GAO Recommends More Guidance for IPERA Compliance Determinations

Posted by Angie Petty on June 20, 2017

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In a recent analysis, GAO found information presented in IG Improper Payments Elimination and Recovery Act (IPERA) compliance determinations may be misleading due to inconsistent evaluations and lack of guidance.

GAO found that inspectors general (IG) reported 15 of 24 agencies as noncompliant under IPERA for FY 2015. These 15 agencies have programs which account for 96% ($132B) of total improper payments for FY 2015. 

Since 2010, agencies have been required to report annually to Inspectors General (IG) criteria related to the estimation of improper payments as part of the requirements of IPERA.

GAO examined improper payment reporting and compliance by IGs for fiscal years 2011 to 2015.  Specifically, GAO reviewed IG IPERA compliance reports to examine the following:

  • The extent to which the 24 CFO Act agency IGs reported that agencies complied with the six IPERA criteria for fiscal years 2011 through 2015 and the programs reported as noncompliant for 3 or more consecutive years.
  • The extent to which the IGs reported that they performed optional procedures during their fiscal year 2015 reviews.
  • The number and status of the IGs’ fiscal years 2011 through 2015 IPERA compliance review recommendations.

GAO found that some IGs reported agency compliance based only on the presence or absence of the required analysis or reporting. They did not take into account whether there were flaws with the reporting.  However, other IGs reported agencies as noncompliant based on an evaluation of the accuracy of agency reporting.  IPERA and OMB guidance does not specify what, if any, evaluative procedures should be conducted as part of the IGs’ compliance determinations.

GAO believes that additional guidance could provide more consistent compliance determinations and reporting by IGs. GAO recommends that the Director of OMB coordinate with the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) to develop and issue guidance regarding procedures that should be used as part of the IGs’ IPERA compliance determinations.

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