Follow-Up Audit of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives
Forensic Science Laboratories Workload Management

Audit Report 06-15
March 2006
Office of the Inspector General


Appendix VII
Office of the Inspector Generalís Analysis and
Summary of Actions Necessary to Close Report


The OIG provided a draft of this audit report to the ATF for review and comment. The ATF’s response is included in Appendix VI of this final report. The ATF generally concurred with each of the seven recommendations. Our analysis of the ATF’s response to the recommendations is provided below.

Status of Recommendations

  1. Resolved. This recommendation is resolved based on the ATF’s agreement to develop and implement a plan to address the backlog of forensic cases. The recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation supporting the development and implementation of the plan.

  2. Resolved. This recommendation is resolved based on the ATF’s agreement to develop and implement a formal plan to manage workloads from resource-intensive cases. The recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation supporting the development and implementation of the plan.

  3. Resolved. This recommendation is resolved based on the ATF’s concurrence that agreements and contracts with other laboratories would be beneficial and the ATF’s stated intent to look for opportunities to use contracts or agreements with other laboratories. However, we are concerned that the ATF also states, somewhat contradictorily, that it does not agree that the recommended corrective action should be pursued at this time. The ATF bases this position on the belief that our report concludes that most, if not all, public forensic laboratories face significant backlogs and a belief that the recommendation would require the ATF to overcome significant accreditation issues. We disagree. While our report provides some discussion of backlogs at public laboratories, the discussion focuses on the use of the 30-day time standard at such laboratories and compliance with that standard by the ATF. We did not make conclusions regarding the general status of backlogs in public laboratories, and our report should not be read as a comprehensive assessment of backlogs in public laboratories. In addition, our recommendation is not focused on the ATF’s use of public laboratories and applies equally to the use of accredited private laboratories.

  4. This recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation supporting the ATF’s efforts to seek opportunities to use agreements or contracts with other laboratories.

  5. Resolved. This recommendation is resolved based on the ATF’s agreement to implement a priority system for managing all incoming evidence submissions. The recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation supporting implementation of the system.

  6. Resolved. This recommendation is resolved based on the ATF’s agreement to ensure that special agents are educated on the new priority system. However, the ATF did not address how it will ensure that special agents comply with requirements of the new system. The recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation supporting completion of the training and the method to be used to ensure compliance with the system.

  7. Resolved. This recommendation is resolved based on the ATF’s agreement to develop and implement a plan to reduce the time it takes to fill examiner vacancies. The recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation supporting development and implementation of the plan.

  8. Resolved. This recommendation is resolved based on the ATF’s agreement to revise the questionnaire being sent to customers. We understand the ATF’s objection to always obtaining feedback on case outcomes, but we continue to believe that the ATF should solicit information on case outcomes that were significantly affected, positively or negatively, by the forensic analyses performed. The recommendation can be closed when we receive documentation supporting implementation of the revised questionnaire.



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