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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Evaluation methods"

    17 publications with a total of 30 open recommendations including 5 priority recommendations
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    3 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use the Bureau's evaluations before 2020 to determine the implications of in-office address canvassing on the cost and quality of address canvassing, and use this information to justify decisions related to its re-engineered address canvassing approach.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department's action plan dated September 22, 2017 stated that it would not be able to determine the marginal benefit of Active Block Resolution (ABR) compared to in-field address canvassing until the Bureau resumes ABR, sometime after the 2020 Census. Yet the Bureau had already conducted ABR in all three of the 2018 Census Test sites at which it also conducted in-field address canvassing. To fully implement this recommendation, the Bureau should compare the results from the in-office address canvassing that it decided not to use for the 2018 Census Test to the Bureau's in-field results from the test, in concert with other operational cost and productivity data as well as other relevant subjective information collected from participants in either the dropped in-office activity or the in-field effort. Attention to this may inform plans for evaluation and testing in the 2020 Census or the direction of early planning for cost savings in the next census.
    Recommendation: Early in the next decennial cycle, the Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to plan and execute more flexible, and perhaps smaller, address canvassing test and evaluation activity needed to support key design decisions having significant effect on the cost and quality of the census.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Commerce should direct the Under Secretary of the Economics and Statistics Administration and the Director of the U.S. Census Bureau to use productivity measures that track the progress in completing in-office address canvassing workload and the effectiveness of in-office address canvassing in reducing fieldwork in order to make informed decisions on allocating resources to current and future address canvassing workload so that the operation is completed in a timely and cost-effective manner.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Bureau has provided us with various metrics it uses to measure possible in-field address canvassing workloads. As of February 2018, we are discussing with Bureau officials how it may fully implement this recommendation, such as with what metrics the Bureau may be using to track progress in completing in-office address canvassing and the effectiveness of that work in reducing subsequent in-field workload and informing related decisions.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that government-wide compliance under IPERA is consistently determined and reported, the Director of OMB should coordinate with CIGIE to develop and issue guidance, either jointly or independently, to specify what procedures should be conducted as part of the IGs' IPERA compliance determinations.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open

    Comments: OMB had no comments on the report or the recommendation to coordinate with CIGIE to develop guidance. Although this recommendation was not directed to CIGIE, the CIGIE Chairperson stated that CIGIE would coordinate with OMB as needed and provide feedback on any draft OMB guidance.
    Recommendation: To help fulfill USDA's requirements under IPERA and OMB guidance--that agencies submit proposals to Congress when a program reaches 3 or more consecutive years of noncompliance with IPERA criteria--the Secretary of Agriculture should submit a letter to Congress detailing proposals for reauthorization or statutory changes in response to 3 consecutive years of noncompliance as of fiscal year 2015 for its Farm Security and Rural Investment Act Program. To the extent that reauthorization or statutory changes are not considered necessary to bring a program into compliance, the Secretary or designee should state so in the letter.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: USDA's Acting Deputy Secretary concurred with this recommendation.
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Capitol Police Board's current and any new approaches help enhance accountability, transparency, and effective external communication with its stakeholders, the Board should revise its Manual of Procedures to fully incorporate each of the leading practices for internal control and governance standards discussed in this report. In so doing, the Board should engage stakeholders in the revision process, such as by soliciting their input on any non-statutory changes that could particularly address the concerns stakeholders have raised, and incorporating their views as appropriate. If, in making revisions to its Manual, the Board determines that statutory changes may be helpful to enhance Board operations, then the Board should also engage with stakeholders on such proposed changes.

