Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help improve the federal government. We alert department heads to the recommendations where they can save the most money, address issues on our High Risk List, or significantly improve government operations.

This report outlines our 18 priority open recommendations for the Office of Personnel Management as of April 2020.

For example, we recommend ways to make federal hiring and special pay authorities more effective.

Since our previous letter in April 2019, OPM implemented 3 of our priority recommendations.

OPM open priority recommendations graphic

OPM open priority recommendations graphic

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What GAO Found

In April 2019, GAO identified 18 priority recommendations for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Since then, OPM has implemented 3 of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to (1) develop a common set of metrics to identify mission critical occupations; (2) strengthen controls over its information technology (IT) systems; and (3) improve responsiveness for managing priorities and future federal workforce needs.

In April 2020, GAO identified 3 additional priority recommendations for OPM, bringing the total number to 18. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • addressing mission critical skills gaps.
  • improving the federal classification system. (3)making hiring and special pay authorities more effective.
  • improving Enterprise Human Resource Integration payroll data.
  • addressing employee misconduct and improving performance management.
  • strengthening IT security and management.

OPM's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015 GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Michelle Rosenberg at (202) 512-6806 or

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