Federal Civilian Audit Organizations Have Often Been Unsuccessful in Obtaining Additional Staff

FGMSD-79-43: Published: Jul 27, 1979. Publicly Released: Jul 27, 1979.

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A strong Federal internal audit capability has long been supported by GAO. A continuing concern has been the adequacy of internal audit staff resources. The report discusses the efforts that have been made by the major Federal agencies to increase their audit resources.

The total audit staff of the 22 audit organizations reviewed increased from 3,399 in fiscal year 1974 to 4,153 at the end of fiscal year 1978. However, almost all of the additional personnel were gained by just 6 of the organizations. About 60 percent of the total additional positions requested by the organizations was disapproved by their agencies, and in turn the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approved only 51 percent of the total audit positions requested by the 15 agencies. Thus far, OMB has not provided the guidance on audit staffing to Federal agencies that was recommended in a previous report. Both the agencies and OMB have been responsible for keeping the staffing levels of Federal audit organizations at relatively low levels. While GAO fully supports the goal of an efficient, streamlined work force, it is believed that Federal agencies and OMB should consider that audit organizations often produce savings to the Government that exceed the cost of their operation.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Matter: Congress should inquire about the adequacy and effectiveness of Federal internal audit staffs at agency oversight and appropriation hearings.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

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

    Recommendation: The recommendation was repeated that the Director of OMB should develop guidelines to assist Federal agency management in determining the appropriateness of the size of their audit staffs. These guidelines should also address the question of the division of efforts between external and internal audits.

    Agency Affected:


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