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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Federal workforce"

    10 publications with a total of 22 open recommendations including 6 priority recommendations
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-2717

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of OPM, together with the CHCO Council, should track government-wide data to establish a baseline and analyze the extent to which the seven Title 5 special payment authorities are effective in improving employee recruitment and retention, and determine what potential changes may be needed to improve the seven authorities' effectiveness. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of OPM, together with the CHCO Council, should provide guidance on assessing effectiveness and tools--such as best practices or frequently asked questions--for the range of Title 5 special payment authorities. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should establish documented procedures to assess special payment authority requests requiring OPM approval and periodically review approval procedures to consider ways to streamline them. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Nancy Kingsbury
    Phone: (202) 512-2700

    5 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To support its strategic and open data goals, the Director of OPM should improve the availability of the EHRI payroll data--for example, by preparing the data for analytics, making them available through online tools such as FedScope, and including them among the EHRI data sources on the OPM website and Data.gov.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On 4/21/2017 OPM provided a status update based on our inclusion of this rec in the priority rec letter. "As communicated in our December 6, 2017, letter to the Comptroller General, OPM is developing a comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics. We have started an effort to standardize payroll data elements by engaging with the payroll subject matter experts through the shared service providers. We will keep GAO informed as we make additional progress."
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls for data quality, the Director of OPM should update EHRI payroll database documentation to be consistent with current field definitions and requirements, including the Guide to Human Resources Reporting and the Guide to Data Standards, Part B.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve internal controls for data quality, the Director of OPM should consistently monitor system-generated error and edit check reports and ensure that timely action is taken to address identified issues.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: On 4/21/17 OPM provided an update to their 60 day letter in response to our inclusion of this rec in the priority letter to OPM. Very soon, we will begin implementing follow-up activities with shared service centers and agencies regarding issues identified with the payroll data they submit to EHRI. We are also evaluating the feasibility of incorporating automated methods to validate agency data, to the extent possible. We will keep GAO informed as we make additional progress.
    Recommendation: To integrate the payroll data into the larger suite of EHRI databases, the Director of OPM should develop a schedule for executing these plans.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Recommendation: To integrate the payroll data into the larger suite of EHRI databases, the Director of OPM should evaluate existing internal control activities and develop new control activities for EHRI payroll data, such as implementing transactional edit checks that leverage the information in the other EHRI datasets.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: No specific updates on this rec, but it would be addressed in the "comprehensive strategy to improve the availability of EHRI payroll data for analytics" that is noted in OPM's response to the priority recommendation.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure HHS has reliable data on SGEs not serving on federal boards, the Secretary of HHS should take steps to improve the reliability of data on SGEs not serving on boards. For example, the agency could reconcile human capital data with general counsel and ethics office data, or issue clarifying guidance to human capital staff on appropriately identifying SGEs in human capital databases.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In October 2016, HHS submitted its action plan to address GAO's recommendations. HHS stated the agency is currently reviewing its internal policies and procedures related to the hiring of special government employees not serving on boards to identify policy options that might improve data reliability. In January 2017, the Office of Government Ethics issued its Ethics Program Review of HHS and commented on ongoing and planned efforts by HHS to address challenges associated with identifying Special Government Employees who do not serve on federal advisory committees. Ongoing efforts include internal coordination between the Office of General Counsel-Ethics Division and human resource officials to implement new requirements based on 5 CFR part 2638. We are following up with HHS to determine the status of actions on the new requirements.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report consistent and reliable data, the Director of OGE should determine (e.g., through a survey of Designated Agency Ethics Officials and/or by analyzing agency data) whether other executive branch agencies are experiencing data challenges similar to HHS, State, and NRC. If they are, the Director should take steps to help the agencies strengthen their data.

