GAO flags longstanding quality and organizational concerns with DHS OIG

Based on its analysis of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG), the Government Accountability Office submitted preliminary findings and recommendations to Congress. Audits are taking longer, and the DHS OIG has gone four out of six years without main auditing policies and processes, including a strategic plan. The quality of work at the DHS OIG was also a source of concern for GAO, in part because the office lacked a consistent quality assurance program. Between 2017 and 2018, the DHS Office of Inspector General withdrew 13 reports after an internal investigation raised concerns about whether they met government auditing requirements. The Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency conducted a peer review of the DHS OIG in 2018 and gave it a “Pass with Deficit” ranking for its audit work.

In less than a year, the DHS OIG completed seven of 67 audits. The acting DHS Inspector General, Joseph Cuffari, retained an outside law firm to investigate charges of corruption against three OIG executives. According to the GAO, these are preliminary results from the DHS OIG’s ongoing study. The GAO analysis, according to Currie, was not intended to focus on the past, but rather to expose the root causes of the DHS OIG’s problems. Morale among DHS OIG employees has increased, according to Cuffari, with the most recent findings from the 2020 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey reaching a five-year high within his organization. Currie believes that without a broad strategic plan or concrete policies in place, OIG staff and the public would be left to “Fill in the Gaps” regarding the inspector general’s priorities and why some programs are taken on while others are not.

Several committee members, including Katko, said they wanted to hold more hearings so they could monitor the OIG’s progress.

Author: Emely Rivas

Source: y-and-organizational-concerns-with-dhs-oig/