    Agency: Capitol Police Board
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2017, USCP Board officials told us that that when the Board's chairmanship changes in 2018, it will provide the Board an opportunity to undertake actions to address the recommendation, such as meeting with the relevant committee stakeholders. As of May 1, 2018, no such action had been taken.
    Director: Mark Goldstein
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: Given DOT's new discretionary grant programs and similar challenges we have found with previous DOT programs, the Secretary of Transportation should issue a directive that governs department-wide and modal administration discretionary grant programs. Such a directive should include requirements to: (1) develop a plan for evaluating project proposals in advance of issuing a notice of funding availability that defines the stages of the process, including how the process will be overseen to ensure a consistent review of applications; (2) document key decisions, including the reason for any rating changes and the officials responsible for those changes, and how high-level concerns raised during the process were addressed; and (3) align stated program purpose and policy priorities with the evaluation and selection process.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2018, DOT has concurred with this recommendation and plans to address it by September 30, 2018 through updating its Financial Assistance Guidance Manual. In order to fully implement this recommendation, DOT needs to issue a directive that incorporates all of the elements identified in our report.
    Recommendation: To better address FTA's stated policy priority of regional resilience and to minimize fragmentation of federal efforts, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FTA Administrator to (a) examine the projects FTA funded under the Disaster Relief Appropriations Act of 2013 (DRAA) discretionary transit resilience grant program for potential duplication with other resilience efforts and (b) determine whether it is appropriate to realign funds for FTA-supported projects for other purposes authorized under the DRAA, or request a rescission of funds for any of the FTA-supported projects.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of April 2018, FTA reported that it had undertaken a study and coordinated with federal agency coordination groups to determine whether there is any potential duplication of resilience efforts in the region, as GAO recommended. Completing this study was the first step in identifying cases where FTA-supported projects may need to be revised or may no longer be needed. GAO is reviewing this study.
    Director: James Cosgrove
    Phone: (202) 512-7114

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to assess the feasibility of updating the agency's study on the effect of VA-provided Medicare-covered services on per capita county Medicare FFS spending rates by obtaining VA utilization and diagnosis data for veterans enrolled in Medicare FFS under its existing data use agreement or by other means as necessary.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In July 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reiterated its disagreement with our recommendation. HHS stated that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) uses Medicare fee-or-service(FFS) spending rates when setting the benchmark, which excludes services provided by Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) facilities. In addition, HHS stated that incorporating VA utilization and diagnosis data into CMS's analysis may not materially improve the analysis and the resulting adjustment. HHS indicated that it will continue to review the need for incorporating additional data or for methodology changes in the future. As we note in the report, only VA's utilization and diagnosis data can account for services provided by and diagnoses made by VA. Depending on the number and mix of services provided by and the diagnoses made by VA, risk-adjusted Medicare FFS spending for veterans may either be higher or lower than it would be if CMS accounted for VA-provided services and diagnoses. Therefore, relying exclusively on Medicare FFS spending to estimate the effect of VA spending on Medicare FFS-enrolled veterans could result in an inaccurate estimate of how VA spending on services for Medicare FFS-enrolled veterans affects per capita county Medicare FFS spending. While there may be challenges associated with incorporating VA utilization and diagnosis data into CMS's analysis, we maintain that CMS should work to do so given the implications that not incorporating the data may have on the accuracy of payment to MA plans.
    Recommendation: If CMS makes an adjustment to the benchmark to account for VA spending on Medicare-covered services, the Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of CMS to assess whether an additional adjustment to MA payments is needed to ensure that payments to MA plans are equitable for veterans and nonveterans.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)has proposed adjusting the benchmark for 2017 to account for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) spending on Medicare-covered services. As of July 2016, HHS had not yet completed its assessment of whether an additional adjustment to MA payments is needed to ensure that payment to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans are equitable for veterans and nonveterans. In order to close this recommendation, CMS will need to complete its assessment.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To assist DOD in determining whether CIPP is meeting its intended purpose of enhancing retention and providing greater flexibility in the career path of servicemembers, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, in collaboration with the service secretaries, to develop and implement a plan to evaluate the pilot that includes key features such as well-defined, clear, and measurable objectives and standards for determining pilot-program performance.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Defense (DOD) concurred with our recommendation, and recognized the importance of developing well defined measures to evaluate the effectiveness and utility of the career intermission pilot program (CIPP). In November 2015, DOD acknowledged receipt of our final report and noted that its position on the report has not changed since providing official written comments. In May 2017, we issued GAO-17-623R, which provided an update to the CIPP participant data in our initial report, and noted that DOD had not established performance measures in response to our recommendation. As of September 2017, DOD had still not developed these measures, noting the program was still in a pilot stage, and the final consolidated report due to Congress in June 2023 will include narratives from the service secretaries discussing the effectiveness and value of the program.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA's organizational structure helps the agency meet its mission, the SBA Administrator should document the assessment of the agency's organizational structure, including any necessary changes to, for example, better ensure areas of authority, responsibility, and lines of reporting are clear and defined.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, SBA sent us a letter documenting its assessment of the work of a contractor hired to examine its organizational structure and actions it had decided to take regarding the agency's organizational structure. We are reviewing this letter to determine if it fully responds to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's program and management guidance, the SBA Administrator should set time frames for periodically reviewing and updating its SOPs as appropriate.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, SBA updated its standard operating procedure (SOP) on issuing directives, including SOPs. The updated SOP calls for an annual certification of SOPs. The head of each program office is required to certify in writing as to the status of SOPs that have previously been issued by his/her office. If the SOP is currently being revised, or being canceled, the office head must provide a date by which this process is expected to be completed. SBA officials told us in October 2017 that they had successfully completed the 2017 certification process. We are awaiting documentation showing completion of the process.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to help ensure that SBA's IT operations and maintenance investments are continuing to meet business and customer needs and the agency's strategic goals, the SBA Administrator should direct the appropriate officials to perform an annual operational analysis on all SBA investments in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2016, SBA had not completed two of the required operational assessments.
    Director: Lori Rectanus
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better understand attributable costs for individual Parcel Select NSAs, the Postmaster General should direct the appropriate staff to identify and implement cost-effective methods, such as using a sample, to collect and study information on the costs of delivering Parcel Select packages of varying characteristics in order to develop contract-specific attributable cost estimates.