    Agency: Office of Government Ethics
    Status: Open

    Comments: In 2016 and 2017, OGE reported on action taken to address coordination and data challenges agencies face in fulfilling ethics program requirements for Special Government Employees. In 2016, OGE published a final rule amending its regulations that govern executive branch ethics programs found at 5 CFR Part 2638. OGE reported that this regulation will help agencies strengthen their data and address concerns raised by agencies with regard to human resource coordination. In February 2017, OGE reported on results of a survey of executive branch ethics officials and concluded that based on agency responses, OGE does not believe executive branch agencies are experiencing systematic challenges in connection with data regarding Expert/Consultant SGEs. OGE reported the survey results show that information regarding the hiring and designation of SGEs is primarily within the control of human resource officials and described steps taken by OGE to strengthen the relationship between human resources and agency ethics officials. We are following up with OGE actions taken to improve internal coordination between ethics and human resource officials at executive branch agencies as required by the amended regulations.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the ability of agencies to deal with poor performers and to help ensure supervisors obtain the skills needed to effectively conduct performance management responsibilities, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council and, as appropriate, with key stakeholders such as federal employee labor unions, should assess the adequacy of leadership training that agencies provide to supervisors.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: According to OPM officials, as of July 2017, OPM conducted a survey and recently completed the survey analysis. OPM is in in the development phase for the second part of the study - stakeholder interviews. The survey data is being used to inform the interview protocol. The stakeholder interviews are scheduled to begin in mid-August 2017. The comprehensive report will tentatively begin OPM's internal review process by the end of fiscal year 2017.
    Recommendation: To help strengthen the ability of agencies to deal with poor performers and to more effectively ensure that agencies have a well-qualified cadre of supervisors capable of effectively addressing poor performance, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council and, as appropriate, with key stakeholders such as federal employee labor unions, should determine if promising practices at some agencies should be more widely used government-wide. Such practices include (1) extending the supervisory probationary period beyond 1-year to include at least one full employee appraisal cycle; (2) providing detail opportunities or rotational assignments to supervisory candidates prior to promotion, where the candidate can develop and demonstrate supervisory competencies; and (3) using a dual career ladder structure as a way to advance employees who may have particular technical skills and/or education but who are not interested in or inclined to pursue a management or supervisory track.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In October 2016, OPM told us they were holding meetings to determine how to respond to this recommendation. As of June 2017, we are continuing to monitor OPM's progress in implementing this recommendation.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that OPM builds the predictive capacity to identify emerging skills gaps across the government--including the ability to collect and use reliable information on the competencies of the federal workforce for government-wide workforce analysis--the Director of OPM should (1) establish a schedule specifying when OPM will modify its Enterprise Human Resources Integration database to capture staffing data that it currently collects from agencies through its annual workforce data reporting process; and (2) work with agency CHCOs to bolster the ability of agencies to assess workforce competencies by sharing competency surveys, lessons learned, and other tools and resources.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of January 2018, officials reported that OPM has developed a workforce competency assessment tool that it is piloting internally in 2018 and piloting with several agencies beginning in FY 2019. According to OPM, agencies will be able to use this tool to incorporate self-assessments, managerial assessments, and related gap analyses as they implement competency assessments across a range of occupations. Additionally, OPM reported that it is working to modify its Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) personnel database to allow for real-time updates on mission-critical occupation (MCO) staffing data. Finalizing a schedule for this, as well as expanding upon current pilot efforts with the workforce competency assessment tool, would allow OPM and agencies to better predict emerging skills gaps.
    Recommendation: To help agencies and OPM better monitor progress toward closing skills gaps within agencies and government-wide, the Director of OPM should (1) work with the CHCO Council to develop a core set of metrics that all agencies should use as part of their HRstat data-driven reviews; and (2) coordinate with FAST personnel and explore the feasibility of collecting information needed by FAST as part of agencies' HRstat reviews.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of January 2018, officials reported that OPM is planning to use its annual Human Capital Reviews with agencies--a codified feature of December 2016 revisions to the human capital regulation--to discuss HRstat metrics. Officials noted that they would encourage agencies to align, when appropriate, the government-wide and agency-specific metrics they track as part of informal quarterly reporting to OPM on mission-critical skills gaps (such as time-to-hire, employee satisfaction, and retention) with the metrics used for this formal reporting process through HRstat. Aligning HRstat metrics with agencies' skill gap measurement strategies could result in a core suite of government-wide metrics while still respecting the need for agency-specific variations. Doing so would also provide OPM and individual agency leaders alike a greater visibility over the workforce and an improved ability to predict emerging skills gaps.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-2717

