Press Release

GAO Gets "Clean Opinion" on Agency's Quality Controls

Independent Peer Review Team Cites Exemplary Practices

WASHINGTON, DC (October 31, 2011) – An international peer review team has given the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) a “clean opinion” on the quality assurance system GAO uses to conduct performance and financial audits. The review states that the GAO reports it examined “were of very high quality, where the strengths of GAO were paramount in providing Congress and the public with reliable information.”

The review team cited a number of exemplary practices at GAO, as well as a strong corporate culture that supports quality, as contributing to GAO’s effectiveness in improving government operations. The review team also made several suggestions for GAO to consider as it continues to enhance its quality assurance system.

“On behalf of the professional and dedicated staff at GAO, I am pleased that this international peer review team concluded that Congress and the American people can have confidence that our work is independent, objective, and reliable,” said Gene L. Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO. “This report confirms that policymakers and the public can rely on the facts and analyses presented in GAO studies,” Dodaro added.

This is the third consecutive clean opinion GAO has received from an international peer review team. GAO is required to undergo an independent external assessment of its quality assurance systems every three years.

The peer review was conducted under an international arrangement with other national audit offices. National audit offices create multinational teams to conduct peer reviews in accordance with government auditing standards. Each peer review team is headed by a specific national audit office assisted by staff from other member offices.

The GAO peer review team was led by the Office of the Auditor General of Norway, with support from the national audit offices of Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. The review covered GAO’s performance and financial audit work and examined all aspects of GAO’s quality assurance framework—from the controls around the initial acceptance of new work to those governing the issuance of the final product. The work included interviews with staff and a study of a sample of GAO audit products.

The report from the international peer review is posted on GAO’s website at For more information, contact Chuck Young, Managing Director of Public Affairs, at 202-512-4800.


The Government Accountability Office, known as the investigative arm of Congress, exists to support Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities. GAO also works to improve the performance of the federal government and ensure its accountability to the American people. The agency examines the use of public funds; evaluates federal programs and policies; and provides analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions. GAO’s commitment to good government is reflected in its core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability.