Skip to main content

Priority Open Recommendations: Office of Personnel Management

GAO-21-516PR Published: Jul 01, 2021. Publicly Released: Jul 08, 2021.
Jump To:

Fast Facts

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

This report outlines our 14 priority open recommendations for the Office of Personnel Management as of June 2021. For example, some of our recommendations are to improve the tools and guidance OPM provides to agencies to help address employee misconduct and improve employee performance management.

Since our previous letter in April 2020, OPM implemented 4 of our priority recommendations.

Browse by agency.

Graphic that says, "GAO's Priority Open Recommendations" and includes the seal of OPM.

Skip to Highlights


What GAO Found

In April 2020, GAO identified 18 priority recommendations for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Since then, OPM has implemented four of those recommendations by, among other things, taking actions to collect and share agencies’ information on mission critical occupations as well as hiring data; sharing key practices and lessons learned, including how to address employee misconduct; and implementing a quality assurance review process to re-evaluate security control assessments. We are not adding any new priority recommendations this year. The total number of priority recommendations remaining is 14. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improving the federal classification system;
  • making hiring and special pay authorities more effective;
  • improving Enterprise Human Resource Integration payroll data;
  • addressing employee misconduct and improving performance management; and
  • 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 Alissa Czyz, Acting Director, Strategic Issues at 202-512-6806 or

Full Report

Office of Public Affairs


Acquisition managementCybersecurityHuman capital managementIT acquisitionsPersonnel security clearance programsPersonnel security clearancesReal propertyReal property managementHigh-risk issuesFederal hiring