GAO Mission and Operations:
Reporting Policies and Practices of the United States General Accounting Office
Feb 1, 1977
GAO communicates the results of audit work in a variety of ways: formal, written reports; testimony before congressional committees; staff papers provided to committees; informal oral presentations to committee members and their staffs; information communicated to agency officials at all stages of the audit process; and further information dissemination to the public. High standards in reporting are sought through frequent staff training programs and the inclusion of digests and visual aids in the reports themselves. A GAO report on Federal agency use of automated decisionmaking systems without any manual review and the resultant errors has led to planned congressional hearings on the matter. Another study showed that Defense Department criteria for the size of military hospitals did not reflect expected use patterns, and that the planning process did not consider excess bed capacity in other nearby hospitals. Other GAO studies and recommendations have aided in: estimated savings of $3 billion through 1981 in Government pensions; savings of about $450 million by termination of the CONDOR missile program; the creation of the Federal Grain Inspection Service; the establishment of a comprehensive and objective energy data system; the establishment of state tax withholding for the military; making guidelines for seeking an international governmental procurement code; and the realization of reductions in annual welfare program overpayments of $60 million and the correction of $4 million in underpayments.