Sneak Preview: Better Oversight Urged for Victims Fund Programs

November 16, 2017 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

xsass_bookshot(The following was excerpted from a recent article in the Single Audit Information Service.) The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP) recently issued guidance to state agencies receiving awards under Crime Victims Fund (CVF) grant programs that explains prime recipient responsibilities for the oversight of subrecipient activities, according to a recent audit by the DOJ Office of Inspector General (OIG). In addition, offices within OJP plan to collaborate with other DOJ offices to evaluate the effectiveness of its internal oversight practices.

The CVF was created by the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 (Pub. L. 98-473) as an account funded entirely by federal criminal fees, forfeited bail bonds, penalties and special assessments collected by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, federal courts and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. OJP’s Office for Victims of Crime (OVC) distributes CVF funds to state administering agencies, which may pass the funds down to local government and nonprofit subrecipients. OIG’s audit sought to examine risks associated with managing CVF-funded grant programs.

OIG found that OVC, in general, had sufficient control processes in place for the solicitation, selection and awarding of CVF grants. OIG also noted that OVC ensured that CVF grant awards were computed and allocated appropriately to states and territories according to legislatively mandated formulas. In addition, OVC was making progress toward meeting new congressional requirements for CVF grant recipients, such as requiring them to certify their nonprofit status, establish plans to monitor subrecipients and make subrecipients’ financial statements publicly available.

However, OIG noted several areas where OJP could strengthen its management of CVF-funded grant programs. For instance, OVC was not monitoring state administering agencies as frequently as required under program guidelines. Between 2008 and 2016, OVC performed onsite visits to only 18 of the 56 victim assistance state administering agencies every three to four years, as required, while 18 other state agencies received their two most recent reviews during a period ranging from five to eight years. The remaining 20 agencies were reviewed only once during this period.

(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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