Government Operations:

State Department's Office of Inspector General, Foreign Service, Needs To Improve Its Internal Evaluation Process

ID-78-19: Published: Dec 6, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 6, 1978.

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In July 1971, three evaluation groups in the Department of State were merged under the Inspector General, Foreign Service (S/IG) to: (1) systematically evaluate the State's activities, missions, and posts; (2) help State attain its resource management goals by furnishing information, analyses, appraisals, and recommendations; (3) evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of policies and programs employed to attain objectives and goals; and (4) evaluate the allocation and use of resources, including personnel, needed to support U.S. policies and programs.

Prior to 1974, S/IG was not meeting its statutory mandate to inspect each diplomatic and consular post every 2 years. S/IG attributed the slippages mainly to a shortage in inspectors, but war or political conditions also caused deferrals of inspections. S/IG efforts were also hampered by requirements that posts be inspected at least biennially and that Foreign Service officers be assigned to perform this function. The fact that Foreign Service officers act as inspectors for temporary tours of 2 years and then are reassigned to activities which they may recently have evaluated has negative aspects. Evaluation of foreign service personnel is an operational function which should not be performed by internal review groups like S/IG. State's payment of special allowances to inspectors based on absences from their residences for more than 30 days was questioned.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should amend the Foreign Service Act to eliminate the requirements for biennial inspections and for detailing Foreign Service officers to the Office of the Inspector General. The Secretary of State should: (1) direct the Inspector General to revise its inspections to emphasize to a greater extent broad, overall audits of programs, functions and activities; (2) require the Inspector General to tailor assignments to those programs, functions, and activities considered most important; (3) relieve the Office of the Inspector General of the responsibility for evaluating the performances of personnel assigned to posts and offices under inspection; and (4) analyze the composition of the Inspector General's operations in terms of type of personnel and the duration of their assignments.

 

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