State Department's Office of Inspector General Should Be More Independent and Effective

Gao ID: AFMD-83-56 June 2, 1983

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the operations of the Department of State's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) to determine how differences between its authorizing legislation, the Foreign Service Act of 1980, and the Inspector General Act affect the State OIG work.

GAO found that the Foreign Service Act included several important differences from the basic Inspector General Act, which permit the new State OIG to continue to operate like old OIG rather than functioning like the new independent statutory OIG established in other agencies. GAO believes that more independence is needed in the State OIG, because it found a number of situations in which the independence of the State Inspector General (IG) inspection, audit, and investigative functions could have been impaired. In addition to doing traditional audit functions, OIG is required to inspect and audit each foreign post and domestic unit at least once every 5 years. GAO believes that management, not OIG, should be responsible for these routine inspections. The role of the independent audit organization should be to evaluate how well agency management is carrying out its basic responsibilities, including its routine monitoring and assessment functions. In addition, GAO found that OIG has little operational control over investigations into allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse. It relies on the Office of Security to conduct these investigations. GAO believes that this constitutes an organizational impairment which has caused delays and a poorer quality of investigations. Finally, GAO found that government audit standards are not being complied with and that the quality of OIG work has suffered due to the lack of staff training and experience, severe time constraints, and the lack of documentation.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: John J. Adair Team: General Accounting Office: Accounting and Financial Management Division Phone: (202) 275-5200

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