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The work that we do in this category runs the gamut of current congressional interests and of Federal agencies and programs. Examples of our direct assistance work are included in a handout.
In all, our FY 1980 request for resources to meet our direct assistance responsibilities will total 2,084 staff years. This is an increase of 144 staff years over FY 1979 levels. The whole increase is needed to meet new workload over which we have little or no control. As previously pointed out, our increased workload substantially exceeds this amount. The requested increase of 144 staff years is the amount which cannot be reprogrammed or otherwise absorbed,
REVIEWS OF PROGRAMS, UNDER CURRENT STATUTES,
This category of work had been our largest one, but--as pointed out earlier--because of serious resource constraints, it is one from which we have needed to "borrow" in recent years to meet the more time critical work requirements of our direct assistance program category.
It is by work under this program category that we fulfill our basic responsibilities for audits and evaluations of federal agencies and programs. (Audit work primarily directed to accounting and financial management objectives does not come within this program category but is included within the program category described on page B-10.)
Our reviews of program results, economy, and efficiency are performed in response to GAO's responsibility to the Congress under the Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 and subsequent legislation which gives GAO continuing responsibilities. It is in very large measure by work under this category that we give the Congress information that it needs to oversee executive agencies and their programs. Work under this program category also gives the Congress a significant factual experience base for use as it considers proposals for program modifications or for new programs.
Our responsibilities for work under this program category are immense; they are as encompassing as are the operations of the Federal government itself. Consequently, the GAO planning system needs to--and does--provide the basis for highlighting what most needs to be done during a particular period with assurance that, over time, no agencies or programs get short shrift,
For example, it has become increasingly apparent that CAO work in defense related areas needs shoring up. This work involving 45.5% of GAO's audit effort in FY 1970 had, by FY 1977, dropped to 23%. In FY 1980 we will need to add resources to this work so that defense related work will constitute 25% of the total GAO effort. This level is, we believe, a minimum one consistent with the audit requirements of the nation's defense activities.
GAO work under this category is accomplished through a large number of individual assignments each of which seeks particular, defined objectives. GAO's program planning system provides an important vehicle by which individual assignments are the "building blocks" by which CAO performs audits and evaluations of major issues of highest national interest.
In planning our work under this program category we give first consideration to the interests of the Congress. We maintain close and continuing contacts with congressional committees to help assure the usefulness of our work products.
In determining the work that we should undertake under this program category we consider matters such as:
--expressions of congressional interest,
--the importance of programs and activities judged by such means as public
impact, amount of expenditures, Investment in assets, and amount of revenues,
--the newness of programs and activities,
--public criticism indicating the need for corrective action, and
--the extent and recency of prior work by GAO or by agency Internal
review and evaluation groups.
In work under this category, we consider what is happening in programs and activities of virtually all executive agencies. With CAO staff physically stationed in department and agency locations in Washington, D.C., 15 Regional offices and in four such offices overseas, we identify problems as they develop and keep on top of what is happening day-to-day in the planning and operation of Federal programs. Our government-wide responsibilities give us the perspective to make recommendations to improve interagency relationships, to eliminate program overlaps and duplication, and to correct gaps in program coverage. In so doing, we point out to the Congress how program effectiveness, efficiency and economy can be improved.
In FY 1980 we will require the use of 1,752 staff years for work in this program category. The small increase of 21 staff years over FY 1979 levels is needed to meet the audit and evaluation requirements of recent legislation which added new programs or modified existing ones. These requirements are described and illustrated earlier on page B-4. Examples of our reviews of programs, under current statutes for economy, efficiency and effectiveness are Included in a handout.
ANALYSIS OF COSTS AND BENEFITS
This program category, which analyzes the costs and benefits of alternative programs, has as its main thrust the cost/benefit and probable impact and implications of different approaches to significant problems which are usually national in scope. Its emphasis is on alternative actions needed to deal with an important issue or problem at the national level, whether or not any Federal programs or legislation are in place to deal with the problem. Studies under this category generally start with the recognition of a significant problem and explore various different ways by which Federal action could best solve or alleviate it.
