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GAO was asked to review the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) program for delegating to Federal agencies the authority to examine candidates for Federal jobs. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 authorized OPM to delegate examining authority as a means of improving the timeliness of the hiring process and the quality of Federal job candidates. OPM announced plans to withdraw some of the delegations that had been made. The proposed withdrawals were based on the new Director's conclusion that the statute did not allow the extent of delegation which had occurred under the previous Director.

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Personnel Management 1. The Director of OPM should not withdraw current delegated examining authority without first determining that an abuse exists or that OPM could provide timely examining in a more cost-effective manner.
Closed - Not Implemented
The agency disagrees with the recommendation. However, it has not implemented withdrawals in a strict fashion. As a result, very few delegations have been withdrawn.
Office of Personnel Management 2. The Director of OPM should determine through analysis of audits and other OPM studies the factors that make delegations of examining authority successful in improving timeliness and quality of hires and use them along with cost information in deciding whether to approve future requests for delegated examining authority.
Closed - Not Implemented
The agency believes that its approach to delegations is based on law and forms an adequate basis for determining when to delegate examining authority.
Office of Personnel Management 3. The Director of OPM should require agencies to report appropriate and accurate costs and follow up during audits on the cost information so that OPM can determine the cost effectiveness of delegations compared to OPM examining.
Closed - Not Implemented
OPM has initiated a program of working with agencies during audits by its area office staff to improve the reporting of cost data. This program has become a continuing part of the OPM audit effort.

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