OPM's Initial Attempts To Implement Demonstration Provisions of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978

FPCD-80-63: Published: Sep 5, 1980. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 1980.

Additional Materials:


Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800

GAO observed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) initial attempts to encourage and evaluate proposals for demonstration projects authorized by Title VI of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978. These projects are intended to determine whether a specified change in personnel management policies and procedures would result in improved Federal personnel management. They can involve waivers of certain existing laws, rules, and regulations. For that reason, it is required that project proposals proceed through a process of public notice, public hearing, and congressional review.

GAO found that the results of the efforts of OPM to solicit demonstration projects were disappointing. Procedures for evaluating proposals were inefficient and not based on a framework which recognizes the unique costs and benefits of the demonstration concept. Moreover, the initial projects may have limited potential for application beyond the demonstration sites and, in one case, may have difficulty demonstrating successful results. Federal law requires agencies to consult with employees before including them in a demonstration project. But the objectives of consultation and the extent to which it should occur are not specified by law, and OPM has not provided additional guidance in this area.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should: (1) develop a framework for evaluating the proposals as a means of directing resources into the most significant areas; (2) require that proposals contain provisions for testing results beyond the demonstration project's environment; (3) assert the leadership of OPM in establishing project objectives which meet the needs of OPM and in assembling and coordinating the resources to insure these objectives are met; and (4) establish criteria and objectives for the employee consultations which make the process effective.

    Agency Affected:


Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Dec 14, 2017

May 24, 2017

May 18, 2017

Apr 27, 2017

Dec 29, 2016

Sep 1, 2016

Aug 19, 2016

Jun 8, 2016

Mar 24, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here