    Agency: United States Postal Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: USPS developed analysis in response to this recommendation by using a proxy for package dimension rather than a sample of customer-specific dimension data, as GAO recommended. The assumptions used in the methodology by USPS result in only minor cost differences regardless of the dimension or weight of packages shipped under individual Parcel Select NSAs. As of June 13, 2017, this recommendation remains open pending additional discussions with USPS about its methodology and results.
    Director: Kingsbury, Nancy R
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to effectively implement key elements of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should ensure that control testing methodology and results fully meet the intent of the control objectives being tested.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: During the audit of IRS's FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it had reviewed its security controls assessment standard operating procedure and trained contractors. While positive steps, these corrective actions did not fully address our recommendation. As part of our FY 2018 audit, we will continue to monitor the agency's progress in ensuring that its control testing methodology and results fully meet the intent of the control objectives being tested.
    Recommendation: In addition to implementing our previous recommendations, to effectively implement key elements of the IRS information security program, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should update the remedial action verification process to ensure actions are fully implemented.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: During the audit of IRS's FY 2017 financial statements, IRS indicated that it had updated its standard operating procedures for validating remedial actions and has a team in place to ensure that remedial actions are fully implemented. However, these corrective actions did not fully address our recommendation. As part of our FY 2018 audit, we will continue to monitor the agency's progress in strengthening its remedial action verification process.
    Director: Chaplain, Cristina T
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that satellites storage is fully considered at the beginning of the acquisition process for all satellite programs and sufficient detailed cost data are maintained, the Secretary of Defense should provide guidance regarding when and how to use storage in the acquisition process, and establish mechanisms so that more detailed data are maintained for use in evaluating the reasonableness of contractors' storage cost proposals and for informing DOD's oversight of satellite acquisitions.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its response to the report, DOD concurred with the recommendation and noted that it is important to develop guidance regarding the use of satellite storage in the acquisition process. In addition, DOD agreed that it is important to establish mechanisms such that more detailed data are available to evaluate storage cost proposals and inform the oversight of satellite acquisitions. In October 2015, DOD provided GAO with draft language that it planned to include in the Space Systems chapter of the Defense Acquisition Guidebook (DAG) when the final chapter was to be published. In an August 24, 2016, response to a GAO inquiry regarding the language not appearing in the on-line version of the DAG, the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics (USD/AT&L) explained that the Space Systems chapter of the DAG had been deleted. USD/AT&L stated it was working to incorporate the proposed language in the next revision of the DAG, scheduled to be completed in December 2016. A September 12, 2017, search of DOD's on-line guidance did not locate any guidance related to satellite storage. DOD liaison was contacted, but no information has been provided yet as of September 2017.
    Director: Lawrance L. Evans, Jr.
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FSOC is comprehensively identifying and considering companies, the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with FSOC members, should establish procedures to evaluate companies in Stage 2 and Stage 3 under both statutory determination standards when an evaluation in either stage concludes that a company does not meet one of the standards, or document--on a company-specific or more general basis--why the second determination standard is not relevant for determination evaluations.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2018, FSOC staff noted that FSOC had not reviewed any companies in Stage 2 or 3 since GAO issued its report. Staff also said that the Council was considering the recommendations in the November 2017 Treasury report on FSOC designations and planned to reevaluate its designation procedures accordingly. In November 2015, FSOC staff stated that FSOC had not adopted formal changes to implement this recommendation but would continue to work to identify and evaluate potential changes to its practices and procedures.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that FSOC is comprehensively identifying and considering companies, the Secretary of the Treasury in consultation with FSOC members, should develop a process to collect information necessary for Stage 1 analysis, as appropriate, from certain nonbank financial companies for which public or regulatory information is otherwise unavailable. For example, FSOC could have companies for which such information is unavailable and that meet certain characteristics (such as quantitative thresholds similar to those used in Stage 1) report necessary information to the Office of Financial Research.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Financial Stability Oversight Council
    Status: Open