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report comparable and reliable data to Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI), the Director of OPM, in coordination with agencies and payroll service providers, should develop guidance for agencies on which activities to enter, or not enter, as paid administrative leave in agency time and attendance systems.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: To address agency use of paid administrative leave that may exceed reasonable amounts as well as discrepancies in recording and reporting paid administrative leave, in December 2016, Congress passed the "Administrative Leave Act of 2016." The act mandates new categories of paid leave, including "investigative leave," "notice leave," and "weather and safety leave" and sets limitations on the duration of paid administrative leave as well as the new categories of investigative and notice leave. The Act also requires OPM to establish regulations on (1) when to grant administrative leave and the other new categories of paid leave, and (2) the proper recording and reporting of these types of paid leave. In July 2017, OPM proposed new rules to regulate paid administrative leave, which it will finalize after the public comment period ends in August 2017. In addition, in response to our recommendation, in May 2015, OPM issued a fact sheet on administrative leave, which discusses the appropriate use of an agency's administrative leave authority, including a definition of administrative leave as well as applicable government-wide, individual agency, and emergency policies on the use of administrative leave. However, this fact sheet will need to be revised to reflect the new regulations when they are in effect. Once finalized, the proposed rules, along with updated fact sheet guidance, should help agencies and federal employees appropriately use, record, and report administrative leave. We will update the status of this recommendation once the regulations are finalized and the fact sheet guidance is revised.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that agencies report comparable and reliable data to EHRI, the Director of OPM, in coordination with agencies and payroll service providers, should provide updated and specific guidance to payroll service providers on which activities to report, or not report, to the paid administrative leave data element in EHRI.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: To address agency use of paid administrative leave that may exceed reasonable amounts as well as discrepancies in recording and reporting paid administrative leave, in December 2016, Congress passed the "Administrative Leave Act of 2016." The act mandates new categories of paid leave, including "investigative leave," "notice leave," and "weather and safety leave" and sets limitations on the duration of paid administrative leave as well as the new categories of investigative and notice leave. The Act also requires OPM to establish regulations on (1) when to grant administrative leave and the other new categories of paid leave, and (2) the proper recording and reporting of these types of paid leave. In July 2017, OPM proposed new rules to regulate paid administrative leave, which it will finalize after the public comment period ends in August 2017. OPM officials reported in June 2017 that they are working with payroll providers to revise reporting requirements. Once finalized, the proposed rules, along with updated guidance to payroll providers for reporting paid administrative leave and the new leave categories, should help agencies report comparable and reliable data to EHRI. We will update the status of this recommendation once the regulations are finalized and the guidance is revised.
    Director: Robert Goldenkoff
    Phone: (202) 512-2757

