Inspectors General:

Compliance With Professional Standards by the EPA Inspector General

AFMD-86-43: Published: Sep 30, 1986. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 1986.

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GAO reviewed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to determine whether OIG: (1) audit functions complied with Comptroller General and President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency (PCIE) standards; and (2) investigation function satisfactorily complied with PCIE quality and professional standards.

GAO found that: (1) OIG satisfactorily complied with 20 of the 23 audit and investigative standards used in assessing OIG operations; and (2) OIG needs to take corrective action to comply with certain aspects of three standards in the areas of evaluating and reporting on internal control systems, gathering evidence to support audit report statements, and developing an annual investigation plan. While OIG did not comply with some audit and investigation standards, GAO did not identify any cases where there was cause to question OIG findings in audits and investigations reviewed.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To assist OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain aspects of the audit standards, IG should require the use of OIG checklists to provide greater assurance that audit supervisors document and retain supervisory reviews of all work products.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Audit supervisors are now required by OIG Policy Manual, chapter 118, to use OIG checklists to document supervisory reviews.

    Recommendation: To assist OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain aspects of the audit standards, IG should develop and implement policies and procedures outlining when an identification and evaluation study of internal controls is required.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On June 30, 1986, OIG implemented policies and procedures outlining when an identification and evaluation study of internal controls is needed. On September 5, 1986, additional instructions were issued for instances when OIG auditors must rely on computer-generated information.

    Recommendation: To assist OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain aspects of the audit standards, IG should develop and implement policies and procedures requiring the reporting of the scope of internal control work.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On June 10, 1986, OIG implemented policies and procedures requiring the reporting of the scope of internal audit work.

    Recommendation: To assist OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain aspects of the audit standards, IG should develop and implement a quality-assurance mechanism, such as referencing, to help ensure the adequacy of evidence.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On October 23, 1986, OIG implemented policies and procedures requiring referencing on all major, or potentially controversial, audits.

    Recommendation: To assist OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain aspects of the audit standards, IG should resolve the inconsistencies between OIG and EPA on public access to audit reports.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OIG policy is one of full disclosure. Audit reports are available upon request either through the EPA Freedom of Information Office or directly from OIG. Access to reports is only restricted when a requested report contains confidential information. The fact that there are various options for obtaining OIG audit reports does not represent inconsistencies that need to be corrected.

    Recommendation: To increase the discipline for sound financial management, enhance oversight, and help ensure financial integrity, IG should expand the current financial program by performing additional audits, which examine financial reports and the reliability of accounting systems which produce the reports. Eventually, more OIG audits should be undertaken with the objective of expressing an opinion on the accuracy and adequacy of EPA financial reports.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG annual planning routinely considers examining financial reports and reliability of accounting systems. OIG is currently conducting a financial audit of the Superfund Trust Fund.

    Recommendation: To enhance its audit follow-up efforts, IG should develop and implement policies and procedures for tracking and ascertaining, on a systematic basis, the audit resolution of OIG recommendations.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On August 21, 1986, OIG implemented policies and procedures for systematically tracking and ascertaining the audit resolution of OIG recommendations.

    Recommendation: To enhance its audit follow-up efforts, IG should coordinate with agency follow-up officials to obtain feedback on the status of actions taken to implement OIG recommendations.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On September 10, 1986, OIG arranged to receive reports from the new EPA Corrective Action Tracking System. The reports will be used to monitor progress on audit resolution.

    Recommendation: To assist OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain aspects of the standards, IG should develop an annual investigation plan which specifies the goals, objectives, or tasks to be accomplished, and the accomplishments, benefits, or results to be derived from attaining the goals.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG developed an investigation plan which discusses goals and objectives, specific output and performance expectations, FTE allocations, and travel requirements.

    Recommendation: To assist OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain aspects of the audit standards, the Inspector General (IG) should develop and implement policies and procedures clarifying the applicability of audit standards for desk audits.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On July 14, 1987, OIG implemented policies and procedures clarifying the applicability of audit standards for desk audits.

    Recommendation: IG should establish a system for cross-referencing investigation cases.

    Agency Affected: Environmental Protection Agency: Office of the Inspector General

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG is using its new Automated Management Information System to cross-reference common subjects between investigations.

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