GAO criticizes governmentwide telework management

GAO criticizes governmentwide telework management

The General Services Administration and Office of Personnel Management need to better coordinate governmentwide telecommunications efforts, the General Accounting Office has recommended.

In report for Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, GAO said the two agencies have done a poor job resolving conflicting views on telework matters.

The pair of agencies need to work together to provide 'consistent, inclusive, unambiguous support and guidance related to telework,' said the report, Human Capital: Further Guidance, Assistance and Coordination Can Improve Federal Telework Efforts.

GAO said an example of typical miscommunication occurred when the two agencies issued contradictory information about dependent care and emergency government closings. Both agencies told GAO they would do a better job working as a team and are considering a memorandum of understanding that would delineate each agency's responsibilities.

In written responses to a draft version of the report, GSA and OPM disagreed with some of GAO's findings. But in the final report, GAO noted that the written responses contradicted information given to GAO by the two agencies' officials during the audit.

GAO also reviewed the internal telework policies of four agencies: the departments of Education and Veterans Affairs, GSA and OPM. The audit team found the agencies faced numerous difficulties in implementing telework programs, including planning, performance management, managerial support and technology.

Agencies have not established measurable goals for the telecommuting programs nor have they instituted training programs, GAO said.

GAO also recommended GSA and OPM provide better guidance to agencies as well as offer technical support.

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