Privatizing OPM Investigations:

Perspectives on OPM's Role in Background Investigations

T-GGD-95-185: Published: Jun 14, 1995. Publicly Released: Jun 14, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) proposal to privatize its Investigations Service focusing on: (1) OPMs role in federal investigations; and (2) how the number and scope of these investigations have changed. GAO noted that: (1) OPM policymaking and oversight role in federal investigations dates back to its days as the Civil Service Commission (CSC); (2) OPM conducts around 30 percent of all federal background investigations, with the remainder of them completed by other federal agencies authorized to conduct or contract their own investigations; (3) OPM conducts investigations of federal employees, contractors, and applicants in order to provide a basis for determining an individual's suitability for federal employment, as well as to provide agencies with a basis for determining whether an individual should be granted a security clearance; (4) OPM has not withdrawn a delegation of investigation authority based on an agency's failure to meet OPM standards, but it works with agency officials to improve their investigation deficiencies; and (5) the number of investigations performed by OPM over the last 5 years, has steadily declined due to several legal and policy decisions over the last 40 years.

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