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As of April 18, 2018, there are 5,184 open recommendations, of which 465 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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Subject Term: "Cost drivers"

2 publications with a total of 4 priority recommendations
Director: Robert Goldenkoff
Phone: (202) 512-2757

3 open priority recommendations
Recommendation: To help ensure the Bureau produces a reliable cost estimate for the 2020 Census, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to take the following steps to meet the characteristics of a high-quality estimate: (1) Comprehensive--among other practices, ensure the estimate includes all life-cycle costs and documents all cost-influencing assumptions. (2) Well-documented--among other practices, ensure that its planned documentation plan captures the source data used; contains the calculations performed and the estimating methodologies used for each element; and describes step by step how the estimate was developed. (3) Accurate--among other practices, ensure the estimating technique for each cost element is used appropriately and that variances between planned and actual cost are documented, explained, and reviewed. (4) Credible--among other practices, ensure the estimate includes a sensitivity analysis, major cost elements are cross-checked to see whether results are similar, and an independent cost estimate is conducted to determine whether other estimating methods produce similar results.

Agency: Department of Commerce
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should provide a cost estimate more current than the October 2015 estimate and ensure that the estimate is comprehensive, well-documented, accurate, and credible. In doing this the Bureau should consult the GAO's cost assessment guide (GAO-09-3SP) and Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government (GAO-14-704G). High-quality estimates will: explicitly consider all life-cycle costs and assumptions, offer a clear step-by-step account of the methods and data sources used to compile the estimate, ensure the proper estimation techniques are used, reconcile any variances between actual and estimated costs, and allow cross-checking with independent cost estimates as verification of results. In August 2016, the Bureau laid out its action plan to implement this recommendation. The Bureau planned to develop a Cost Estimation Enhancement Plan that would mature the 2020 Census cost estimate and its associated processes via a series of 3-month sprints. According to the Bureau, the areas targeted for improvement were (I) Documentation, (2) Process, (3) Cost Estimate, and (4) Cost Integration. The Bureau's action plan reported the following deliverables: Incorporating the Decennial Census Management Division program work breakdown structure into the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (target completion was Q4 FY 2016); developing a formal basis of estimate document to address the cost elements, process flow, and calculations for the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (Q2 FY 2017); internal communication and training efforts to ensure these changes are widely shared and communicated (Q2 FY 2017); engaging with internal stakeholders to increase the amount of source and derivation documentation for estimates/model parameters currently based on expert judgment (Q4 FY 2016); developing a formal BOE document to address how 2020 Census program risk and uncertainty are dealt with in the 2020 Census Cost Estimate (Q2 FY 2017); and regularly comparing the results of the independent cost estimate conducted by the Office of Cost Estimation, Analysis and Assessment to the 2020 Census Cost Estimate and investigate/reconcile any significant differences (Q3 FY 2017). As of July 2017, we await this and other documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
Recommendation: To further ensure the credibility of data used in cost estimation, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to establish clear guidance on when information for cost assumptions can and should be changed as well as the procedures for documenting such changes and traceable sources for information being used.

Agency: Department of Commerce
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should implement processes for controlling and changing cost assumptions. These processes should include methods for evaluating the justification for any changes and documentation requirements that clearly show the information changed and the basis for the change. In August 2016, Bureau officials laid out their action plan to address this recommendation. The action plan described developing a Decennial Census Cost Estimation and Analysis Process and supporting policy to improve the maturity levels in this area and mentioned developing a draft internal communication and training plan for staff--target date is Q2 FY 2017. As of July 2017, we await this and other documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
Recommendation: To ensure Bureau and congressional confidence that the Bureau's budgeted contingencies are at appropriate levels, the Secretary of Commerce and Under Secretary for Economic Affairs should direct the Census Bureau to improve control over how risk and uncertainty are accounted for and communicated with the Bureau's decennial cost estimation process, such as by implementing and institutionalizing processes or methods for doing so with clear guidance.

Agency: Department of Commerce
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: Commerce agreed with this recommendation. The Bureau should ensure that its budget for contingencies reflects an accurate accounting of risk and uncertainty. In doing this, the Bureau should improve controls over risk and uncertainty accounting, ensure that risk accounting informs any relevant budgets and cost estimates, and institutionalize these controls by providing clear methods for their use. In August 2016, the Bureau laid out its action plan to implement this recommendation, describing that it would ensure regular review of 2020 Census program risks that would have high cost impacts if they occur and ensure estimates of these impacts are accounted for and documented in each iteration of the life-cycle cost estimates--target date is Q2 FY 2017. As of July 2017, we await documentation from Bureau that may address this recommendation.
Director: Frank Rusco
Phone: (202) 512-3841

1 open priority recommendation
Recommendation: To improve the reliability of its cost estimates, as NRC revises its cost estimating procedures, the NRC Chairman should ensure that the agency aligns the procedures with relevant cost estimating best practices identified in the GAO Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide and ensure that future cost estimates are prepared in accordance with relevant cost estimating best practices.

Agency: Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: In March 2018, NRC staff provided the draft of the final guidance to the Commission for review. In July 2018, NRC staff reported that following Commission review and approval, they will publish the guidance. We will review the cost-benefit guidance when it is released and determine if it responds to this recommendation.