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Open Recommendations

U.S. Postal Service: Further Analysis Could Help Identify Opportunities to Reduce Injuries Among Non-Career Employees

GAO-21-556
Sep 16, 2021
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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
United States Postal Service The Postmaster General should ensure that executive leaders analyze employee injuries by career status to identify opportunities for reducing employee injuries, particularly among non-career employees. (Recommendation 1)
Open
When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

VA Disability Benefits: Veterans Benefits Administration Could Enhance Management of Claims Processor Training

GAO-21-348
Jul 07, 2021
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10 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Veterans Benefits Administration The Under Secretary for Benefits should establish performance goals for VBA's training program for disability claims processors. These program-level goals should have specific targets to provide a basis for comparing actual program performance with expected results. (Recommendation 1)
Open
VA agreed with this recommendation. The agency plans to establish program-level goals with specific targets to provide a basis for comparing actual program performance with expected results, estimated to be completed by March 31, 2022.
Veterans Benefits Administration The Under Secretary for Benefits should establish a governance structure that identifies clear lines of authority among the VBA offices responsible for guiding strategic training efforts and establishing clear accountability for the success of these efforts. (Recommendation 2)
Open
VA agreed with this recommendation. They agency will document the appropriate structure for lines of authority and responsibility related to VBA's disability claims processor training. This effort is expected to be completed by March 31, 2022.
Veterans Benefits Administration The Undersecretary for Benefits should develop and document an integrated and comprehensive training plan or strategy for its program for training disability claims processors. The plan should align training program goals with VBA goals and document how program activities will be prioritized to meet goals. (Recommendation 3)
Open
VA agreed with this recommendation. The agency plans to develop and document a comprehensive training plan for disability claims processors in alignment with Recommendation 1. The anticipated completion date is March 31, 2022.
Veterans Benefits Administration The Undersecretary for Benefits should document and use criteria to guide analysis for when a given training delivery mechanism should be used. Goals for the training program could be helpful in determining the appropriate criteria. (Recommendation 4)
Open
VA agreed with this recommendation. The agency plans to formally document the established criteria that guides analysis for determining training delivery mechanisms. This effort is expected to be completed by September 30, 2021.
Veterans Benefits Administration The Undersecretary for Benefits should establish and monitor minimum training requirements to prepare all course instructors at regional offices to conduct claims processor training. (Recommendation 5)
Open
VA agreed with this recommendation. The agency plans to establish minimum training requirements for regional officer instructors. This effort is expected to be completed by March 31, 2022.
Veterans Benefits Administration The Undersecretary for Benefits should develop and implement a policy detailing VBA offices' responsibilities to identify and address any deficiencies in claims processors' completion of annual regional office-selected training hours. (Recommendation 6)
Open
VA agreed with this recommendation. The agency plans to establish standard operating procedures to identify and address claims processors' training completion deficiencies in completion of annual Regional Office-selected training hours. This effort is expected to be completed by March 31, 2022.

Public Service Loan Forgiveness: DOD and Its Personnel Could Benefit from Additional Program Information

GAO-21-65
Apr 22, 2021
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5 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness shares additional information about the PSLF program, including its eligibility requirements and application process, with DOD military and civilian personnel. For example, DOD could update its benefits webpages to include details on the program's eligibility requirements and application process. (Recommendation 1)
Open
The Department of Defense partially concurred with this recommendation. According to DOD, beginning in April 2021, DOD's Military Family Learning Network coordinated with the Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid to provide continuing education webinars on student loans, including the PSLF program, to DOD accredited financial counselors. DOD's Office of Financial Readiness plans to provide educational materials, including updates of existing materials, on the PSLF program for service members; disseminate educational resources on the PSLF program to counselors and others who support military personnel; issue guidance to the military services on incorporating and disseminating education materials on the PSLF program and on training financial counselors and support personnel. In addition, according to DOD, its military and civilian personnel offices plan to obtain and provide, on their websites, links to the Department of Education's online PSLF program information. When the agency takes further action, we will update the status accordingly.
Department of Education The Secretary of Education should ensure that the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid collaborates with officials in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness to share information about the PSLF program, including current information on program participation and eligibility, PSLF program requirements, and the potential to pursue PSLF and DOD's student loan repayment. For example, Education and DOD could use interagency groups or agreements to help improve information sharing among department officials and with military and civilian personnel. (Recommendation 2)
Open
The Department of Education concurred with this recommendation. When the agency takes action, we will update the status accordingly.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness collaborates with officials in Education's Office of Federal Student Aid to disseminate information about the PSLF program, including current information on program participation and eligibility, PSLF program requirements, and the potential to pursue PSLF and DOD's student loan repayment. For example, DOD and Education could use interagency groups or agreements to help improve information sharing among department officials and with military and civilian personnel. (Recommendation 3)
Open
The Department of Defense partially concurred with this recommendation. According to DOD, beginning in April 2021, DOD's Military Family Learning Network coordinated with the Department of Education's Office of Federal Student Aid to provide continuing education webinars on student loans, including the PSLF program, to DOD accredited financial counselors. DOD's Office of Financial Readiness plans to collaborate with the Department of Education to provide input and subject matter expert review of educational resources on the PSLF program for service members and to incorporate these on available DOD websites, social media, and other communications. According to DOD, once an updated link to PSLF program information has been provided by Department of Education personnel and DOD has incorporated it into its benefits website, DOD's military and civilian personnel offices plan to disseminate a message to DOD's human resources community advising of the PSLF program and website and asking them to share these with their service recruiters, hiring managers, and employees. When the agency takes further action, we will update the status accordingly.
Department of Education The Secretary of Education should ensure that the Chief Operating Officer of the Office of Federal Student Aid updates the student loan guide for service members to provide information on applying for the PSLF program and its temporary expanded process, as well as the steps borrowers can take to count their annual payment from DOD's student loan repayment program as multiple qualifying payments for the PSLF program. (Recommendation 4)
Open
The Department of Education concurred with this recommendation. When the agency takes action, we will update the status accordingly.
Department of Defense The Secretary of Defense should ensure that the Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness issues guidance to DOD and military service officials, such as front-line managers and human resources employees, about how the PSLF program could be used as a tool for recruitment and retention to promote readiness. (Recommendation 5)
Open
The Department of Defense partially concurred with this recommendation. According to DOD, once an updated link to PSLF program information has been provided by Department of Education personnel and DOD has incorporated it into its benefits website, DOD's military and civilian personnel offices plan to disseminate a message to DOD's human resources community advising of the PSLF program and website and asking them to share these with their service recruiters, hiring managers, and employees. When the agency takes further action, we will update the status accordingly.

