Federal Workforce:

Low Activity in Awards Program for Cost Savings Disclosures

GGD-88-22: Published: Dec 18, 1987. Publicly Released: Dec 18, 1987.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed six agencies' policies, procedures, and practices in implementing the Inspectors General (IG) Cash Award Program for Cost Savings Disclosures, which rewards federal employees and military personnel whose disclosures of fraud, waste, or mismanagement result in cost savings to the government.

GAO found that: (1) most IG disagreed with the use of a cash reward as an incentive for disclosures of government wrongdoing; (2) four of the six IG it interviewed believed that employees should make disclosures as a matter of duty rather than as paid informants; (3) 2 percent of the 8,600 employees who responded to a questionnaire indicated that a cash award would motivate them to report fraud, waste, or mismanagement; (4) 81 percent of the responding employees indicated that they would disclose wrongdoing if they knew that doing so would bring changes, and 41 percent indicated they would be encouraged to disclose information if they knew they would be protected from reprisal; (5) of the six agencies, only the Department of Defense has granted cash awards since November 1985; and (6) IG in four agencies chose not to make cash awards, since they regarded the program as optional. GAO believes that Congress may wish to consider: (1) expanding program coverage to include nonfederal personnel; (2) allowing cash awards for disclosures that result in intangible benefits; and (3) clarifying its intent that all agencies should implement the program.

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