    Comments: In February 2018, FSOC staff stated that the Council was considering the recommendations in the November 2017 Treasury report on FSOC designations and planned to reevaluate its designation procedures accordingly. In November 2015, FSOC staff stated that FSOC was reviewing potential ways to supplement the existing public and regulatory information available to identify companies for evaluation in Stage 1.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: 202-512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should establish additional accountability measures for management of the TIGER program to (1) establish clear procedures for addressing late-arriving applications and communicate its decisions to either accept or reject these applications to the public, and (2) document and approve major decisions in the application evaluation and project selection process through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism that provides a clear rationale for decisions to: (a) advance for senior review applications other than those rated as highly recommended; (b) not advance applications rated as highly recommended; and (c) change the technical evaluation rating of an application.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO reviewed DOT's TIGER application evaluation process for the 2014 and 2015 funding rounds and found that DOT established guidance that it would no longer accept late-arriving TIGER applications and it improved its internal procedures for documenting major decisions in its application evaluation database, including decisions to advance for senior review applications other than those rated as "highly recommended." However, DOT did not document these procedures through a decision memorandum or similar mechanism to ensure a consistent and transparent process for approving major decisions in these and future TIGER rounds. Moreover, in reviewing the 2015 TIGER application evaluation process, GAO noted that DOT altered its procedures for evaluating applications while the review process was ongoing. According to DOT's Financial Assistance Guidance Manual, grant evaluations must be conducted in accordance with the evaluation plan created prior to the announcement, and may not be changed once applications have been received. As of August 2017, the Department's Inspector General is conducting an audit of the TIGER program to assess DOT's application evaluation procedures. GAO will review the Inspector General's findings when they become available.
    Director: Andrew Sherrill
    Phone: (202) 512-7215

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure servicemember participation in and completion of TAP, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to require that all services provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command, similar to that provided by the Army and Air Force. Such information could be used to help hold leaders accountable for ensuring TAP participation and completion.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: Although DOD disagreed with this recommendation, it has taken steps to make TAP participation information available at the installation and unit-command level. Specifically, in November 2016, DOD launched a new system to electronically collect TAP-related data: the TAP-IT Enterprise System. DOD officials said this system will allow the services to generate installation and unit-level data reports once fully operational. This system is currently being used at all installations to collect data on VOW compliance and Career Readiness Standards attainment. However, installation and unit-command specific reports describing TAP performance levels may not be available until October 2018, according to a senior DOD official. We continue to believe that providing unit-level data to commanders is needed because these commanders are responsible for ensuring that eligible servicemembers have full access to and successfully complete required TAP components. Consequently, providing commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command could promote accountability and oversight. Servicemember participation in TAP is generally required by law and DOD policy, and also relates to a Cross-Agency Priority Goal, reinforcing the need for such a mechanism. For GAO to close this recommendation, DOD should require all services to provide unit commanders and their leaders information on TAP participation levels of servicemembers under their command.
    Recommendation: To provide information on the extent to which the revamped TAP is effective, the Secretary of Defense should direct the Under Secretary for Personnel and Readiness to work with the partner agencies to develop a written strategy for determining which components and tracks to evaluate and the most appropriate evaluation methods. This strategy should include a plan to use the results of evaluations to modify or redesign the program, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD has partially addressed GAO's recommendation on evaluating the effectiveness of the revamped TAP, information that is currently limited. DOD's 2016 presentation to OMB on the status of TAP implementation and evaluation efforts lists specific TAP components and tracks in which VA, DOL, and SBA planned to assess TAP effectiveness or post-transition outcomes. In June 2016, the Small Business Administration released results of an evaluation on the Boots to Business program (White Paper: Operation Boots to Business Veteran Entrepreneurship Assessment). According to DOL officials, the agency has an ongoing quasi-experimental TAP evaluation of the employment workshop. Further, VA is in the process of contracting for a survey of veterans that will include questions regarding the transition services received under TAP, according to agency officials. However, DOD and the agencies have not fully demonstrated a strategic approach to planning higher level evaluations. GAO will consider the recommendation met once the TAP evaluation plan articulates a strategy to rigorously evaluate TAP's impact on post-program outcomes and specifies how the interagency partners plan to use the results of any evaluations.
    Director: Fleming, Susan A
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the CSA program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to revise the SMS methodology to better account for limitations in drawing comparisons of safety performance information across carriers; in doing so, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to conduct a formal analysis that specifically identifies: (1) limitations in the data used to calculate SMS scores including variability in the carrier population and the quality and quantity of data available for carrier safety performance assessments, and (2) limitations in the resulting SMS scores including their precision, confidence, and reliability for the purposes for which they are used.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: FMCSA did not agree with our recommendation, disputing the methodology and conclusions in our report. However, we continue to believe that addressing Safety Measurement System (SMS) methodology limitations has merit and could help the agency better target FMCSA's resources to the carriers that pose the highest risk of crashing. For example, we found FMCSA requires a minimum level of information for a carrier to receive an SMS score; however, this requirement is not strong enough to produce sufficiently reliable scores. As a result, FMCSA identified many carriers as high risk that were not later involved in a crash, potentially causing FMCSA to miss opportunities to intervene with higher risk carriers. To fully implement this recommendation, FMCSA should revise SMS methodology to account for data limitations that limit comparisons so that the FMCSA is better positioned to identify and mitigate carriers that pose the greatest safety risks.
    Recommendation: To improve the CSA program, the Secretary of Transportation should direct the FMCSA Administrator to ensure that any determination of a carrier's fitness to operate properly accounts for limitations we have identified regarding safety performance information.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) agreed with the basic principles that GAO addressed in this area, but disagreed with GAO's characterization of FMCSA's proposed Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rule. In January 2016, FMCSA issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM), which proposed a revised methodology for issuance of a safety fitness determination for motor carriers. Specifically, the new methodology would have determined when a motor carrier is not fit to operate commercial motor vehicles in or affecting interstate commerce based on the carrier's on-road safety data; an investigation; or a combination of both. However, in March 2017 FMCSA withdrew the NPRM. The Department plans, in part, to review the National Academies of Sciences (NAS) congressionally-mandated evaluation of SMS to determine whether further rulemaking action is necessary to revise the safety fitness determination process.
    Director: St James, Lorelei
    Phone: (202) 512-2834

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: Because USPS faces a deteriorating financial situation, and to help ensure that future promotions generate net revenue for USPS, the Chairman of the PRC should direct staff to evaluate USPS's data collection and analysis plans for USPS's proposed mail promotions and discuss these evaluations in the PRC decisions for those mail promotions.

