Sneak Preview: IGs Prepare To Conduct Agency Readiness Reviews

June 17, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) Many federal Offices of Inspector General (OIGs) are conducting readiness reviews this summer to assess what steps their respective agencies must take to implement requirements under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) (Pub. L. 113-101). Once completed, the DATA Act working group within the Federal Audit Executive Council (FAEC) plans to issue a report to Congress this fall based on the reviews.

The FAEC is a subset of the Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) that addresses issues affecting the federal audit community. FAEC in January 2015 established the DATA Act working group, which is comprised of OIG officials charged with ensuring federal OIGs fulfill their responsibilities under the DATA Act.

The DATA Act requires federal agencies to begin reporting spending data in accordance with the act by May 2017 and to publicly post spending data in machine-readable formats by May 2018. However, recent reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) have found that federal agencies are facing numerous challenges in implementing the requirements under the act, and questioned whether the agencies would be able to meet these deadlines.

Speaking to attendees at the recent DATA Act Summit hosted by the Data Coalition, Jim Lisle, director of fiscal service audits for the Department of the Treasury OIG, said OIGs from 20 federal agencies have begun conducting readiness reviews of their agency’s DATA Act implementation efforts. Once the reviews are complete, the results will be submitted to FAEC’s DATA Act working group for a report to be presented to Congress this fall. The working group currently is developing standard methods for each OIG to use when conducting the readiness reviews.

Lisle noted that the readiness reviews are not a requirement under the DATA Act, but the results can assist agencies in addressing DATA Act implementation barriers. “We wanted to encourage IGs to see how agencies are progressing toward implementation to allow agencies time to act on any problems found,” he said. “OIGs are not required to conduct a readiness review, but we are highly encouraging them to do so.”

Lisle said that when conducting the readiness reviews this summer, OIGs will assess whether the agency: (1) has an adequate DATA Act implementation plan in place; (2) has grant and procurement personnel working on the implementation who are familiar with the data systems; (3) has a governance team overseeing the implementation; and (4) maintains IT systems that can capture the data elements required under the DATA Act.

(The full version of this story has now been made available to all for a limited time on Thompson’s Grants Compliance Expert site.)

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