|Page last updated April 9, 2001|
To assess the extent to which our work improves the performance and accountability of the federal government, we track agencies' implementation of our recommendations. Much of the benefit from GAO's work results from agencies' responding to our recommendations by taking specific actions to improve their performance and accountability.
GAO's continued attention to whether our recommendations are being implemented helps ensure that the benefits of our audit work are realized. A recommendation is closed when it has been implemented, when actions have been taken that essentially meet the recommendation's intent, or when circumstances have changed and the recommendation is no longer valid. The results of our evaluations of actions taken in response to our recommendations are reported quantitatively in our performance reports as the implementation rate.
Each GAO team is responsible for actively tracking the status of open recommendations. The primary sources of information on their status are the agencies themselves. We verify the information they supply to ensure that the recommended actions are being taken and, to the extent possible, that the desired results are being achieved.
We use the results of our analysis to determine the need for further work in an area. If, for example, an agency has not undertaken a recommended action that we consider to be still valid and worthwhile, we may decide to pursue further action with agency officials or undertake additional work.
Early each calendar year, we provide a report to the House and Senate Appropriations Committees on the status of GAO's open recommendations. The report is intended for use by congressional oversight and authorization committees, as well as by the Appropriations Committees, in preparing for hearings and budget deliberations. The report's database describes the most recent actions taken on open recommendations and is on the Internet.
Separately, title 31 U.S.C. 720 requires agencies to submit, within a specific period, written statements to the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations, the House Committee on Government Reform, and the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs explaining actions taken or planned in response to GAO recommendations made to heads of agencies.
Additional reviews--conducted by internal and external groups--help ensure that our work is consistent with generally accepted government auditing standards and with our policies and procedures. The reviews include internal reviews of management controls and business processes, annual internal inspections of the quality control system for our financial auditing practice, peer reviews of the quality control system for our financial audit practice by a public accounting firm (conducted every 3 years), and reviews by our Office of the Inspector General.
For example, the team that inspected our quality controls for financial auditing for the period from January 1, 2000, through September 30, 2000, rendered an unqualified opinion and found no matters requiring a letter of comment. We are pursuing ways to expand the use of peer review to our performance audits.
the Quality and Risk Management office is developing additional methods
to evaluate our ability to build quality into products and to ensure
compliance with our core values and applicable professional standards.