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.
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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 1, 2020, there are 4994 open recommendations, of which 380 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.
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Recommendation: To help improve DOE's ability to take enforcement action against unlawful retaliation when appropriate and take action against contractors that create a chilled work environment, the Secretary of Energy should revise DOE's Integrated Safety Management policy and guidance to clarify what constitutes evidence of a chilled work environment and define the appropriate steps DOE should take to hold contractors accountable for creating a chilled work environment.
Agency: Department of Energy Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: DOE concurred with the recommendation. In January 2018, DOE issued a revision to DOE Policy 450.4A. The revised policy states that organizations should foster a culture that allows employees to "feel free to raise safety concerns without fear of retaliation...and supporting a questioning attitude concerning safety by all employees." However, the policy does not define the appropriate steps DOE should take to hold contractors accountable for creating a chilled work environment. We will continue to work with DOE to determine whether they plan to make additional changes to the policy to address our recommendation.
Recommendation: To ensure that all BIE schools are positioned to address safety and health problems with their facilities and provide student environments that are free from hazards, the Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs to develop a plan to build schools' capacity to promptly address safety and health problems with facilities. Such a plan could prioritize assistance to schools to improve the expertise of facility staff to maintain and repair school buildings.
Agency: Department of the Interior Status: Open Priority recommendation
Comments: Interior agreed with this recommendation. In June 2018, Indian Affairs provided us with documentation on its efforts to build schools' capacity to address safety and health problems with facilities. In particular, the agency updated its Service Level Agreement between BIA and BIE, which details their roles and responsibilities for inspecting and providing technical assistance to BIE schools, among other areas. However, Indian Affairs' documents provided little information on how it planned to support BIE school personnel in fixing safety hazards in their facilities. In our 2016 report, we found that school personnel often lack the necessary technical expertise, time, and resources to address safety hazards in school buildings. Further, the agency did not include information on whether it has staffed regional offices with specialists to assist schools with safety and facility issues. In February 2020, agency officials said that they had not taken further actions to implement the recommendation and indicated that no office or official was currently responsible for coordinating efforts to implement the recommendation.