Audit Resolution:

Strengthened Guidance Needed to Ensure Effective Action

AFMD-92-16: Published: Mar 24, 1992. Publicly Released: May 15, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the extent to which the managers of four federal agencies acted on inspector general (IG) audit recommendations, focusing on whether the: (1) managers properly closed and documented IG audit recommendations; (2) Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) guidance sufficiently detailed proper closing and documentation procedures; and (3) OMB guidance reflects the reporting requirements imposed by the Inspector General Act Amendments of 1988.

GAO found that: (1) of 34 audit recommendations reviewed at the Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Veterans Affairs, and at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 28 had audit resolution problems; (2) in eight cases, agencies closed the recommendations without completing corrective actions; (3) the agencies closed 18 audit recommendations without sufficiently documenting that corrective actions had been completed; (4) OMB guidance does not provide specific information for managers to determine when to close an audit recommendation or what kind of documentation is sufficient to support closure of an audit recommendation; and (5) OMB has not updated its guidance to reflect the additional reporting requirements mandated by the 1988 amendments.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OMB does not intend to revise its audit followup circular to specifically include the recommendations.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should revise OMB Circular A-50, "Audit Followup," to clarify what agencies must do before closing out audit recommendations. Specifically, the circular should require that agencies close recommendations when agreed-upon corrective actions have been implemented, when alternative actions have been taken that essentially meet the auditors' intent, or when circumstances have changed and the recommendations are no longer valid.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OMB does not intend to revise its audit followup circular to specifically include the recommendations.

    Recommendation: The Director, OMB, should revise OMB Circular A-50, "Audit Followup," to clarify what agencies must do before closing out audit recommendations. The circular should require that agencies provide the documentation necessary to verify that agreed-upon corrective actions have been implemented, alternative actions have been taken that essentially meet the auditors' intent, or circumstances have changed and the recommendations are no longer valid. In addition, the guidance should reflect the reporting requirements and pertinent definitions contained in the Inspector General Act Amendments of 1988.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

 

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