Sneak Preview: Penn. DCNR Urged To Improve Documentation Reviews

January 30, 2014 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from an article in the Single Audit Information Service.) In response to a recent audit, the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources plans to review findings received about its Community Conservation Partnership Program (C2P2) and determine what steps it can take to ensure that documentation is submitted and appropriately reviewed.

C2P2 provides grant funding to communities, land conservancies and nonprofit organizations for various natural resources projects. The Department of the Auditor General conducted a two-phase review of DCNR’s administration of the C2P2 program from July 2008 through June 2013. During the first phase, DAG evaluated the process DCNR followed to fund projects from July 2008 through June 2010; during the second phase, it reviewed any changes management made to the process.

DAG evaluated 60 C2P2 projects totaling $45 million and the expenditure documentation maintained by DCNR’s Bureau of Recreation and Conservation. DAG found that BRC had sufficient documentation for only 19 of the 60 projects.  BRC noted that it did not require grantees to submit actual invoices or payroll records, and instead only required them to submit a list of invoices or a summary spreadsheet of project expenditures. BRC would then request additional information “if something unusual comes to its attention.”

“Although project managers might keep abreast of projects, failure to obtain invoices or go on-site to review invoices could allow the grantees to potentially use some grant funds wastefully, abusively or fraudulently,” DAG said. “Ongoing project monitoring, including reviewing the invoices from the project, should be implemented by management to reduce the risk of grantees inappropriately spending money.”

DAG officials then gathered information on the 41 projects for which BRC lacked sufficient documentation. It received sufficient documentation, in which expenditures were reasonable and appropriate, for 17 projects. However, no documentation was provided by grantees for eight projects worth $2.5 million, and insufficient documentation (i.e., lacking payroll records or other invoices) was provided by the grants for 16 projects totaling $8.7 million.

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