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    Subject Term: "Federal awards"

    4 publications with a total of 28 open recommendations including 16 priority recommendations
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Director of NSF should require staff to follow written internal guidance for (1) using tools and templates NSF has developed for the process for setting indirect cost rates and (2) updating the agency's database to reflect the status of awardees for which NSF has cognizance and of indirect cost rate proposals. (Recommendation 1)

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of NSF should add details to NSF's internal guidance for setting indirect cost rates specifying (1) the criteria to be used by the supervisor for assessing the level of risk and steps for mitigating the risks at each level and (2) the steps for supervisory review of the process for setting indirect cost rates and documentation of the results of the review. (Recommendation 2)

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: The Director of NSF should add procedures to NSF's internal guidance for (1) implementing the applicable new provisions of the Uniform Guidance, including updating links to Office of Management and Budget guidance, and (2) monitoring the indirect cost rates that the Department of Interior sets on NSF's behalf. (Recommendation 3)

    Agency: National Science Foundation
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    20 open recommendations
    including 12 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services to design policies and procedures to reasonably assure that all award recipients required to submit single audit reports do so in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services did not comment on the recommendation directed to it. GAO believes the recommendation is valid as discussed in our report. In addition, Agriculture has not provided the 60 day letter in response to our recommendations. On July 27, 2017, the agency informed us that the delay is due to their response still needing to clear several approving offices. We have received no further status updates from Agriculture as to when we can expect to receive its 60 day letter. 31 U.S.C. 720 requires that the agency head submit a written statement of the actions taken by the agency on GAO's recommendations to selected congressional committees and GAO not later than 60 days after the date of our report.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services did not comment on the recommendation directed to it. GAO believes the recommendation is valid as discussed in our report. In addition, Agriculture has not provided the 60 day letter in response to our recommendations. On July 27, 2017, the agency informed us that the delay is due to their response still needing to clear several approving offices. We have received no further status updates from Agriculture as to when we can expect to receive its 60 day letter. 31 U.S.C. 720 requires that the agency head submit a written statement of the actions taken by the agency on GAO's recommendations to selected congressional committees and GAO not later than 60 days after the date of our report.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services did not comment on the recommendation directed to it. GAO believes the recommendation is valid as discussed in our report. In addition, Agriculture has not provided the 60 day letter in response to our recommendations. On July 27, 2017, the agency informed us that the delay is due to their response still needing to clear several approving offices. We have received no further status updates from Agriculture as to when we can expect to receive its 60 day letter. 31 U.S.C. 720 requires that the agency head submit a written statement of the actions taken by the agency on GAO's recommendations to selected congressional committees and GAO not later than 60 days after the date of our report.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Rural Development to design policies and procedures to reasonably assure that all award recipients required to submit single audit reports do so in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) concurred with this recommendation. An RD official stated that it will work with Agriculture's Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the program areas to develop policies and procedures to ensure that its award recipients are in compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. RD stated that it will meet with each program area and discuss how single audits are processed and resolved. RD plans to develop policies and procedures for identifying all award recipients that should file single audit reports; determining if all required single audit reports are filed, received, and processed each year; and assuring that transmittal letters and management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with current OMB guidance. RD also stated that it will develop new policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Rural Development to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) concurred with this recommendation. An RD official stated that it will work with Agriculture's Office of the Chief Financial Officer and the program areas to develop policies and procedures to ensure that its award recipients are in compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. RD stated that it will meet with each program area and discuss how single audits are processed and resolved. RD plans to develop policies and procedures for identifying all award recipients that should file single audit reports; determining if all required single audit reports are filed, received, and processed each year; and assuring that transmittal letters and management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with current OMB guidance. RD also stated that it will develop new policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Agriculture should direct the Under Secretary for Rural Development to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Agriculture