National Labor Relations Board: Meaningful Performance Measures Could Help Improve Case Quality, Organizational Excellence, and Resource Management

GAO-21-242
Mar 29, 2021
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6 Open Recommendations
Agency Affected Recommendation Status
National Labor Relations Board The Board and General Counsel of NLRB should develop objective and quantifiable performance measures, with associated target levels of performance, for quality under Goals 1 and 2 (timeliness and quality for unfair labor practice and representation cases), and track and report performance results in the annual Performance and Accountability Reports. (Recommendation 1)
Open
NLRB agreed with this recommendations. The agency noted that as part of developing a new strategic plan for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, it will reassess its measures to assess the quality of its case processing with input from stakeholders. We will consider closing this recommendation when NLRB develops and reports on relevant goals.
National Labor Relations Board The Board and General Counsel should develop objective and quantifiable performance measures, with associated target levels of performance, for Goal 3 (organizational excellence) and track and report performance results in the annual Performance and Accountability Reports. For example, one or more of the measures could include results from the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. (Recommendation 2)
Open
NLRB agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that it would review its Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey results to consider whether the agency could use the results as measures to track performance. We will monitor the progress of NLRB's efforts.
National Labor Relations Board The Board and General Counsel should develop objective and quantifiable performance measures, with associated target levels of performance, for Goal 4 (resource management) and track and report performance results in the annual Performance and Accountability Reports. (Recommendation 3)
Open
NLRB agreed with this recommendation. The agency highlighted actions it has taken to address it, such as by putting new key measures in place to prevent large unobligated balances. We will monitor the progress of NLRB's efforts.
National Labor Relations Board The Board and General Counsel should develop mechanisms to ensure that the quality review of case files is conducted in a manner consistent with agency guidance, such as ensuring that quality review memoranda are issued and that critical errors are tracked and addressed. (Recommendation 4)
Open
NLRB agreed with this recommendations, and discussed ongoing or planned actions to address it. The agency noted that as part of developing a new strategic plan for fiscal years 2022 through 2026, it will reassess its measures to assess the quality of its case processing with input from stakeholders. We will monitor the progress of NLRB's efforts.
National Labor Relations Board The Board and General Counsel should, in collaboration with employees and NLRB unions, evaluate performance pressure on personnel and make resource adjustments as necessary. (Recommendation 5)
Open
NLRB agreed with this recommendation. The agency said it is evaluating staffing needs through its regional offices and has begun to address those concerns. For example, NLRB stated that it adjusted its fiscal year 2021 operating plan to fund additional positions. We will consider closing this recommendation when NLRB completes these efforts.
National Labor Relations Board The Board and General Counsel should develop mechanisms to improve communication with key internal stakeholders, such as the NLRB unions, to increase transparency and collaboration in implementing agency policies. (Recommendation 6)
Open
NLRB agreed with this recommendation. The agency stated that it has taken steps to reestablish more collaborative relationships with both NLRB unions, and sought feedback from internal stakeholders on how to improve communication. We will monitor the progress of NLRB's efforts to develop mechanisms to improve communication.
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