More Federal Agencies Experience Concerns with IPERA Compliance

July 13, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

MoneyOne of the most aggravating things in life is witnessing regression. Whether it be watching your favorite ballplayer finally coming out his slump only to fall back into his old, futile swinging habits, or having a family member that had been sober for years fall off the wagon again in his or her renewed battle with alcoholism, regression has the feel to it that all previous progress made has been negated.

That was my first reaction to a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on federal agency compliance under the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act of 2010 (IPERA). The report found that for federal fiscal year 2014, inspectors general with 15 of the 24 Chief Financial Officers Act (CFO Act) agencies determined that their agencies did not comply with IPERA criteria. Here’s the kicker: “This is the largest number of CFO Act agencies reported as noncompliant under IPERA since the requirement for IGs to report on their agencies’ compliance was implemented in fiscal year 2011, and represents an increase of 4 agencies from fiscal year 2013.” Ugh!

In fact, looking at a corresponding chart in the report, the numbers of noncompliant agencies was skewing downward — 14 agencies were noncompliant in FY 2011; 12 were noncompliant in FY 2012; and 11 were noncompliant in FY 2013. However, the number rose to 15 in FY 2014, largely due to agencies failing to meet improper payment reduction targets or to report improper payment error rates at less than 10 percent for all programs, according to GAO.

In addition, 18 programs at nine federal agencies were reported as noncompliant with IPERA criteria by their agencies’ inspectors general for at least three consecutive years as of FY 2014. Agencies with programs reported as noncompliant for three consecutive years are required to submit proposals to Congress to reauthorize the programs or change the statutes that established them. However — and this this interesting — GAO found that only three agencies submitted such information to Congress.

Needless to say, GAO had some specific recommendations for agencies to improve this record. We plan to provide more information from this report in a future article on our Grants Compliance Expert website. Hopefully over time, agencies will take steps to address these compliance issues so that the number of noncompliant agencies will again diminish, and stay that way.

Let us know your reaction to this GAO report. We’d like to get your views on improper payments.


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