    2 open recommendations
    including 1 priority recommendation
    Recommendation: To improve the classification system and to strengthen OPM's management and oversight, the Director of OPM, working through the Chief Human Capital Officer Council, and in conjunction with key stakeholders such as the Office of Management and Budget, unions, and others, should use prior studies and lessons learned from demonstration projects and alternative systems to examine ways to make the GS system's design and implementation more consistent with the attributes of a modern, effective classification system. To the extent warranted, develop a legislative proposal for congressional consideration.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of April 2017, OPM officials said they continue to meet on a regular basis with the Interagency Classification Policy Forum group to inform strategies and action plans for implementation of general schedule system best practices. As a result, they have made changes for conducting occupational studies through various actions, including streamlining their process for conducting occupational studies. These actions include the cancellation of 21 occupational series with minimal agency use (25 or fewer Federal employees reported) and upcoming policy issuances - the Handbook of Occupational Groups and Families and the Interpretive Guidance for Cybersecurity Positions and 17 Professional Medical and Health occupational series. In addition, they have developed a methodology to streamline studies for occupational series with 1,000 or less Federal employees. OPM officials said any further action to develop a legislative proposal for congressional consideration would be contingent upon having permanent OPM leadership in place. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts.
    Recommendation: To improve the classification system and to strengthen OPM's management and oversight, the Director of OPM should develop cost-effective mechanisms to oversee agency implementation of the classification system as required by law, and develop a strategy that will enable OPM to more effectively and routinely monitor agencies' implementation of classification standards.

    Agency: Office of Personnel Management
    Status: Open

    Comments: In June 2016, OPM officials said the agency had designed several efforts to improve the classification system and strengthen oversight: (1) OPM is reviewing occupational series post studies to assess whether agencies are implementing classification policy updates and new issuances. (2) Decisions from the classification appeals program are issued to monitor implementation of classification standards. (3) The classification policy group has formalized the participation of the Merit System Accountability and Compliance group to discuss best practices in monitoring and overseeing classification policies and is planning a related classification forum. We will continue to monitor these efforts. Specifically, OPM officials said they were conducting occupational series post studies of custodians, public affairs, financial management, sustainability and other White House initiatives. We will continue to monitor OPM's efforts.
    Director: Cha, Carol R
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve planning and execution of the next telecommunications transition, the Administrator of General Services, in coordination with the Office of Personnel Management, should examine potential government-wide telecommunications expertise shortfalls and use the study to shape the NS2020 strategic approach.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration (GSA) has not addressed this recommendation. In June 2014, the agency reported that it had coordinated with OPM to incorporate key objectives in its NS2020 strategy to address and mitigate challenges with regards to government-wide expertise needed to execute the NS2020 program. However, as of May 2017, GSA had not demonstrated that it had studied potential government-wide telecommunications expertise shortfalls or used the study to shape the NS2020 strategic approach.
    Recommendation: To improve planning and execution of the next telecommunications transition, the Administrator of General Services should ensure that the lessons are applied, based on priority and available resources, to the next transition strategy.

    Agency: General Services Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The General Services Administration has not implemented this recommendation but has taken steps to address it. In April 2014, the agency developed a strategy for transitioning to the next telecommunications contract vehicle. The strategy described the lessons learned that contributed to the delay in the prior transition and identified approaches the agency planned to take to apply the lessons learned. For example, it identified high level plans for addressing the need for improved management of the complex acquisition process and the need for technical and contracting telecommunications expertise across the government. As of August 2016, GSA had prioritized the lessons learned and considered the resources needed to apply them. However, as of May 2017, the agency had not demonstrated that it had ensured that the lessons were applied, based on priority and available resources, to the next transition strategy. We will continue to monitor GSA's efforts to implement the recommendation.
    Director: Farrell, Brenda S
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve transparency of costs and the efficiency of suitability andpersonnel security clearance background investigation processes thatcould lead to cost savings, the Deputy Director for Management, Office of Management and Budget, in the capacity as Chair of the Performance Accountability Council, should expand and specify reform-related guidance to help ensure that reform stakeholders identify opportunities for cost savings, such as preventing duplication in the development of electronic case-management and adjudication technologies in the suitability determination and personnel security clearance processes.

