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What is our oversight responsibility?

OPM's oversight responsibility began over 125 years ago with the passage of the Civil Service Act of 1883. Even though there have been many changes in organizations, agencies, Presidential administrations, and personnel systems, our statutory oversight responsibility remains today.

Consistently, the Civil Service Commission (up until the 1978 Civil Service Reform Act) and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (established as part of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978) provides the statutory responsibility to maintain oversight of the Federal personnel system.

OPM's statutory responsibility to oversee the Federal personnel system encompasses assessment of compliance with merit system principles, and supporting laws, rules, regulations, Executive Orders, and OPM standards, as well as the effectiveness of personnel policies, programs, and operations.

The legal authority for OPM oversight is 5 U.S.C. 1104(b) (2) and 5 CFR, Part 5 and 10 discuss OPM regulations for enforcement, corrective action, and agency responses to corrective action.

  • "Evaluating the effectiveness of (1) Personnel policies, programs, and operations of Executive agencies and other Federal agencies subjection to the jurisdiction of the Office, including their effectiveness with regard to merit selection and employee development; (2) agency compliance with and enforcement of applicable laws rules, regulations, and office directives; and (3) agency personnel management evaluation systems." [5 CFR 5.2(b)]
  • Section 5.3 discusses the Director's specific authority to direct corrective action including instructing an agency head, pursuant to an OPM evaluation or investigation, to take any necessary corrective action, including cancellation of personnel actions where appropriate. [5 CFR 5.3]
  • "The Office shall establish and maintain an oversight program to ensure that activities under any authority delegated under subsection (a) of this section are in accordance with the merit system principles and the standards under paragraph (1) of this subsection." [5 U.S.C. 1104(b)(2)]
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