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    Subject Term: "Waste, fraud, and abuse"

    8 publications with a total of 36 open recommendations including 8 priority recommendations
    Director: John Neumann
    Phone: (202) 512-3841

    8 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should confirm that each SBIR and STTR agency is implementing the minimum fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, by, for example, requesting documentation from agencies.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will request that each participating agency confirm their implementation of its minimum fraud, waste, and Abuse prevention requirements by forwarding an email to each agency requesting confirmation of their compliance. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should request input from the participating agencies regarding the clarity of the requirements; review all of the SBIR and STTR minimum fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements, including the agency requirement to post information about successful SBIR or STTR fraud prosecutions; determine whether any additional guidance is needed; and revise the policy directives accordingly.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it plans to discuss the issue with program managers at an upcoming meeting and will also contact all agencies in writing to inquire if additional clarity is needed regarding any of the FWA requirements. SBA said that additional guidance will be provided, if necessary. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should revise the fraud, waste, and abuse provisions in the policy directives to reflect the definition of essentially equivalent work used elsewhere in the policy directives and require participating agencies to check for essentially equivalent work that they fund as well as such work funded by other agencies.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will revise the SBIR and STTR Policy Directives to reflect the definition of essentially equivalent work as noted in section 3 of the policy directives. SBA also stated that it will work with all parties to determine how to best address the issue of duplication, noting that this is an important issue and a high priority for all parties involved. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve agencies' implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, the Administrator of SBA should evaluate SBIR and STTR agencies' fraud, waste, and abuse outcomes to ensure the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements are appropriate and meet their intended purpose for the SBIR and STTR programs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on the draft report, SBA concurred with this recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, SBA stated that it will survey the participating agencies regarding whether the requirements are necessary and meeting their intended purposes, are placing undue burdens on the agencies, or need to be revised, updated, or eliminated. We will review SBA's actions to address this recommendation once those actions are complete.
    Recommendation: To help improve the implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements, the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) should direct the HHS SBIR and STTR program offices to collect copies of the self-certification forms from its SBIR and STTR awardees.

    Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
    Status: Open

    Comments: In its comments on a draft of the report, HHS did not concur with our recommendation. In its June 2017 letter on plans for implementing the recommendation, HHS stated that the National Institutes of Health will collect life cycle certifications from SBIR and STTR program recipients through its electronic reporting system, which will allow other HHS components that use that system to also collect the forms. The National Institutes of Health plans to begin collecting the life cycle certification forms in fiscal year 2018. We will review the actions to address this recommendation once they are complete.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Air Force: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Navy: Naval Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Recommendation: To help ensure that DOD is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements to the OIGs, the Inspectors General of the Army, Navy, and Air Force should implement the requirements themselves or delegate the implementation of the requirements to the investigative services.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Department of the Army: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: DOD concurred with the recommendation in its comments on the draft report and confirmed its concurrence in its May 2017 letter on the final report.
    Director: Marie A. Mak
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    12 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Inspectors General of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop or clarify existing guidance on the implementation of the pilot program. For example, the guidance should identify specific pilot program processes such as levels of review during an investigation, and where the findings of investigations are to be reported.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Commerce OIG concurred with this recommendation. In its May 2017 letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency reported that it plans to revise its guidance on whistleblower investigations. We have requested the revised guidance.
    Recommendation: The Inspectors General of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop or clarify existing guidance on the implementation of the pilot program. For example, the guidance should identify specific pilot program processes such as levels of review during an investigation, and where the findings of investigations are to be reported.

    Agency: Department of the Interior: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Interior OIG concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. In its May 2017 letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency reported that it plans to revise its guidance on whistleblower investigations.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that the FAR clause 52.203-17 is inserted in new contracts and major modifications as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Homeland Security
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Homeland Security concurred with this recommendation. Officials have said they have taken steps to implement this recommendation with guidance and once GAO is provided with evidence of executing guidance, we will review these efforts to assess whether the recommendation was implemented.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that the FAR clause 52.203-17 is inserted in new contracts and major modifications as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Commerce concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that the FAR clause 52.203-17 is inserted in new contracts and major modifications as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Interior concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its May 2017 letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency reported that it plans to issue updated acquisition policy.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that the FAR clause 52.203-17 is inserted in new contracts and major modifications as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, State concurred with this recommendation. Officials have reported they are in the process of drafting a Procurement Information Bulletin related to inserting the clause into relevant contracts.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that contracting officials can determine whether a modification is major and the applicability of the FAR clause, and whether they are making their best efforts to include the clause into existing contracts during major modifications.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Commerce concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken sufficient actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that contracting officials can determine whether a modification is major and the applicability of the FAR clause, and whether they are making their best efforts to include the clause into existing contracts during major modifications.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Interior concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its May 2017 letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency reported that it plans to issue updated acquisition policy.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that contracting officials can determine whether a modification is major and the applicability of the FAR clause, and whether they are making their best efforts to include the clause into existing contracts during major modifications.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, State concurred with this recommendation. Officials have reported they are in the process of drafting a Procurement Information Bulletin related to inserting the clause into relevant contracts.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that contracting officials communicate with contractors and subcontractors to help ensure employees are informed about the requirements and protections provided by the whistleblower protection pilot program.

    Agency: Department of Commerce
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Commerce concurred with this recommendation. Commerce officials have said they plan to issue an Acquisition Notice to the acquisition community encouraging Commerce contracting officials to communicate the program's requirements and protections. We have requested a copy of the acquisition notice.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that contracting officials communicate with contractors and subcontractors to help ensure employees are informed about the requirements and protections provided by the whistleblower protection pilot program.

    Agency: Department of the Interior
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, Interior concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it. However, in its May 2017 letter to OMB and the Congress, the agency reported that it plans to issue updated acquisition policy.
    Recommendation: The Secretaries of Commerce, Homeland Security, Interior, and State should develop policies and processes to help ensure that contracting officials communicate with contractors and subcontractors to help ensure employees are informed about the requirements and protections provided by the whistleblower protection pilot program.

    Agency: Department of State
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, State concurred with this recommendation. Officials have reported they are in the process of drafting a Procurement Information Bulletin related to inserting the clause into relevant contracts.
    Director: Yvonne D. Jones
    Phone: (202) 512-2717

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help ensure the accuracy of MSPB's reporting on whistleblower appeals received and closed, the Chairman of MSPB should update MSPB's data entry user guide to include additional guidance and procedures to help improve the identification of appropriate whistleblower appeal closing codes to use.

    Agency: Merit Systems Protection Board
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To help ensure the accuracy of MSPB's reporting on whistleblower appeals received and closed, the Chairman of MSPB should add a quality check in MSPB's data analysis and reporting process to better identify discrepancies or other anomalies in data queries and the resulting datasets.

    Agency: Merit Systems Protection Board
    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

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide increased oversight of AOC and to keep the Architect and the Congress fully and currently informed, the AOC OIG should revise and implement policies and procedures to provide audit reports that are based on planning that includes an assessment of risk and the assignment of priorities, consistent with requirements in CIGIE's Quality Standards for Federal Offices of Inspector General.

    Agency: Architect of the Capitol
    Status: Open

    Comments: The AOC OIG has met the intent of GAO recommendation related to "revising" policies and procedures. We have verified that AOC OIG's policies (dated February 2017) have been revised and now require an assessment of risk and the assignment of priorities, consistent with requirements in CIGIE's Quality Standards for Federal Offices of Inspector General. However, we do not believe AOC OIG has met the intent of GAO recommendation related to "implementing" policies and procedures. In June 2017, the AOC OIG informed us that it plans to complete a risk assessment in August 2017 and use the results from the risk assessment to aid in developing the AOC OIG fiscal year 2018 audit plan, which AOC OIG plans to complete by October 1, 2017. To fully implement the recommendation, we believe AOC OIG still needs to (1) complete the risk assessment and (2) show how it used the results of the risk assessment to improve the scope of what needs to be audited. We will continue to monitor AOC OIG's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To reduce the risk that fraud, waste, and abuse and criminal activities are not detected or fully addressed, the AOC OIG should (1) work with CIGIE to obtain a peer review from another federal OIG of the AOC OIG's overall investigative operations, including consideration of the OIG's reliance on investigations performed by other entities, and (2) make any needed changes in its operating procedures based on the results of the review to help ensure that investigations of AOC are conducted in accordance with CIGIE standards for investigations and AOC Inspector General Act of 1978 (IG Act) requirements.

