Inspectors General:

Compliance With Professional Standards by the Transportation Inspector General

AFMD-87-28: Published: Aug 10, 1987. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Transportation's (DOT) Office of Inspector General (OIG) to determine whether the Inspector General conducted audits and investigations in accordance with generally accepted standards.

GAO found that the DOT Inspector General: (1) complied with 19 of the 23 audit and investigation standards it tested; (2) needed to take corrective action to ensure satisfactory compliance with audit standards on evidence, reporting, supervision, and quality assurance; (3) developed policies to ensure that the OIG staff had an awareness and understanding of professional standards, but some of the policies were inadequate; (4) did not always have adequate audit quality processes to alert management to problems which could impact work quality and effectiveness; and (5) did not track all audit report recommendations through the implementation of corrective actions. GAO also found that the DOT semiannual reports show dollar findings that differ from those shown in the corresponding audit reports.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG developed a supervisory checklist which requires supervisors to ensure report indices are verified. It does not require an independent review; however, this is not required by GAGAS. In October 1987, the checklist was incorporated in OIG policies. Documentation was provided to GAO on November 2, 1987. OIG will expand its Quality Assurance Program to evaluate the adequacy of evidence.

    Recommendation: To assist DOT OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain areas of the audit standards, the Inspector General should develop and implement a process, such as referencing, to help ensure the adequacy of evidence.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Inspector General incorporated a report review list into the supervisory checklist, which became part of OIG policies in October 1987, OPM Part II, chapter 1. Documentation was provided to GAO on November 2, 1987.

    Recommendation: To assist DOT OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain areas of the audit standards, the Inspector General should examine the OIG process for reviewing audit reports to determine whether it is functioning in a manner which ensures reasonable assurance of compliance with the reporting standard.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG developed a supervisory checklist to be used on all audits to better ensure and document supervisory review. In October 1987, OIG incorporated the checklist into its policies, OPM Part II, chapter 1. Documentation was provided to GAO on November 2, 1987. In addition, an internal memo was sent to all supervisors instructing them to review all observations and fully adhere to OIG policies.

    Recommendation: To assist DOT OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain areas of the audit standards, the Inspector General should enforce OIG policies which require supervisors to fully review all of the audit work performed, document their supervisory review, and educate the staff on these policies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG revised its quality assurance program to expand the scope of its review. In January 1988, OIG incorporated the revised program into its policies, OPM part I, chapter 19. Documentation was provided to GAO on January 25, 1988.

    Recommendation: To assist DOT OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain areas of the audit standards, the Inspector General should expand the scope of the OIG quality assurance program to provide reasonable assurance of adherence to the standards for performing audits and conduct more frequent reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG established training courses for all entry level auditors and made resources available for remedial training for journeymen auditors identified as needing such assistance. In addition, the supervisory checklist placed greater emphasis on working paper preparation and, in October 1987, was incorporated into OIG policies. Documentation was provided on November 2, 1987.

    Recommendation: To further strengthen operations at DOT OIG, the Inspector General should revise OIG policies and procedures to provide more precise guidance on preparing clear and understandable working papers.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG revised its policies on Audit Survey and Coordinated Audits to require precise audit objectives, ensure that objectives are adequately addressed, and the scope is identified. Documentation was provided on November 2, 1987. In April 1988, OIG revised its reporting policies to clarify and strengthen the requirement for the adequate reporting of scope and objectives.

    Recommendation: To further strengthen operations at DOT OIG, the Inspector General should clarify OIG policies on reporting to ensure that: (1) audit reports accurately reflect the audit's objectives and scope; and (2) the objectives are adequately addressed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: This was included in the revision to the OIG Quality Assurance Program, OPM Part I, chapter 19. This chapter was finalized and GAO received documentation in January 1988.

    Recommendation: To further strengthen operations at DOT OIG, the Inspector General should implement OIG policy on following up on the evaluation report recommendations.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG issued modifications to the follow-up process in March 1989, and a memo was sent to all staff explaining the changes and new procedures. In addition, the new follow-up process will be included in the OIG automated management system in July 1989.

    Recommendation: To further strengthen operations at DOT OIG, the Inspector General should track all of its significant recommendations through implementation and take prompt and appropriate action to resolve any recommendation that the agency managers do not fully implement.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In October 1987, OIG expanded its policies to define the various types of evidence. A copy of the policy change was provided on November 2, 1987 in OPM, Part II, chapter 1.

    Recommendation: To assist DOT OIG in satisfactorily complying with certain areas of the audit standards, the Inspector General should expand OIG policies on evidence to define the various types of evidence, such as documentary and analytical, and provide guidance on their appropriate use.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OIG agreed to explain any difference between dollar figures in audit reports and those reported in semiannual reports.

    Recommendation: To further strengthen operations at DOT OIG, the Inspector General should explain in the semiannual report why some of the dollar figures reported differ from those in the corresponding audit reports.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation: Office of the Inspector General

 

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