GAO’s recommendations database contains report recommendations that still need to be addressed. GAO’s priority recommendations are those that we believe warrant priority attention. We sent letters to the heads of key departments and agencies, urging them to continue focusing on these issues. Below you can search only priority recommendations, or search all recommendations.

Our recommendations help congressional and agency leaders prepare for appropriations and oversight activities, as well as help improve government operations. Moreover, when implemented, some of our priority recommendations can save large amounts of money, help Congress make decisions on major issues, and substantially improve or transform major government programs or agencies, among other benefits.

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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Results:

Federal Agency: "Office of Personnel Management"

8 publications with a total of 13 priority recommendations
Director: Yvonne D. Jones
Phone: (202) 512-2717

1 open priority recommendation
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
Priority recommendation

Comments: OPM partially concurred with the recommendation and said that by August 2018, OPM would (1) track Governmentwide data to establish a baseline of agency use of the seven Title 5 special payment authorities by occupation with a focus on mission-critical occupations; and (2) work with the CHCO Council to determine what changes may be needed to improve the seven authorities' effectiveness. OPM said agencies are in the best position to analyze the extent to which special pay authorities, when used in conjunction with other human resources flexibilities, improve their ability to recruit and retain their employees. However, we noted that by working with the agencies through the CHCO Council, OPM would be better positioned to track government-wide data to analyze the extent to which Title 5 special payment authorities improve employee recruitment and retention. We will continue to update the status of OPM's actions to implement this recommendation as OPM provides related documents.
Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
Phone: (202) 512-6244

2 open priority recommendations
Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should improve the timeliness of validating evidence associated with actions taken to address the US-CERT recommendations.

Agency: Office of Personnel Management
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: OPM partially concurred with the recommendation. The agency asserts it is working on making improvements to its automated system to further support its remedial action management processes, including timely closure. OPM has established metrics for timeliness, and expects to create a baseline for measuring performance before the end of fiscal year 2018. As of August 2018, OPM had not yet provided evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
Recommendation: To further improve security over personnel and other sensitive information at the agency, the Acting Director of OPM should develop and implement role-based training requirements for staff using Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation tools.

Agency: Office of Personnel Management
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: OPM concurred with the recommendation. The agency plans to implement role-based training for staff who use Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation tools, with an expected completion date before the end of fiscal year 2018. As of August 2018, OPM had not yet provided evidence that it has implemented the recommendation.
Director: Nancy Kingsbury
Phone: (202) 512-2700

2 open 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 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.
Director: Robert Goldenkoff
Phone: (202) 512-2757

1 open priority recommendation
Recommendation: To help strengthen the government's ability to compete in the labor market for top talent, and to improve the federal hiring process, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council, should use this information to determine whether opportunities exist to refine, consolidate, eliminate, or expand agency-specific authorities to other agencies and implement changes where OPM is authorized, including seeking presidential authorization (as necessary) in order to do so. In cases where legislation would be necessary to implement changes, OPM should work with the CHCO Council to develop legislative proposals.

Agency: Office of Personnel Management
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: As of July 2018, OPM had taken some action to identify opportunities to streamline hiring authorities and improve the hiring system. For example, in December 2017, OPM said it plans, as part of its strategic planning efforts, to start a project to review its hiring authority data and take an inventory of the authorities used by agencies. In addition, in its July 2018 study on excepted service hiring authorities, OPM identified possible opportunities to streamline authorities--based on some with either low or no use and others with similar purposes--and outlined planned actions it would take to promote a more effective and efficient hiring process government-wide. These plans include collaborating with agencies to review agency-unique authorities for streamlining opportunities. OPM's actions and future plans are positive steps forward that could help streamline hiring authorities and improve the hiring process. GAO will continue to monitor OPM's progress in implementing its planned actions.
Director: Gregory C. Wilshusen
Phone: (202) 512-6244

3 open priority recommendations
Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should update security plans for selected systems to ensure that all controls specific to high-impact systems are addressed, including a rationale if the control is not implemented, and where other plans are cross-referenced, ensure that the other system's plan appropriately addresses the control.

Agency: Office of Personnel Management
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: OPM concurred with our recommendation. The agency intends to migrate security plans to an automated system in order to improve management of security controls. OPM expects to complete this action in fiscal year 2018.
Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should provide and track specialized training for all individuals, including contractors, who have significant security responsibilities.

Agency: Office of Personnel Management
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: OPM concurred with our recommendation. As of July 2018, OPM was in the process of reviewing its procedures for identifying employees and contractors who directly access its information systems and reviewing the training requirements for those individuals, as well as specialized training requirements, and how compliance is tracked.
Recommendation: To improve agency information security programs, Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management should re-evaluate security control assessments to ensure that they comprehensively test technical controls.

Agency: Office of Personnel Management
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: OPM did not concur with our recommendation. OPM is developing additional standards for evaluating technical-controls testing and will incorporate these standards into its oversight of security assessments, once the standards are complete. Subsequent to OPM informing us that it has re-evaluated tests of technical controls, we plan to verify the agency's actions.
Director: Robert Goldenkoff
Phone: (202) 512-2757

2 open 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: Robert Goldenkoff
Phone: (202) 512-2757

1 open 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: In September 2018, OPM reported that the outreach has begun, for example, OPM has convened working groups and classification policy forums with CHCO Council agencies regarding GS system strategies and best practices. OPM also reported that it is conducting short term classification studies, as well as a finalizing compliance study regarding a particular job series. Finally, OPM reported it has several initiatives in progress including the cancellation of more than 40 underutilized occupational series. We will continue to follow-up on this recommendation.
Director: Robert Goldenkoff
Phone: (202) 512-2757

1 open priority recommendation
Recommendation: To create a more effective human capital system that is more responsive to managing priorities and future workforce needs, the Director of OPM, in conjunction with the CHCO Council, should explore the feasibility of expanded use of enterprise solutions to more efficiently and effectively address shared or government-wide human capital challenges. Such actions could include: (1) seeking cost savings and improved functionality through coordinated government-wide Human Resources Information Technology planning and acquisition, (2) seeking agency input to ensure OPM's workforce planning tools provide effective guidance for agencies, and (3) sharing workforce planning lessons learned and successful models across the government.

Agency: Office of Personnel Management
Status: Open
Priority recommendation

Comments: In April 2017, OPM officials said it had developed some enterprise solutions to address shared or government-wide human capital challenges. For example, OPM officials said it created a multi-factor model workforce planning tool to assess the risk of agency-specific mission-critical occupations. Officials said this tool is the foundation for any good workforce planning process to better understand which MCOs require the greatest attention. Officials said the model was drafted from input from an intra-agency workgroup, was beta tested with a workforce planning workgroup consisting of the majority of CFO Act agencies and finally approved by the full Chief Human Capital Officer's Council. This tool was then used by agencies to identify their agency-specific high risk MCOs. OPM officials said they plan to use this model to develop other tools. We believe this tool represents an important step forward in identifying enterprise tools and will continue to monitor OPM's continued efforts. To fully implement the recommendation, OPM needs to demonstrate continued progress in addressing government-wide human capital challenges, which may be evidenced by OPM's efforts to address priorities related to spurring productivity and organizational success within the Federal Workforce Priorities Report, as well as continued implementation of initiatives to support enterprise solutions already underway.