Open Recommendations (108 total)

Small Business Innovation Research: Agencies Need to Fully Implement Requirements for Managing Fraud, Waste, and Abuse

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure the SBIR program collects the required certifications from new SBIR awardees, beginning in future funding opportunity announcements, without material differences from the language in the SBIR/STTR Policy Directive. (Recommendation 1)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Farm Programs: USDA Should Take Additional Steps to Ensure Compliance with Wetland Conservation Provisions

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the Chief of the Natural Resources Conservation Service instructs state and field offices to consistently report any potential violations they observe. (Recommendation 5)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

In commenting on our draft report, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) agreed that policy clarification is needed and said the agency would develop policy that clearly identifies when NRCS will submit reports of potential violations.

COVID-19: Sustained Federal Action Is Crucial as Pandemic Enters Its Second Year

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service to assess the contracting personnel needed to fully execute the award and administration of existing contracts in support of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program or successor future food distribution program, and take the necessary steps to ensure it has adequate contracting staff in place to award and administer any future contracts for the program. See Federal Contracts and Agreements for COVID-19 enclosure. (Recommendation 14)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendation, and as of May 2021 had not fully assessed the contracting personnel needed to execute and administer contracts in support of the Farmers to Families Food Box Program or successor food distribution program. According to Agricultural Marketing Service officials, they have discontinued the program and are using other methods of hunger relief, and so do not anticipate needing additional permanent staff. Agricultural Marketing Service officials are planning to use an existing contract vehicle to obtain additional staff support for contract documentation needs for the awards that have been made under the Farmers to Families Food Box Program and other food purchasing efforts. However, as of May 2021, Agricultural Marketing Service officials had not yet determined the staffing support levels to be obtained under the contract vehicle.
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the Administrator of the Food and Nutrition Service (1) provides sufficient context to help stakeholders and the public understand and interpret data on federal nutrition assistance programs during the pandemic and (2) discloses potential sources of error that may affect data quality during the pandemic, such as manual processing. For example, the agency could publish key information from its internal communications plan that it developed for the January 2021 data release and include additional table notes in subsequent data releases to help explain these issues. See Nutrition Assistance enclosure. (Recommendation 17)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

As of June 2021, the Food and Nutrition Service had taken steps toward implementing this recommendation. For example, it added several table notes to data it released in April 2021 to help provide stakeholders and the public with sufficient context to understand and interpret key data. Food and Nutrition Service officials said the agency is currently discussing next steps for disclosing potential sources of error, such as manual processing of participation and expenditure data for some programs.

Native American Cultural Resources: Improved Information Could Enhance Agencies' Efforts to Analyze and Respond to Risks of Theft and Damage

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Chief of the Forest Service to take steps to identify and obtain the information needed to target its efforts for analyzing and addressing risks to Native American cultural resources and share any promising practices with the Departmental Consulting Archeologist. (Recommendation 1)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

As of April 2021, we are following up on this recommendation and will update it when we receive information.

Data Governance: Agencies Made Progress in Establishing Governance, but Need to Address Key Milestones

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of the Department of Agriculture should direct the Chief Data Officer to perform an assessment of current staff data literacy and data skills, conduct a gap analysis between the current staff's skills and the skills the agency requires, and establish a baseline performance plan to close the identified data skills and literacy gaps. (Recommendation 1)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Disaster Response: Agencies Should Assess Contracting Workforce Needs and Purchase Card Fraud Risk

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture should direct the Forest Service to update its fraud risk profile for the purchase card program to align with the leading practices in the Fraud Risk Framework and include an assessment of how, if at all, the risk profile differs for purchase card use in support of disaster response. (Recommendation 6)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Information Technology: Selected Federal Agencies Need to Take Additional Actions to Reduce Contract Duplication

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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the agency fully implements the category management activity to share prices paid, terms, and conditions for purchased IT goods and services. (Recommendation 3)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the agency fully implements the category management activity to reduce unaligned IT spending, by performing an analysis of alternatives to justify the agency's unaligned IT contracts. (Recommendation 1)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that the agency finishes implementing its process to analyze IT contract data. (Recommendation 4)
Open

Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.