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Priority Open Recommendations: Office of Personnel Management

GAO-23-106370 Published: May 16, 2023. Publicly Released: May 23, 2023.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations.

This letter to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) outlines 15 open recommendations that it should prioritize. For example, we recommended that OPM ensure that federal agencies have the guidance and technical assistance they need to effectively address employee misconduct and maximize workforce productivity.

OPM implemented 2 recommendations we identified as a priority last year.

We regularly update priority recommendations here.

graphic of GAO's priority recommendations for OPM

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What GAO Found

In June 2022, GAO identified 15 priority recommendations for the Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Since then, OPM has implemented two of those recommendations. For one recommendation, OPM now provides and tracks specialized training for all individuals, including contractors, who have significant security responsibilities. OPM implemented the other recommendation by providing evidence that it is standard process to reach out to data providers in case of missing, flagged or rejected data, and that such efforts typically result in submission or resubmission of data.

In May 2023, GAO identified two additional priority recommendations for OPM, bringing the total number to 15. These recommendations involve the following areas:

  • improving the federal classification system;
  • making hiring authorities more effective;
  • improving payroll data;
  • addressing employee misconduct and improving performance management;
  • strengthening IT security and management; and
  • addressing mission critical skills gaps.

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 Sager at (202) 512-6806 or

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