Review of the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare's Office for Civil Rights

HRD-77-78: Published: Mar 30, 1977. Publicly Released: Mar 30, 1977.

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GAO reviewed the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) management of its civil rights enforcement responsibilities with particular emphasis on the way OCR is using its resources. Inquiry was made into OCR appropriations, staffing, complaint processing and compliance review policies and procedures, resources expended on various enforcement activities, and the results/accomplishments achieved by OCR under each of the federal civil rights laws for which it has enforcement responsibilities. A general lack of basic management information hampered GAO audit work in each of these areas and precluded a more detailed evaluation of OCR operations.

OCR has not been able to keep up with its workload and accomplish many of its enforcement activities, primarily because of a lack of staff resources and increased requirements imposed on OCR by the courts. OCR does not have a comprehensive and reliable management information system which provides top-level officials with the basic data needed for making management decisions. There has been no development of uniform policy guidelines and compliance standards for officewide application in carrying out civil rights enforcement activities. One of the main reasons for OCR limited effectiveness appears to be a lack of quality staff, and there is an absence of uniform criteria for allocating staff resources among various enforcement activities. OCR has not coordinated itself adequately with the Department's program agencies and the communication between OCR headquarters and regional offices is limited. Also OCR has not made provisions for monitoring costs and benefits of prototype projects and unique compliance reviews.

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