Sneak Preview: Guidance Recommended for IGs Reporting on IPERA

July 3, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) said it would be willing to work with the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to help develop guidance on procedures that federal agency inspectors general (IGs) should follow when determining whether agencies are in compliance with the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA) of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-204), in response to a recent recommendation by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

IPERA, which has been amended by the Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Improvement Act of 2012 (IPERIA) (Pub. L. 112-248), calls for IGs to annually report on whether their respective agencies complied with the following IPERA criteria: (1) published an annual Agency Financial Report or Performance and Accountability Report; (2) conducted a program-specific risk assessment for each program or activity; (3) published improper payment estimates for all programs and activities deemed susceptible to significant improper payments; (4) published corrective action plans for those programs and activities; (5) met annual improper payment reduction targets; and (6) reported a gross improper payment rate of less than 10 percent for each program and activity for which an improper payment estimate was published.

GAO points out that in federal fiscal year (FY) 2015, IGs with 15 of the 24 federal Chief Financial Officer Act agencies reported that their agencies were not in overall compliance with IPERA. While the number of noncompliant agencies had decreased to 11 agencies in FY 2013, the number rose again back to 15 for both FY 2014 and FY 2015. For example, for the five years since the enactment of IPERA, the departments of Agriculture (USDA), Health and Human Services (HHS), Homeland Security, Labor (DOL), Transportation, Treasury, Veterans Affairs, Small Business Administration and Social Security Administration have been reported as noncompliant for all five years. Only the departments of Commerce and Justice, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the U.S. Agency for International Development have been reported as compliant for all five years.

GAO noted that despite the lack of IPERA compliance by many agencies, those agencies that failed to meet IPERA’s fifth and sixth criteria of meeting reduction targets and reporting improper payment rates below 10 percent may not necessarily be failing to adequately monitor their programs’ improper payments. For example, IGs reported increases in improper payment rates because of actions such as improved sampling and emphasis on training, which enhanced their agencies’ ability to detect improper payments and “considerably reduce the likelihood that an agency will meet the predetermined reduction targets or report an improper payment rate below 10 percent.”

(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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