PricewaterhouseCoopers' Review of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

GGD-00-170R: Published: Jun 26, 2000. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 2000.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) assessment of the performance, efficiency, and effectiveness of the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) operations, focusing on whether: (1) ONDCP performs its statutory and regulatory responsibilities in an efficient, effective, and results-oriented manner; (2) ONDCP optimizes human resources in fulfilling its primary objectives of policy, anti-drug program coordination, and compliance; and (3) ONDCP's internal control systems are strategically deployed to enhance business processes throughout the organization.

GAO noted that: (1) with regard to whether ONDCP performs its statutory and regulatory responsibilities in an efficient, effective, and results-oriented manner, it is PwC's opinion that ONDCP is results-oriented and effective in performing its responsibilities externally, but inefficient with regard to internal operations; (2) with regard to whether ONDCP optimizes human resources in fulfilling its primary objectives of policy, anti-drug coordination, and compliance, it is PwC's opinion that human resources are not being optimized toward accomplishing those objectives; (3) PwC determined, however, that ONDCP's inability to sustain support for the primary objectives is a result of increases in the workload associated with new program requirements, the Director's priorities, and ONDCP's inability to maintain its knowledge base by retaining staff; (4) the organization could make progress toward optimizing human resources by addressing the following issues: (a) address the human resource and retention issues previously discussed; and (b) evaluate the pace of the Director's Schedule in consideration of its impact on the operational tempo of ONDCP, the retention of employees and the organization's capability to support its primary objectives of policy, coordination, and compliance; (5) with regard to whether ONDCP's internal control systems are strategically deployed to enhance business processes throughout the organization it is PwC's opinion that there is an overall low to medium risk that the organization is not adhering to sound and prudent internal financial controls; (6) there is, however, an area that should warrant further attention; (7) there is a potential internal control risk arising from inadequate matching of increased responsibilities and workload with the required investment in the financial management infrastructure; and (8) the significant implications of not mitigating the risk of a breakdown in the management, supervisory, and personnel internal controls are: (a) a lack of quality assurance over work products due to time pressures; (b) inappropriate levels of authority, delegation, and decision-making, given underlying roles, responsibilities, and competencies; and (c) a decline in customer service from the Financial Management Office.

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