Recommendations Database

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 December 7, 2021, there are 4653 open recommendations, of which 482 are priority recommendations. Recommendations remain open until they are designated as Closed-implemented or Closed-not implemented.

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1 - 15 of 15 Recommendations
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COVID-19: Sustained Federal Action Is Crucial as Pandemic Enters Its Second Year

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5 Open Recommendations
5 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct and document a fraud risk assessment for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. See Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program enclosure. (Recommendation 20)
Open

SBA agreed with the recommendation, stating that it would work to ensure that a fraud risk assessment for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program is completed. SBA stated in May 2021 that the agency has started the work to build a fraud risk framework. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation. As of September 2021, there are no additional updates.

Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should develop a strategy that outlines specific actions to address assessed fraud risks in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program on a continuous basis. See Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program enclosure. (Recommendation 21)
Open

SBA agreed with the recommendation, stating in May 2021 that it would work to ensure that fraud risks are monitored on a continuous basis. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation. As of September 2021, there are no additional updates.

Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should implement a comprehensive oversight plan to identify and respond to risks in the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program to help ensure program integrity, achieve program effectiveness, and address potential fraud. See Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program enclosure. (Recommendation 22)
Open

SBA agreed with the recommendation, stating in May 2021 that it will implement a comprehensive oversight plan. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation. As of September 2021, there are no additional updates.

Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should conduct and document a fraud risk assessment for the Paycheck Protection Program. See Paycheck Protection Program enclosure. (Recommendation 23)
Open

SBA agreed with the recommendation, stating that it would work to ensure that a fraud risk assessment for PPP is completed. According to SBA officials, as of July 2021, SBA had hired a contractor to conduct a formal fraud risk assessment and the assessment was underway.

Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should develop a strategy that outlines specific actions to monitor and manage fraud risks in the Paycheck Protection Program on a continuous basis. See Paycheck Protection Program enclosure. (Recommendation 24)
Open

SBA agreed with the recommendation, stating that it would work to ensure that fraud risks are monitored on a continuous basis. According to SBA officials, as of July 2021, SBA had begun conducting a formal fraud risk assessment, which is an important part of developing a strategy to manage fraud risks.

COVID-19: Critical Vaccine Distribution, Supply Chain, Program Integrity, and Other Challenges Require Focused Federal Attention

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should develop and implement portfolio-level data analytics across Economic Injury Disaster Loan program loans and advances made in response to COVID-19 as a means to detect potentially ineligible and fraudulent applications. (Recommendation 13)
Open

At the time of our report, SBA neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. As of May 2021, SBA officials stated that the agency was in the process of developing an analysis to apply certain fraud indicators to all application data. These fraud indicators include applicants' physical address, internet protocol address, email address, phone numbers, bank accounts, and tax identification numbers. As of September 2021, there are no additional updates.

COVID-19: Urgent Actions Needed to Better Ensure an Effective Federal Response

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should expeditiously estimate improper payments and report estimates and error rates for the Paycheck Protection Program due to concerns about the possibility that improper payments, including those resulting from fraudulent activity, could be widespread. (Recommendation 10)
Open

SBA neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendation at the time of our report. In response to our recommendation, SBA stated that it was planning to conduct improper payment testing for PPP and that it takes improper payments seriously. SBA officials stated that SBA had submitted a sampling plan to the Office of Management and Budget in February 2021. In July 2021, they said that SBA would use this sampling plan to estimate both improper payments and error rates for PPP in the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021. They noted in August 2021 that SBA would officially report the improper

Covid-19: Opportunities to Improve Federal Response and Recovery Efforts

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should develop and implement plans to identify and respond to risks in the Paycheck Protection Program to ensure program integrity, achieve program effectiveness, and address potential fraud, including in loans of $2 million or less. (Recommendation 3)
Open

At the time of our report, SBA neither agreed nor disagreed with our recommendation. As we reported in September 2020, SBA had said that it planned to review all PPP loans of $2 million or more and further stated that it may review any PPP loan it deems appropriate, including loans of less than $2 million. In late December 2020, SBA provided a Loan Review Plan outlining steps it planned to take to review PPP loans. The document describes three steps in the process: automated screenings of all loans, manual reviews of selected loans, and quality control reviews to ensure the quality

Small Business Administration: Disaster Loan Processing Was Timelier, but Planning Improvements and Pilot Program Evaluation Needed

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Associate Administrator for the Office of Disaster Assistance should identify the key elements of a disaster action plan and provide additional guidance to staff on how to incorporate these elements into future action plans. (Recommendation 2)
Open

SBA agreed with the recommendation. According to SBA, the agency is reviewing existing action plans and will be identifying critical elements to incorporate in the revised disaster action plan. SBA plans to create a template of key elements to be included in large-scale disaster action plans by the end of fiscal year 2021.

Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Associate Administrator for the Office of Disaster Assistance should identify and document risks associated with its disaster response and plans to mitigate these risks in its disaster planning documentation. (Recommendation 1)
Open

SBA agreed with the recommendation. SBA noted that relevant agency offices would collaborate to identify and document known risks associated with SBA's disaster response and implement a risk-informed approach to its direct response and recovery operations. According to SBA, the agency intends to conduct economic hazard planning sessions to discuss regionally specific risks associated with natural disasters in late calendar year 2021. SBA expects to fully incorporate the findings from these sessions and lessons learned from its Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria responses in its 2023 Disaster

Small Business Administration: Export Promotion Grant Program Should Better Ensure Compliance with Law and Help States Make Full Use of Funds

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The SBA Administrator should establish a process that ensures documentation of states' compliance with the total match requirement before grant closeout. (Recommendation 1)
Open

SBA generally agreed with GAO's findings and concurred with our recommendations. In response to our draft report, agency officials said SBA will establish a process that ensures documentation of state recipients' compliance with the total match requirement before grant closeout. In December 2020, SBA officials told us they were continuing to work on addressing this recommendation by developing a Match Assurance Process (MAP) that will track all match requirements. SBA told us the MAP will ensure total match requirements are monitored and managed each quarter, and met at closeout . In April

Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The SBA Administrator should develop a process to determine states' compliance with the cash match requirement. (Recommendation 2)
Open

SBA generally agreed with our findings and concurred with our recommendations. In response to our draft report, agency officials said they would develop a process to determine state's compliance with the cash match requirement. In December 2020, SBA officials told us they were continuing to work on addressing this recommendation by developing a Match Assurance Process (MAP) that will track all match requirements. SBA told us the MAP will ensure cash match requirements are monitored and managed each quarter, and met at closeout. In April 2021, SBA officials provided initial information about

Small Business Loans: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Compliance with the Credit Elsewhere Requirement

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of SBA should analyze information on lenders' use of credit elsewhere criteria obtained from its reviews to identify lenders that may be at greater risk of noncompliance and to inform its selection of lenders for further review for credit elsewhere compliance. (Recommendation 3)
Open

For the second and third recommendations, related to lender's use of the credit elsewhere criteria as part of its monitoring of lender practices, on June 11, 2019, SBA provided information on 7(a) lender reviews and summary reports. On September 27, 2019, we discussed these recommendations and SBA's responses with an SBA official. Specifically, we discussed the role of statistical sampling in addressing lender practices and SBA's selection of lenders for further review. On March 31, 2021, SBA provided information on its methods for reviewing lender compliance and stated that it has analyzed

Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Administrator of SBA should use its on-site and off-site reviews to routinely collect information on lenders' use of credit elsewhere criteria as part of its monitoring of lender practices related to the credit elsewhere requirement. (Recommendation 2)
Open

For the second and third recommendations, related to lender's use of the credit elsewhere criteria as part of its monitoring of lender practices, on June 11, 2019, SBA provided information on 7(a) lender reviews and summary reports. On September 27, 2019, we discussed these recommendations and SBA's responses with an SBA official. Specifically, we discussed the role of statistical sampling in addressing lender practices and SBA's selection of lenders for further review. On March 31, 2021, SBA provided information on its methods for reviewing lender compliance and stated that it has analyzed

Export Promotion: Small Business Administration Needs to Improve Collaboration to Implement Its Expanded Role

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
To more effectively implement SBA's expansion of OIT field staff as required by the SBJA, the Administrator of the SBA should update SBA's plan for additional OIT staff to include funding sources and time frames, as well as possible efficiencies from clearly defining roles and responsibilities and leveraging other entities' export assistance resources.
Open

SBA concurred with our recommendations. In response to the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 (SBJA) requirement that a total of 30 export finance specialists be hired nationwide by September 2012, SBA noted resource constraints and filled only 19 positions at that time. In 2016, SBA reported progress toward the SBJA requirement despite agency staffing limitations and staffed a total of 21 or 70% of the 30 required export finance specialist (EFS) positions. SBA officials also reported that they had hired staff to replace retirements or other staff departures, but determined that because of finite

Have a Question about a Recommendation?

For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.