Evaluation of the Department of Energy's Office of Inspector General
EMD-80-29: Published: Nov 28, 1979. Publicly Released: Dec 28, 1979.
- Full Report:
GAO was requested to review the process and procedures in the Department of Energy's (DOE) Office of Inspector General (OIG) with regard to that office's planning, audit coverage, audit followup, and staffing. The OIG, created by the Department of Energy Organization Act, is required to coordinate, supervise, and conduct investigations and audits of all DOE internal activities to ensure honesty and efficiency. These activities are coordinated, when necessary, with other federal, state, and local agencies and nongovernment entities. The OIG also recommends corrective actions and identifies and arranges for prosecution of participants in fraud and abuse cases. The OIG has a Presidentially-appointed deputy.
It was found that the OIG could be more effective in monitoring DOE programs and operations. It does not have a systematic review of all DOE programs and operations. The weakness in audit planning was acknowledged and attributed to a need for more resources. Without such planning it is not possible to determine the total resources needed to audit all DOE programs effectively. Currently, the 125 field auditors are not under direct control of the Inspector General (IG), as GAO believes they should be. This would provide maximum independence in auditing activities and give the IG greater flexibility in using staff resources. There is a need for more explicit policies outlining IG responsibilities and detailing methods of operation to the staff. GAO believes a separate appropriation line item for the OIG would highlight its resource needs and further ensure its independence.
Recommendation for Executive Action
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Recommendation: The IG should develop a comprehensive plan for auditing DOE programs and operations. He should provide formal guidance to his staff, including procedures for following up on timeliness and adequacy DOE actions in response to audit recommendations. The Secretary of Energy should reorganize DOE field auditors under the IG and provide any additional staffing resources which are necessary to enable him to carry out his responsibilities effectively. The Secretary should also review other offices in DOE with program evaluation functions and determine whether they should be under IG control. Further, the Secretary should seek a separate appropriation line item for the IG.