The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) needs to make its payroll data available through its Enterprise Human Resources Integration (EHRI) initiative, according a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

EHRI is supposed to provide a centralized and standardized source of pay and leave data across all Federal agencies. Agencies and researchers assessing human resources and policy decisions in the Federal government can access EHRI’s database and view specific information. The payroll database became operational in 2009 and is one of four databases in the EHRI system.

According to GAO’s report, EHRI is not supporting OPM’s open data goals because OPM has not made the data available to other agencies and researchers for use. As a result, Federal agencies and researchers have to use proxy sources, which provide less detailed data.

GAO revealed a number of weaknesses in the internal controls ensuring the reliability of payroll data. The report stated that these weaknesses can contribute to data errors, incomplete data fields, and ineffective monitoring of the EHRI payroll data.

“Unless OPM takes steps to correct these internal control weaknesses, it will be unable to fully leverage these data to meet its mission and allow others to make full use of these data for their research needs,” the GAO report said.

GAO issued five recommendations regarding OPM making its payroll data available and improving the reliability of such data. OPM agreed with all of the recommendations.

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Eleanor Lamb
Eleanor Lamb
Eleanor Lamb is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Big Data, FITARA, Homeland Security, Education, Workforce Issues, and Civilian Agencies.