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

    Comments: In July 2013, OMB provided GAO with an update to this recommendation. Although OMB has not yet issued guidance to help ensure that reform stakeholders identify opportunities for cost savings, OMB noted that it continues to work with Executive Agents on activities that reduce duplication in electronic case management and adjudication technologies for the suitability determination and personnel security clearance processes and provided four examples of those activities. (1)In March 2012, OMB's Office of E-Government and Information Technology began meeting with OPM regarding opportunities to enhance the functionality of non-DoD adjudicative entities that are serviced by OPM's Central Verification System, a subsystem of OPM's Personnel Investigation Processing System. (2) In March 2012, OPM provided programming language to the National Security Agency for the Electronic Questionnaire for Investigations Processing (EQIP), which the PAC previously identified as the Executive Branch solution for all investigation requests/applications. Since, NSA has begun development of a single classified automated EQIP solution for the Intelligence Community (IC). (3) In May 2012, DoD directed the consolidation of the seven non-IC DOD Central Adjudication Facilities under a single centralized authority. This more efficiently allocates adjudicative resources in a single case management system. (4) In anticipation of the IC's move to a cloud computing environment, ODNI's Special Security Directorate has begun discussion with IC components on how best to support further standardization and prevent duplication as they develop and modify IT systems to implement investigative and adjudicative training standards, respond to reporting requirements, and implement revised adjudicative guidelines. (5) The PAC, the Security Executive Agent, and DOD continue to promote the adoption of the DOD eAdjudication system (CATS) solution within other agencies across Government. The CATS e-Processing Suite (e-Delivery, e-Screening, and e-Adjudication processes) eliminates manual processes and realizes adjudicative efficiencies through the use of technology. DoD recently reported that During FY2012, e-Delivery saved the DoD approximately 590,000 hours (over 280 man-years) in employee processing and handling time, equating to a one-year salary cost avoidance of nearly $33 million. In addition, during FY2012, e-Adjudication saved the DoD approximately 57,000 hours (over 28 man years) in employee adjudication time, equating to a one-year salary cost avoidance of nearly $3.2 million. Shortly after the report was issued, OPM provided GAO with a letter dated May 25, 2012, that included its plans to address the recommendations that GAO made in GAO-12-197, to improve the transparency of the costs and efficiency of the suitability and security clearance background investigation process. Although this recommendation was geared toward the Deputy Director for Management at OMB, OPM pledged to support OMB in the implementation of this recommendation by 1) providing cost analysis data to support cost efficient Executive Branch implementation of new Federal Investigative Standards, 2) supporting standardization and consolidation of investigative systems and processes to the extent it benefits the goals of cost efficiency and reciprocity, and 3) providing recommendations for the standardization of technology supporting suitability adjudicative processes to the extent this benefits the goals of cost efficiency and reciprocity. OPM noted that, in March 2012, it provided OMB reform leadership with both cost analysis data to support the implementation of the new Federal Investigative Standards and recommendations for the standardization of technology for the consideration of OMB's e-Government experts.
    Director: Courts, Michael J
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: In order to contain costs and reduce duplication of administrative support services overseas, Congress may wish to consider requiring agencies to participate in ICASS services unless they provide a business case to show that they can obtain these services outside of ICASS without increasing overall costs to the U.S. government or that their mission cannot be achieved within ICASS.

    Agency: Congress
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of November 2018, no legislative action has yet been taken. Congress has not required agencies to participate in ICASS absent a business case that shows that they can obtain services outside ICASS without additional cost to the U.S. government, as GAO suggested in January 2012. In July 2013, legislation was introduced in the Senate directing the Secretary of State to develop a process that any agency participating in the ICASS program shall use to provide a cost analysis and justification for the agency's decision to opt out, in whole or in part, of ICASS services. Congress did not pass this legislation, passing in its stead the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, which contained no language related to ICASS. In January 2014, the joint explanatory statement regarding the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, included a direction that the Secretary of State develop, in coordination with the ICASS Service Center and participating agencies, an efficient process by which an agency participating in the ICASS program provides a cost analysis and justification for the agency's decision to opt out of any ICASS services. However, this direction does not speak to a requirement that agencies participate in ICASS absent such a justification. Action on this matter is important because continued duplication of administrative services limits ICASS's ability to achieve economies of scale and deliver services more efficiently.