    Agency: Architect of the Capitol
    Status: Open

    Comments: On April 27, 2017, the OIG informed us that it has scheduled with CIGIE an external peer review of AOC investigative operations. The Federal Housing Finance Agency OIG is scheduled to perform this review in August 2017. This external review will also include assessing the AOC OIG's reliance on other OIGs and the U.S. Capitol Police to complete certain investigations. Further, AOC OIG indicated that after they receive the results of this peer review, they will make needed changes in operating procedures consistent with the GAO recommendation. We will continue to monitor AOC OIG's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: J. Lawrence Malenich
    Phone: (202) 512-3406

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: CCI's Chief Financial Officer should update its existing Procurement and Accounts Payable Policy to fully document CCI's management approval controls over payments made by check, including exemptions to regular procedures. This should include approval procedures to be followed during periods when only one authorized manager is available to sign checks for payment.

    Agency: Capital Concerts, Inc.
    Status: Open

    Comments: We provided a draft of this report to Capital Concerts, Inc. (CCI) for comment. In its written comments, CCI stated that its Board of Directors will take appropriate action to address this recommendation.
    Director: Beryl H. Davis
    Phone: (202) 512-2623

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide increased performance audit coverage of Commerce's bureaus and offices, the Commerce IG should augment the OIG's risk-based audit planning process to consider (1) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices to help ensure that the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of their programs are periodically reviewed and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce's Office of Inspector General (OIG) has taken actions to augment its annual risk assessment to consider (I) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO. For example, OIG's fiscal year (FY) 2016 audit plan included performance audits of Bureau of Industry and Security, Economic Development Administration, and Economic Development Administration, which are three of Commerce's smaller bureaus. It also included a performance audit of federal real property, a high-risk area identified by GAO. Further, OIG indicated completion of its FY 2017 risk assessment in June, and will be completing its FY 2017 audit plan in September - which will include performance audits of several of the Commerce's smaller bureaus, as well as consider the following high-risk areas identified by GAO in its 2015 report that could be applicable to Commerce. We believe OIG met the intent of GAO recommendation with regards to augmenting its annual risk assessment to consider (1) a rotation of performance audit coverage among the smaller bureaus and offices and (2) all applicable high-risk areas identified by GAO. We base our conclusion given that OIG has either conducted or scheduled to conduct performance audits to cover smaller bureaus and high-risk areas identified by GAO, which we verified on the OIG's website. However, we believe the intent of GAO's recommendation is for these audits to be performed in subsequent years going forward and not just in FY 2017. OIG was not able to provide us support to show it has formal procedures or policies in place to ensure these performance audits will be performed in future years on a rotational and periodic basis. As a result, we don't believe DOC OIG has fully met the intent of the recommendation. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that written hotline policies and procedures are consistently followed and complaints are handled effectively, the Commerce IG should enhance the existing internal control activities for the OIG's hotline operations through monitoring, including self-assessment evaluations conducted by the hotline unit of itself, periodic reviews of control design, and direct testing of internal controls.

