Community Development:

Oversight of Block Grant Monitoring Needs Improvement

RCED-91-23: Published: Jan 30, 1991. Publicly Released: Jan 30, 1991.

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GAO reviewed how three Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) field offices monitored entitlement grantees of Community Development Block Grants (CDBG).

GAO found that: (1) inadequate supervisory and evidentiary control guidance contributed to HUD weaknesses in monitoring entitlement grantees; (2) audit working papers did not adequately document the conclusions reached during on-site monitoring or record the work performed; (3) supervisors rarely accompanied their staff during on-site reviews of grantees or examined the resulting documentation; (4) without adequate documentation, HUD could not ensure the detection of management problems or that staff did not duplicate previous work; and (5) field offices did not fully use the information the Office of Inspector General (OIG) reports provided when planning on-site monitoring.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Director of the Office of Management, the Office of Block Grant Assistance has developed a system for the review of grantee level audits and surveys containing significant findings and trends. This system utilizes CPD notes and CC mail newsbriefs to notify the field of audits of nationwide interest, and is an ongoing process.

    Recommendation: To improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of on-site monitoring of CDBG grantees, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Assistant Secretary for Community Planning and Development (CPD) to distribute to all field offices copies of all OIG systemic audit reports that identify emerging patterns of deficiencies in grantees' management practices or HUD oversight.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD issued Notice CPD-91-21, which includes guidance on supervisory review of monitoring.

    Recommendation: To improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of on-site monitoring of CDBG grantees, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Assistant Secretary for CPD to revise the CPD Monitoring Handbook to provide guidance to supervisors on reviewing working papers and supervising site visits.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD issued Notice CPD-91-21, which includes guidance on monitoring documentation.

    Recommendation: To improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of on-site monitoring of CDBG grantees, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Assistant Secretary for CPD to revise the CPD Monitoring Handbook to instruct staff on what constitutes adequate working papers and how to prepare them.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: HUD issued Notice CPD-91-21, which includes guidance on monitoring documentation.

    Recommendation: To improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of on-site monitoring of CDBG grantees, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) to revise the CPD Monitoring Handbook to require staff to include in their files on individual grantees adequate working papers that clearly show the scope and work performed during on-site reviews.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to the Director of the Office of Management, the Office of Block Grant Assistance has developed a system for the review of grantee level audits and surveys containing significant findings and trends. This system utilizes CPD notes and CC mail newsbriefs to notify the field of audits of nationwide interest, and is an ongoing process.

    Recommendation: To improve the overall effectiveness and efficiency of on-site monitoring of CDBG grantees, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Assistant Secretary for CPD to provide field offices with summaries of OIG audits of individual grantees, including findings that CPD and OIG believe may indicate new areas for HUD monitoring to emphasize or areas in which grantees' performance could improve.

    Agency Affected: Department of Housing and Urban Development

 

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