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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4840 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 471 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 41 Recommendations, including 9 Priority Recommendations

Small Business Research Programs: Reporting on Award Timeliness Could Be Enhanced

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should develop, document, and execute a plan to (1) identify actions that could improve timely publication of its annual report to Congress, and (2) implement the actions identified. (Recommendation 1)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Administrator of the Small Business Administration should add information on award timeliness to the public online award database. (Recommendation 2)
Open

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

COVID Relief: SBA Could Improve Communications and Fraud Risk Monitoring for Its Arts and Entertainment Venues Grant Program

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2 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator of SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance should develop a comprehensive strategy for communicating with potential and actual grant program applicants in the event of a disaster or other emergency. Such a strategy should provide guidelines for how to communicate information in a timely and effective manner during nationwide emergencies (such as pandemics) and for doing so for any future industry-specific emergency assistance programs. (Recommendation 1)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator of SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance should ensure that its post-award monitoring procedures for the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program specifically address the risks the agency has assessed, including fraud risks, and clearly link them to monitoring activities. As a part of this effort, SBA should document its tolerance for the risks it has identified. (Recommendation 2)
Open

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

Privacy: Dedicated Leadership Can Improve Programs and Address Challenges

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration The Administrator of SBA should fully define and document a process for ensuring that the senior agency official for privacy or other designated privacy official is involved in assessing and addressing the hiring, training, and professional development needs of the agency with respect to privacy. (Recommendation 58)
Open

SBA stated that it agreed with our recommendation and was developing plans to address it. Once the agency states that it has taken action, we plan to verify whether implementation has occurred.

Tribal Economic Development: Action is Needed to Better Understand the Extent of Federal Support

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration The Assistant Administrator of SBA's Office of Native American Affairs, in coordination with tribes, should establish a plan for periodically analyzing and publicly reporting the amount of economic development assistance provided by SBA to tribal entities and using that analysis to identify opportunities to improve assistance to tribal entities. (Recommendation 5)
Open

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

Small Business Administration: Recent Changes to the 8(a) Program's Financial Thresholds Need Evaluation

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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator of SBA's Office of Government Contracting and Business Development should document the procedures for the Section 408 report process. (Recommendation 1)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator of SBA's Office of Government Contracting and Business Development should assess the process for producing Section 408 reports in light of identified delay-causing factors and use the results of the analysis to identify potential operational efficiencies and develop a plan to address report delays, including revising procedures as needed and developing time frames for report submission. (Recommendation 2)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator of SBA's Office of Government Contracting and Business Development should conduct an assessment of the 2020 changes to the economic disadvantage thresholds for the 8(a) program. (Recommendation 3)
Open

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

Restaurant Revitalization Fund: Opportunities Exist to Improve Oversight

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7 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access should conduct and document an assessment of the RRF pre-award controls and address or mitigate deficiencies. (Recommendation 1)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access should assess how the design of RRF pre-award controls may have adversely affected applicants from U.S. territories, and identify and document steps to mitigate this issue for future programs. (Recommendation 2)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access should develop and implement policies and procedures for addressing RRF recipients who do not meet annual reporting requirements. (Recommendation 3)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access should enhance RRF post-award reporting procedures by adding requirements for recipients to report their operating status. (Recommendation 4)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access should develop and implement data analytics across RRF awards as a means to detect potentially fraudulent award recipients. (Recommendation 5)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access should develop, document, and implement procedures to use enforcement data on suspected fraud in other SBA programs, such as PPP, to identify potential fraud in RRF recipients. (Recommendation 6)
Open

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

Small Business Administration The Associate Administrator for the Office of Capital Access should develop and implement a plan to respond to potentially fraudulent and ineligible RRF awards in a prompt and consistent manner. This plan should include coordinating with the OIG to align efforts to address fraud. (Recommendation 7)
Open

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

Disaster Recovery: Additional Actions Needed to Identify and Address Potential Recovery Barriers

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2 Open Recommendations
2 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The SBA Associate Administrator of the Office of Disaster Assistance should, in coordination with the FEMA Administrator and the HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development, develop, with input from key recovery partners, and implement an interagency plan to help ensure the availability and use of quality information that includes (1) information requirements, (2) data sources and methods, and (3) strategies for overcoming information challenges—to support federal agencies involved in disaster recovery in identifying access barriers or disparate outcomes. (Recommendation 5)
Open

In December 2022, SBA officials told us that they hold monthly, interagency meetings with officials from FEMA and HUD to assess and overcome privacy data-sharing constraints across federal agencies that provide direct services to disaster survivors. In addition, SBA officials told us that their Office of Capital Access is working to formalize a process that maps out information requirements and strategies for overcoming data-related challenges. Further, as of April 2022, SBA began collecting voluntary applicant information on demographic characteristics through its disaster loan application

Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The SBA Associate Administrator of the Office of Disaster Assistance should coordinate with the FEMA Administrator and the HUD Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development to design and establish routine processes to be used within and across federal recovery programs to address identified access barriers and disparate outcomes on an ongoing basis. (Recommendation 6)
Open

In December 2022, SBA officials told us that they participate in a sub-working group of the Recovery Support Function Leadership Group that is focused on equity in federal recovery efforts. SBA officials also said that SBA, in coordination with FEMA and HUD, have committed to providing technical assistance to federal agencies involved in disaster recovery to build tools that would allow them to share data and use data to support their equity efforts. To fully implement this recommendation, SBA must provide evidence it has designed and institutionalized routine processes to be used within and

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program: Additional Actions Needed to Improve Communication with Applicants and Address Fraud Risks

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1 Open Recommendations
1 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Small Business Administration
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Associate Administrator of SBA's Office of Disaster Assistance should develop a comprehensive strategy for communicating with potential and actual program applicants in the event of a disaster. Such a strategy should provide guidelines for the types of information and timing of information to be provided to program participants throughout a disaster. The types of information to be addressed in the strategy could include processing steps and time frames applicants might experience through different stages of the loan process. (Recommendation 1)
Open

SBA agreed with the recommendation and stated that the agency plans to develop a comprehensive strategy for communicating with potential and actual disaster loan applicants, which will include information such as processing steps and corresponding time frames applicants might experience through different stages of the loan process. In December 2021, SBA stated that the agency was evaluating plans for a major change to its disaster loan processing platform that must be resolved before further action could be taken on this recommendation. In March 2022, SBA stated that the Office of Disaster

COVID-19: Sustained Federal Action Is Crucial as Pandemic Enters Its Second Year

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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 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 – Partially Addressed

SBA agreed with the recommendation, stating that it would work to ensure that fraud risks are monitored on a continuous basis. Although SBA has created a fraud risk management action plan and other review and oversight plans, it has not developed a fraud risk management strategy for EIDL that meets the criteria in our Fraud Risk Framework. For example, various plans and summary documents SBA provided do not establish clear timelines for implementing fraud risk management activities or communicate EIDL antifraud strategies to employees and other stakeholders.

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

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.