be used as part of its holistic gap analysis and used to inform the next workforce plan for fiscal year 2019+, until the needs survey and resulting workforce plan is completed and we have reviewed it, this recommendation remains open. However, as part of succession planning, division managers should already know, or should have been provided, retirement eligibility information, attrition estimates, and knowledge of their staff skill sets. They need this information for succession planning purposes to determine if they need to hire, or use promotions as a way to fill potential staff losses.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to help enhance the credibility of its performance management system, the Chairman of SEC should direct the COO and OHR to conduct periodic validations (with staff input) of the performance management system and make changes, as appropriate, based on these validations.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: SEC has yet to conduct a validation of its performance management system for its entire staff. In fiscal year (FY) 2016, SEC introduced a new pilot performance management program and engaged OPM to assess the effectiveness of it, but this new program was only initiated with non-bargaining staff. This assessment included OPM facilitated focus groups and an OPM survey soliciting anonymous participant feedback. According to SEC, stakeholders were engaged in the development and implementation phases of the pilot program. Additionally, OPM hosted a training session at the midpoint of the FY 2016 pilot for supervisors to help them communicate performance expectations and feedback. In 2017, SEC expanded the pilot performance management program to bargaining unit staff. SEC has briefed the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) prior to each phase in the performance management process and incorporated feedback into the program. The Office of Human Resources (OHR) has provided program-specific training to both employees and supervisors for each phase of the performance cycle and has collaborated with NTEU on all messaging to employees. SEC is now working with OPM to determine the best approach to assess the effectiveness of the FY 2017 pilot. According to SEC, subsequent to OPM's assessment of the FY 2017 pilot, SEC will work with NTEU to determine how to proceed with the program. OHR has also agreed in advance to share the FY 2017 performance rating data with NTEU so they may use it in their own assessment of the 2017 pilot.
    Recommendation: To help SEC address identified personnel management challenges, and to build on SEC's efforts to enhance intra-agency communication and collaboration, the Chairman should direct the COO to explore communication and collaboration best practices and implement those that could benefit SEC.

    Agency: United States Securities and Exchange Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2017, SEC had not demonstrated the use of best practices to improve communication and collaboration within and across SEC divisions and offices. In June 2017, SEC commenced the new Operations Steering Committee, which consists of the Acting Chief Operating Officer (COO) as the Chair, and the Managing Executives of the mission critical divisions and Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations (OCIE). This group meets on a monthly basis. During the September 2017 meeting, the Acting COO presented two proposed approaches, based on best practices, to address GAO's findings to improve communication and collaboration: 1. Emphasize communication and collaboration, and associated initiatives, within the new Strategic Plan. 2. Work with the Labor Management Forum - NTEU. Until we see how SEC operationalizes these proposed approaches, this recommendation remains open.
    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.