Illustrative of our work in this category is that which is directed to determining the benefits, costs and other impacts of regulation and to exploring what viable alternatives there are to regulation over a range of Federal objectives now sought by that means.
We plan to use the same number of staff years in FY 1980 as in FY 1979,
AUDITS OF FINANCIAL OPERATIONS AND ACCOUNTING SYSTEMS WORK
Work under this program category is directed toward improving accounting and financial accountability of Federal agencies and their programs. Work under this category includes:
--Improving the accounting systems of Federal executive agencies. It
includes the work that we do in prescribing principles and
--Reviewing accounting systems as they actually operate in connection
--Auditing and settling accounts of accountable officers in both
--Auditing the Government corporations and other governmental activities
for which we are assigned responsibility by various pieces of
--Assisting Federal, State, and local governments to strengthen their
auditing and evaluation standards and methods. A major objective
--Participating in the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program.
This Government-wide program to stimulate improvements in accounting
--Helping congressional committees get the fiscal, budgetary, and
program information that they need and to effectively use the
--Improving the program evaluation methods used by executive agencies
and helping Congress to use program evaluation information. This
An important area of ongoing emphasis that will receive increasing attention throughout FY 1980 is the work in this and other program categories that is directed to evaluating the adequacy of management control systems in Federal agencies that are necessary for the prevention of fraud and to assess the adequacy of followup and corrective actions taken or reports of auditors and investigators. Since computer systems offer many possibilities for fraud, we will identify weaknesses in computer controls over payrolls, payments to vendors, and cash disbursements for other purposes. We are approaching this through the establishment of a Special Task Force for the Prevention of Fraud and have allocated substantial staff resources to achieve its objectives. At the conclusion of our work at each agency, we will prepare a report to the Congress and the agency involved in our work, with particular emphasis on any weaknesses in management controls that would permit fraud, theft, or error to occur.
In all, our work under this program category will require 333 staff years. This is 8 staff years more than will be used in FY 1979. The increase reflects our continuing emphasis on work to prevent fraud and abuse in agency activities.
This category includes work--assignments and studies--that fulfills important GAO responsibilities but does not easily fit in any of the other larger program categories.
This category includes broadly based planning surveys which will guide GAO work perhaps for years to come. It includes research efforts such as those directed to developing or improving evaluation methodology and Innovative techniques. Examples include a study to identify, appraise, and develop alternative methods by which GAO can best detect and measure bias in the results of social research and social experimentation. Another example is an analysis of the President's FY 1980 budget for internal GAO planning purposes.
Our work in this program category will be 169 staff years in FY 1980. This is 5 staff years less than will be required for FY 1979.
CLAIMS SETTLEMENT AND DEBT COLLECTION ACTIVITIES
This category includes our work in settling claims by and against the United States. It is a way by which aggrieved parties are provided with an impartial and independent settlement of their claims, at little or no expense to them. It also reduces the burden of the courts and on the Department of Justice, which could result from litigation instituted by aggrieved parties. Our work lavolves:
--Payment claias work. This includes claims against the United States that are referred to GAO for settlement because they involve doubtful questions of law or fact or because such submission is required by statute.
--Debt claims and collection work. This includes claims referred
to CAO because of administrative doubt as to the liability of the
Actions to streamline the handling of both debt and collection payments are continuing. In FY 1980, we plan to use 135 staff years for work in this program category.
LEGAL SERVICES AND DECISIONS
This program category Includes the legal work of the Office--other than that which responds to specific requests of Committees and Members of Congress and is included in the Direct Assistance Program category previously discussed. Work under this category extends, with certain exceptions, to virtually the full range of the Government's receipt and expenditure activity. It involves: .
EXECUTIVE DIRECTION AND MANAGEMENT SERVICES
This program category includes:
--direction and control of the operation of the General Accounting
Ofiice by the Office of Comptroller General;
--the functions of the Office of Policy, the Office of Program
-the General Services and Controller organization which provides
. accounting and financial management and
. ADP and other information planning and management
- personnel management and staff development; and
--administrative and library services.
Staff year requirements for this program category will remain at 546 staff years for FY 1980. This is the same level as required for FY 1979.