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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4842 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 473 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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1 - 20 of 89 Recommendations, including 7 Priority Recommendations
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Thrifty Food Plan: Better Planning and Accountability Could Help Ensure Quality of Future Reevaluations

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8 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should develop and document a process to ensure that TFP reevaluations follow the project management practice of establishing a key document at the start of a project, such as a project charter, that includes an overall assessment of risk and measurable objectives and metrics for success related to project requirements and other expectations for the project. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should develop and document a process to ensure that TFP reevaluations follow the project management practice of creating a comprehensive project management plan that describes how the project will be executed, monitored, controlled, and closed and, in addition to a project schedule, includes:

  • a risk management plan that manages operational risk and applies controls to ensure the project meets its objectives.
  • a quality management plan that describes how the project will be monitored and controlled based on applicable USDA and other federal quality standards.
  • a stakeholder engagement plan outlining all of the relevant stakeholders that must be included in the reevaluation and their respective roles for achieving quality
  • a requirements management plan that establishes how the project requirements will be analyzed, documented, and managed.
  • (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should develop and document a process to ensure that TFP reevaluations follow the project management practice of designating a project manager, or another member of the project team with project management expertise, to ensure that TFP reevaluations apply generally recognized project management practices, including creating key project documentation. (Recommendation 3)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should develop and document a process to ensure that TFP reevaluations are subject to formal, comprehensive, and independent peer reviews before publication. (Recommendation 4)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should consult with the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and designate the TFP as a "highly influential scientific assessment" subject to more stringent OMB guidance concerning peer review. (Recommendation 5)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should establish specific quality assurance guidelines for TFP reevaluations that will ensure methodological decisions meet key quality standards for an analysis that will affect public policy and inform policy makers. These guidelines should summarize applicable USDA and other federal quality standards and should describe how such standards will be embedded in future TFPs. These guidelines should ensure that future TFP reports have:

  • clear rationales linked to the objective and scope of the analysis;
  • consideration of alternatives based in evidence, including important economic effects;
  • underlying analysis of economic effects associated with decisions; where important economic effects cannot be quantified, the analysis explains how they affect the comparison of alternatives;
  • transparent description of analytical choices, assumptions and data, including explanation of key limitations in the data and methods used; and
  • adequate documentation included in the analysis; the analysis should document that it complies with a robust quality assurance process.
  • (Recommendation 6)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should ensure that FNS designs, documents, and implements key internal controls related to data processing, including standards and procedures for review of the computer code used in generating the TFP Market Baskets. (Recommendation 7)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should publish the computer code and raw data used to generate the TFP Market Baskets, to the extent allowable, along with all of the final equations used to create the model, in order to ensure qualified external parties can reproduce and replicate the TFP. (Recommendation 8)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Agency Relocations: Following Leading Practices Will Better Position USDA to Mitigate the Ongoing Impacts on Its Workforce

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8 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should expand the departmental regulation on reorganizations to more fully reflect leading practices on agency reforms, such as documenting performance measures and enhancing employee engagement. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should expand the departmental regulation on reorganizations to apply its guidance to all departmental reorganizations and require documentation of the reasons for any deviation from the departmental regulation, including for decisions by the Secretary to do so. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Research, Education, and Economics Under Secretary should require ERS to more fully follow leading practices for strategic workforce planning, such as documenting a strategic workforce plan and agency succession plans. (Recommendation 3)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Research, Education, and Economics Under Secretary should require NIFA to more fully follow leading practices for strategic workforce planning, such as documenting a strategic workforce plan and agency succession plans. (Recommendation 4)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Research, Education, and Economics Under Secretary should require ERS to more fully follow leading practices for training and development, such as planning for, designing, implementing, and evaluating training and development programs and efforts. (Recommendation 5)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Research, Education, and Economics Under Secretary should require NIFA to more fully follow leading practices for training and development, such as planning for, designing, implementing, and evaluating training and development programs and efforts. (Recommendation 6)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Research, Education, and Economics Under Secretary should require ERS to more fully follow leading practices for diversity management, such as developing a strategy for sustaining diversity and inclusion and documenting ongoing succession and recruiting planning processes. (Recommendation 7)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Research, Education, and Economics Under Secretary should require NIFA to more fully follow leading practices for diversity management, such as developing a strategy for sustaining diversity and inclusion and documenting ongoing succession and recruiting planning processes. (Recommendation 8)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

National School Lunch Program: USDA Could Enhance Assistance to States and Schools in Providing Seafood to Students

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should develop a plan to enhance its assistance to states and school food authorities in providing seafood to students through the National School Lunch Program. Actions described in such a plan could build upon information that GAO collected regarding factors that selected states and school food authorities said have affected their efforts to provide more seafood to students through the program. The plan could also incorporate USDA's experience and lessons learned from previous efforts aimed at enhancing the variety and availability of other food products, such as dairy products and unprocessed fruits and vegetables. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should work with the Administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to develop a collaborative mechanism, such as a memorandum of understanding that establishes the sharing of NOAA's list of domestic seafood vendors with USDA. (Recommendation 3)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Broadband: USDA Should Set Performance Goals and Improve Fraud Risk Management for Funding Program

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should direct ReConnect program officials to establish program specific performance goals and use them to manage the program. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Department of Agriculture The Secretary of Agriculture should document that the Office of the Chief Risk Officer is the dedicated entity to design and oversee fraud risk management activities in the ReConnect program and outline this office's responsibilities consistent with leading practices as provided in our Fraud Risk Framework. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Note: the list of open recommendations for the last report may continue on the next page.

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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.