    Agency: Postal Regulatory Commission
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) said that it agreed with our recommendation. PRC has also noted the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is not required by statute to collect data on promotions and provide it to PRC. Based on the information it received, PRC approved USPS's Calendar Year 2017 promotions. However, USPS did not provide PRC with information regarding its plans to estimate the net financial results of the proposed promotions, as we recommended. As no such information was received, no evaluation of these plans was prepared by PRC, and this recommendation remains open.
    Director: Trimble, David C
    Phone: (202)512-9338

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To increase EPA's consistency, transparency, and clarity in implementing the Safe Drinking Water Act in a way that better assures the public of safe drinking water, and to systematically implement the statutory requirement to consider for regulation the contaminants that present the greatest public health concern, the EPA Administrator should require that the Office of Water to develop a coordinated process for obtaining both the occurrence and health effects data that may be needed for the agency to make informed regulatory determinations on these priority contaminants.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2017, while EPA cited the January 2016 document, "EPA's Protocol for the Regulatory Determinations 3," that includes clearer, more explicit description of the occurrence data EPA uses and the health assessment sources, it does not address the recommendation's intent that EPA develop a coordinated process for obtaining both the occurrence and health effects data that may be needed for the agency to make informed regulatory determinations on priority contaminants. Since most, if not all of the sources cited are data that EPA was using at the time the report was issued, GAO is keeping this recommendation open. As GAO reported, the approach EPA currently uses does not provide the agency with all of the data it needs in a timely manner to support determinations for some priority contaminants.
    Recommendation: In light of EPA's decisions to issue health advisories in conjunction with determinations to not regulate certain contaminants that have been detected in some public water systems at levels of public health concern, the EPA Administrator should (1) determine whether the Office of Water's use of health advisories provides sufficient information on these unregulated contaminants to support timely and effective actions by states, localities, public water systems, and the public to ensure the safety of public drinking water, and (2) if not, direct the Office of Water to develop a plan to more effectively communicate such information to these entities.

    Agency: Environmental Protection Agency
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of May 2017, EPA indicated that its Drinking Water Standards and Health Advisories tables provide a summary of previously published concentrations of drinking water contaminants that are protective of public health, and that the agency periodically updates these tables to summarize health advisories and regulations published to date. Since the table was last updated in 2012, and work is underway to revise it and make the information more accessible, GAO will monitor EPA's progress before closing this recommendation.
    Director: White, James R
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to ensure the most efficient, fair, and consistent administration of civil tax penalties, and that penalties are achieving their purpose of encouraging voluntary compliance, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct the Office of Servicewide Penalties (OSP) to evaluate penalty administration and penalties' effect on voluntary compliance.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Servicewide Penalties (OSP) initiated a plan to comprehensively evaluate penalty administration and the impact of penalties on voluntary compliance. They stated that they understand such a plan will be useful in identifying priorities and determining additional potential resource needs. However, OSP put this plan on hold while they developed a business case for obtaining more staff and resources. OSP is in the process of obtaining feedback to refine their business case for final submission. While they await approval of the business case they have not done any work on the comprehensive plan. As the comprehensive plan remains incomplete, OSP has not yet undertaken an evaluation of penalties' effect on voluntary compliance. In December 2011 OSP formed a Civil Penalties Administrative Improvement Initiative team that has the goal of making improvements to civil penalty administration. Activities underway as of February 2013 include developing measures to improve taxpayer consistency and taking actions to improve the Reasonable Cause Assistant computer system. We learned in February 2015 that the program is now under a new executive. When we met with the new agency officials in April 2015 they told us that they had a new effort underway to develop a comprehensive strategy that examines the impact of penalties on voluntary compliance while ensuring quality. IRS finalized a Penalty Performance Plan on March 6, 2017, which we are currently reviewing.
    Recommendation: In order to ensure the most efficient, fair, and consistent administration of civil tax penalties, and that penalties are achieving their purpose of encouraging voluntary compliance, the Commissioner of Internal Revenue should direct OSP to develop and implement a plan to collect and analyze penalty-related data. The plan should address the constraints officials have identified as impeding progress in analyzing penalties.

    Agency: Department of the Treasury: Internal Revenue Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: Office of Servicewide Penalties (OSP) initiated a plan to comprehensively evaluate penalty administration and the impact of penalties on voluntary compliance. However, OSP put this plan on hold while they developed a business case for obtaining more staff and resources. As of February 2013 the business case has not progressed and OSP has taken no additional action to complete the comprehensive plan. We learned in February 2015 that the program is now under a new executive. When we met with the new agency officials in April 2015 they told us that they had a new effort underway to develop a comprehensive strategy that examines the impact of penalties on voluntary compliance while ensuring quality. IRS finalized a Penalty Performance Plan on March 6, 2017, which we are currently reviewing.