Office Of Justice Programs Technical Assistance And Training Program

Audit Report No. 04-40
September 2004
Office of the Inspector General

Executive Summary

The Office of the Inspector General has completed an audit of the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP’s) Technical Assistance and Training Program (TA&T). The TA&T is the product of many OJP bureaus and program offices and includes a wide range of funding sources, types of services, and products. For example, the OJP’s Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) provides an array of technical assistance and training programs to provide criminal justice practitioners with information on effective programs and practices and to address new criminal justice issues. The mission of the OJP’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is to strengthen the juvenile justice system by providing training, technical assistance, and information on trends, new approaches, and innovative techniques to juvenile courts and court personnel; law enforcement; detention and corrections; youth service providers; and child advocacy organizations. Grantees include universities, non-profit organizations, states, and municipalities.

We reviewed the OJP’s administration of $312.5 million in TA&T grant awards. We audited 21 of the 158 TA&T grants awarded by the OJP between fiscal year (FY) 1995 and FY 2002. These 21 grants totaled $77.7 million, or 25 percent of the $312.5 million in total TA&T grant dollars awarded.1 Our objectives were to: (1) determine if the OJP implemented internal control measures to ensure accurate financial reporting by grantees; and (2) assess the OJP’s monitoring and evaluation of grant objectives.

Most TA&T funding is awarded through discretionary grants.2 However, the OJP may determine that funding from existing block and formula grants can be used for technical assistance.3 In addition, Congress may legislate that funds from block and formula grants be set aside for specific TA&T programs.

TA&T grants are designed in accordance with the specific mandates associated with each OJP bureau or program office, and can be customized to meet the specific needs of a state or local community. TA&T grants can also address a broad array of topics, such as providing training and technical assistance to drug courts, paid work and job skills training programs and develop standards and training for School Resource Officers (See Appendices V and VI for examples).

Although many OJP bureaus and program offices awarded TA&T grants, the OJJDP and the BJA awarded 92.5 percent of the total TA&T grant dollars. Therefore, we focused our audit on the grant monitoring efforts of these two bureaus.

Our audit of various headquarters functions at the OJP and audits of 21 individual TA&T grants disclosed the following deficiencies in the OJP’s administration of TA&T grants:

  • Program and financial monitoring by BJA and OJJDP were not conducted consistently, and there was little coordination between the two areas.

  • We identified approximately $5.2 million in questioned costs and funds that could be put to better use.4 In addition, a formal investigation was launched, based on our audit results, to examine one grantee’s expenditures and business practices.

  • OJP grant managers did not ensure that all required Financial Status Reports and Progress Reports were submitted timely and accurately, and other monitoring and closeout requirements were not being adhered to.

  • Communication between grantees and grant managers was not documented in accordance with OJP requirements.

  • The OJP did not play a role in developing grantees’ performance or outcome measures, nor did it have specific requirements that grantees could follow in developing such measures. As a result, we were unable to assess the impact of the grants to determine whether they were achieving their intended purposes.

  • While the OJP has mandated that the Grants Management System (GMS) be used by its various components, several of the modules of the GMS were not fully operational during our audit period. For example, the Financial Status Reports were not required to be filed electronically until April 2004. The enhanced GMS, which will include all modules to manage grants, is scheduled to be fully operational by September 30, 2004.

Based on these findings, we recommend that the OJP ensure that grant managers receive annual training to ensure that they are knowledgeable of OJP’s requirements governing the submission of timely and accurate reports, allowable costs, grant monitoring requirements, and grant closeout procedures. We also recommend that the OJP ensure the complete implementation of its automated system for managing grants. In addition, we recommend that the OJP bureaus work with grantees to develop performance or outcome measures to assess the effectiveness of TA&T grants.

The details of our work are discussed in the Findings and Recommendations section of the report. Our audit objectives, scope, and methodology are contained in Appendix I.


  1. The overall TA&T universe is 1,145 grants totaling $1.4 billion during this time period. However, these figures include grants that have multiple purposes. We limited our audit to grants that were exclusively for TA&T.

  2. Discretionary grants are awarded on a competitive basis to public and private agencies, private non-profit organizations, and universities.

  3. Block grant funding is given to a state, and then allocated to local organizations through sub-grants. Formula grants are awarded to state and local governments based on a pre-determined formula using, for example, a jurisdiction’s crime rate, population, or other factors.

  4. The Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, contains our reporting requirements for questioned costs and funds to better use. However, not all findings are dollar-related. See Appendices II, III, and IV for a breakdown of our dollar-related findings and for definitions of questioned costs and fund to better use.