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Agriculture's (Agriculture) Under Secretary for Rural Development (RD) concurred with this recommendation. An RD official stated that it will work with Agriculture's Office of Chief Financial Officer and the program areas to develop policies and procedures to ensure that its award recipients are in compliance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. RD stated that it will meet with each program area and discuss how single audits are processed and resolved. RD plans to develop policies and procedures for identifying all award recipients that should file single audit reports; determining if all required single audit reports are filed, received, and processed each year; and assuring that transmittal letters and management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with current OMB guidance. RD also stated that it will develop new policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendation to the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR). HHS stated that it will enhance the Grants Policy Administration Manual (issued on December 31, 2015) to provide additional details regarding the elements to be included in the management decisions letters. ASFR stated that it will use its established Single Audit Resolution Workgroup, comprised of representatives from the HHS agencies who are responsible for single audit resolution activities, to continually evaluate and strengthen its relevant policies and procedures. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendations to the Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources (ASFR). HHS stated that it is committed to ensuring that grantees submit single audits in a timely and complete manner and that its subagencies utilize the findings to ensure proper management of its grantees. HHS stated that ASFR is taking over the single audit assignment and tracking function from the OIG and that this realignment will allow HHS to better meet the requirements of the Uniform Guidance. HHS stated that it would continue to evaluate its policies and procedures to ensure compliance with regulations, particularly as ASFR takes over the single audit findings assignment and tracking function from the OIG. In addition, HHS stated that ASFR will work to develop policies and procedures that utilize a risk-based approach for high-risk and recurring single audit findings. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revise its policies and procedures to take action to obtain single audit reports when award recipients did not submit reports within the required time frames.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendation to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). HHS stated that CMS has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) based on the Grants Policy Administration Manual (GPAM) issued December 31, 2015. The SOP is currently under review and will be implemented after approval and signature by CMS leadership. The SOP includes provisions for following up with entities that have delinquent audits. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to revise its policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendation to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). HHS stated that it has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) based on the Grants Policy Administration Manual (GPAM) issued on December 31, 2015, and the draft Management Decision Letter (MDL) HHS guidelines document. In April 2017, HHS informed us that the SOP is under review and will be implemented after approval and signature by CMS leadership. The SOP includes management decision letter elements and the timely issuance of MDLs. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Health and Human Services should direct the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) concurred with this recommendation to CMS. HHS stated that CMS plans to update the 1982 Health Care Financing Administration Audit Resolution Manual and will work collaboratively with HHS to develop policies and procedures that utilize a risk-based approach for high-risk and recurring single audit findings. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) disagreed with this recommendation, but we maintain that revisions to CPD's policies and procedures are warranted to help CPD comply with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance. CPD officials stated that it provided training on writing management decisions to all CPD field offices in March 2017 and plans to issue a reminder memorandum on management decisions to field offices. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Community Planning and Development to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: In April 2017, the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Community Planning and Development (CPD) stated that it planned to produce appropriate policies and procedures for risk rating single audit findings by the end of fiscal year 2017. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing to revise policies to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Public and Indian Housing developed policies and procedures and conducted training for field offices relating to management decisions. We reviewed these policies and procedures and noted that they did not contain all of the required elements in accordance with the Office of Management and Budget guidance relating to management decisions. HUD officials stated that they will review the policies and procures and revise, if needed, to address our concerns. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development should direct the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public and Indian Housing to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing high-risk and recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) Office of Public and Indian Housing met with GAO on July 10, 2017, to discuss the status of this recommendation. The HUD officials at this meeting said the current language in their Independent Public Accountant (IPA) auditing standards addresses the GAO recommendation. However, we explained to the HUD officials at the meeting that the current language is insufficient to close the recommendation as it does not show evidence that HUD has designed or implemented policies and procedures for how HUD is identifying and managing high-risks. The HUD officials stated that they will give this recommendation more consideration and revise the standards and provide GAO with additional support to show what HUD has done to address this recommendation. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Highway Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Highway Administration to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Highway Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration to design policies and procedures to reasonably assure that all award recipients required to submit single audit reports do so in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Transit Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration to revise policies and procedures to reasonably assure that management decisions contain the required elements and are issued timely in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with our recommendations. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Transit Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should direct the Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration to design and implement policies and procedures for identifying and managing recurring single audit findings using a risk-based approach.

    Agency: Department of Transportation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Transportation (DOT) agreed with this recommendation. DOT stated that it will, no later than December 31, 2017, instruct the Federal Transit Administration to design, revise, and implement procedures to comply with federal grant and financial management requirements by September 30, 2019. We will assess these efforts once completed.
    Director: Mihm, J Christopher
    Phone: (202) 512-6806