    Agency: Department of Commerce: Office of the Inspector General
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Department of Commerce's Office of Inspector General (OIG) stated that it conducted a self-assessment of its hotline operations in fiscal year 2016, updated its complaint management policy, and is securing independent quality control reviews. We have reviewed OIG quality assessment memorandum dated 11/3/15 and verified it shows that OIG performed a self-assessment of its hotline operations, which included (1) evaluating proper handling of complaints; (2) assignment of disposition codes; and (3) time frames for processing complaints. In addition, we have reviewed OIG's updated complaint management policy and verified it contains detailed policies and procedures over its hotline operations. Therefore, we believe OIG met the intent of the recommendation with regards to conducting a self-assessment evaluation. However, we did not see where OIG met the intent of GAO recommendation with regards to having in place control activities for conducting periodic reviews of control design and direct testing of internal controls. We will continue to monitor the agency's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Brenda S. Farrell
    Phone: (202) 512-3604

    1 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve the military whistleblower reprisal investigation process and oversight of such investigations, the Secretary of Defense should work in coordination with the Department of Defense Inspector General (DODIG) to direct the services to follow standardized investigation stages and issue guidance clarifying how the stages are defined.

    Agency: Department of Defense
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of August 2016, this recommendation remains open. Officials from DOD Inspector General, Whistleblower Reprisal Investigations Directorate provided GAO with an update to this recommendation August 11, 2016. Although DOD concurred with this recommendation in the draft and final report, they stated that DODIG is not empowered in its oversight capacity to direct the services to follow standardized stages. However, these same officials noted that they are currently working with the military services through an established working group to standardize investigation stages and develop guidance for its implementation across the services by the end of 2016. If completed, we believe that these actions will meet the intent of our recommendation by helping to DODIG to better ensure consistent program implementation and equal treatment of all servicemember complaints.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    8 open recommendations
    including 8 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To better ensure that FBI whistleblowers have access to recourse under DOJ's regulations should the individuals experience retaliation, and to minimize the possibility of discouraging future potential whistleblowers, the Attorney General should clarify in all current relevant DOJ guidance and communications, including FBI guidance and communications, to whom FBI employees may make protected disclosures and, further, explicitly state that employees will not have access to recourse if they experience retaliation for reporting alleged wrongdoing to someone not designated in DOJ's regulations.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that complainants receive the periodic updates that they are entitled to and need to determine next steps for their complaint, such as whether or not to seek corrective action from OARM, Counsel, DOJ-OPR should tailor its new case management system or otherwise develop an oversight mechanism to capture information on the office's compliance with regulatory requirements and, further, use that information to monitor and identify opportunities to improve DOJ-OPR's compliance with regulatory requirements.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Professional Responsibility
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM) and Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) should provide parties with an estimated time frame for returning each decision, including whether the complaint meets threshold regulatory requirements, merits, and appeals. If the time frame shifts, OARM and ODAG should timely communicate a revised estimate to the parties.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of the Deputy Attorney General
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management (OARM) and Office of the Deputy Attorney General (ODAG) should provide parties with an estimated time frame for returning each decision, including whether the complaint meets threshold regulatory requirements, merits, and appeals. If the time frame shifts, OARM and ODAG should timely communicate a revised estimate to the parties.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Justice Management Division: Human Resources and Administration: Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ-OPR), Office of the Inspector General, OARM, and ODAG should jointly assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire investigation, adjudication, and appeal process to ensure that these changes are in fact shortening total complaint length, without sacrificing quality.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of the Deputy Attorney General
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ-OPR), Office of the Inspector General, OARM, and ODAG should jointly assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire investigation, adjudication, and appeal process to ensure that these changes are in fact shortening total complaint length, without sacrificing quality.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Justice Management Division: Human Resources and Administration: Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ-OPR), Office of the Inspector General, OARM, and ODAG should jointly assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire investigation, adjudication, and appeal process to ensure that these changes are in fact shortening total complaint length, without sacrificing quality.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Professional Responsibility
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has not responded to GAO requests for information on any efforts DOJ has taken to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To better ensure that DOJ is fulfilling its commitment to improving efficiency in handling these complaints, DOJ Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ-OPR), Office of the Inspector General, OARM, and ODAG should jointly assess the impact of ongoing and planned efforts to reduce the duration of FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints throughout the entire investigation, adjudication, and appeal process to ensure that these changes are in fact shortening total complaint length, without sacrificing quality.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Office of Inspector General
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: As of March 1, 2017, GAO has not received information from the Department of Justice about any steps taken to address this recommendation.