March 2010 — GAO´s Comments on Second Round of Recipient Reporting
What GAO Found
Second Round of Recipient Reporting Showed That Improving Data Quality Is a Work in Progress
Progress was achieved in addressing some data quality and reporting issues identified in the first round; however data errors, reporting inconsistencies, and decisions by some recipients not to use the new job reporting guidance for this round compromise data quality and the ability to aggregate the data. For example in the education area, which was the largest category of jobs reported, GAO found that a number of states reported job numbers using the old methodology.
Overall, while significant issues remain, the second round of reporting appears to have gone more smoothly as recipients have become more familiar with the reporting system and requirements. GAO expects that the simplified jobs reporting guidance and reporting system enhancements will ultimately result in improved data quality and reliability. GAO makes specific recommendations to Education, HUD, and OMB for improving reporting guidance. Education, HUD, and OMB generally agreed with the recommendations.
GAO's RecommendationsBack to top
- OMB should work with the Recovery Board and federal agencies, building on the lessons learned, to establish a formal and feasible framework for review of recipient changes during the continual update period and consider providing more time for agencies to review and provide feedback to recipients before posting updated reports on Recovery.gov.
- To improve the consistency of FTE data collected and reported, GAO recommends that the Secretary of the Department of Education (Education) and the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provide clarifying guidance to recipients on how to best calculate FTEs for education employees during quarters when school is not in session.
- GAO recommends that the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development instruct housing agencies to discontinue use of the jobs calculator provided by HUD in the first round of recipient reporting for subsequent rounds of reporting to ensure the correct job calculation is used.
For GAO's complete comments on the second round of recipient reporting see pages 74-108 of the March 3, 2010 report, One Year Later, States' and Localities' Uses of Funds and Opportunities to Strengthen Accountability.