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that federal program spending data are provided to the public in a transparent, useful, and timely manner, the Director of OMB should accelerate efforts to determine how best to merge DATA Act purposes and requirements with the GPRAMA requirement to produce a federal program inventory.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB staff stated that they expect to issue new guidance on the Program Management Improvement Accountability Act by the end of 2017. According to these staff, OMB expects that, within a year of issuing the new guidance, they will be able to move forward with plans to resume implementation of the federal program inventory. In October 2017, OMB staff told us they believe there are opportunities to leverage the DATA Act taxonomy in service to the goals of GPRAMA and they continue to work with their performance management colleagues on this effort. However, they said no formal progress has been made to identify programs for the purposes of DATA Act reporting.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the integrity of data standards is maintained over time, the Director of OMB, in collaboration with the Secretary of the Treasury, should establish a set of clear policies and processes for developing and maintaining data standards that are consistent with leading practices for data governance.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: OMB and Treasury have taken some initial steps to build a data governance structure standardizing data elements and definitions, conducting interviews with key stakeholders and developing a set of recommendations for decision-making authority. In September 2016, OMB and Treasury established a Data Standards Committee (DSC) that is responsible for advising OMB and Treasury, and providing recommendations on DATA Act data standards to the Executive Steering Committee (ESC) -- the decision making body regarding DATA Act and other data standards. According to OMB staff, the DSC meets on a monthly basis, but has not yet provided recommendations to OMB or to the ESC. OMB staff told us in October 2017 that, in accordance with their broader data governance mandates and overall transparency efforts, they are reviewing opportunities to incorporate and leverage other mandates and existing governance structures. As part of our ongoing feedback with OMB, we shared 5 key practices that we believe should inform their plans to develop a data governance framework moving forward.
    Director: Carol R. Cha
    Phone: (202) 512-4456

    3 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of data submissions to the USASpending.gov website, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in collaboration with Treasury's Fiscal Service, should clarify guidance on (1) agency responsibilities for reporting awards funded by non-annual appropriations; (2) the applicability of USASpending.gov reporting requirements to non-classified awards associated with intelligence operations; (3) the requirement that award titles describe the award's purpose (consistent with our prior recommendation); and (4) agency maintenance of authoritative records adequate to verify the accuracy of required data reported for use by USASpending.gov.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of July 2017, OMB and Treasury were working to implement the DATA Act, which includes several provisions that may address these recommendations once fully implemented. 1) OMB staff said they continue to deliberate on agency responsibilities for reporting awards funded by non-annual appropriations. 2) OMB staff provided a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) addressing the applicability of USASpending.gov reporting requirements for recipient information related to classified or sensitive information. GAO reviewed the FAQ and determined that additional guidance is still needed to ensure complete reporting of unclassified awards as required by FFATA. 3) OMB staff have agreed that it will be important to clarify guidance on how agencies can report on award titles that appropriately describes the awards' purposes and noted that they are working on providing additional guidance to agencies as part of their larger DATA Act implementation efforts. 4) OMB released policy guidance in May 2016 (MPM 2016-03) that identifies the authoritative sources for reporting procurement and award data. However, GAO's review of this policy guidance determined that it does not address the underlying source that can be used to verify the accuracy of non-financial procurement data or any source for data on assistance awards.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness and accuracy of data submissions to the USASpending.gov website, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, in collaboration with Treasury's Fiscal Service, should develop and implement a government-wide oversight process to regularly assess the consistency of information reported by federal agencies to the website other than the award amount.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As part of their DATA Act implementation efforts, OMB issued policy guidance in May 2016 (MPM 2016-03) that identifies authoritative systems to validate agency spending information. The guidance also directs agency DATA Act Senior Accountable Officials (SAOs) to provide a quarterly assurance regarding the data reported to USASpending.gov and specifies that this assurance should leverage data quality and management controls established in statute, regulation, and Federal-wide policy and be aligned with the internal control and risk management strategies in Circular A-123, and provides information on how agency DATA Act SAOs are to provide assurances over the spending data reported to USASpending.gov. In addition, Treasury's broker is to provide an additional set of validation rules to further ensure the proper formatting of data submitted to USAspending.gov. OMB staff noted that OMB and Treasury had prioritized the linking of financial data to award data as a means of addressing the issue of unreported awards we previously identified. We agree that linking financial and award data can help agencies identify gaps in reporting. However, as of July 2017, OMB did not identify any new or revised processes aimed at addressing the accuracy concerns we addressed other than citing agencies' responsibility to certify the accuracy of their data.
    Recommendation: To improve the completeness of foreign recipient data on the USASpending.gov website, the Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation should direct responsible officials within the Corporation's Department of Administration and Finance to report spending information on all assistance award programs to USASpending.gov for prior and future fiscal years in accordance with statutory requirements and OMB guidance.

    Agency: Millennium Challenge Corporation
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Millennium Challenge Corporation has begun reporting awards made in fiscal year 2015. As of July 2017, it has not yet reported awards for previous fiscal years, as we had recommended. We will continue to follow up.