Audit of Department of Justice's Key Indicators

Audit Report 08-18
March 2008
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix XVI
EOUST Response to the Draft Report

March 10, 2008


TO: Raymond J. Beaudet
Assistant Inspector General for Audit
Office of the Inspector General

FROM: Clifford J. White III

SUBJECT: Department of Justice Key Indicators Audit

Thank you for the opportunity to review the Office of the Inspector General’s (OIG) draft audit report of the Department of Justice’s Key Indicators. Key indicators are an important means by which to measure progress toward achieving the outcome goals that are published as part of the Department’s Strategic Plan and for which progress is reported annually in the Budget and Performance Summary and the Performance and Accountability Report (PAR). The OIG’s report reflects careful analysis and offers one recommendation that is directed to the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees (EOUST), along with 10 other components of the Department.

The data collection, storage, validation, and verification policies and procedures, as well as data limitations, of the United States Trustee Program’s (USTP) key indicator measure are discussed on pages 33-36 of the draft report. The OIG’s review did not identify any issues with the USTP’s chapter 7 or chapter 13 data collection and storage processes or its validation and verification processes. Further, the OIG report did not find any discrepancies with the performance data reported for the USTP key indicator in FY 2005, nor did it identify any additional data limitations other than those previously disclosed by the USTP.

The OIG did, however, make a technical notation in its report that, contrary to what was implied in the 2006 PAR, the USTP does not cover all 50 states and that bankruptcy cases in Alabama and North Carolina are administered by the courts. That is, in fact, true. The legislation which established the United States Trustees in 21 regions throughout the country (P.L. 99-554) specifically excluded the six judicial districts in Alabama and North Carolina from the United States Trustee system. The USTP understands that this situation is unusual and, therefore, may cause confusion. Based on the OIG’s comment, the USTP modified its FY 2007 PAR submission to specifically state that Alabama and North Carolina are not included in the data for the USTP’s key indicator.

Recommendation 11 of the OIG’s draft report (page 72) advocates that the EOUST and 10 other components of the Department examine the accuracy of the management discussion and analysis (MD&A) narratives covering its key indicators and verify supporting information necessary to ensure the accuracy of the key indicator performance data. The OIG also recommended that management should notify staff of the significant need for accuracy of the key indicator information presented in the MD&A for the PAR.

The USTP concurs with this recommendation. We note, however, that the OIG audit did not reveal any issues affecting the validation processes or the accuracy of the key indicator performance data reported by the USTP. Yet, without reviewing the audit report in its entirety, the recommendation presented by the OIG would leave readers with the impression that such data validation and integrity issues exist at the USTP.

To address recommendation 11, the USTP plans to augment well-established data validation procedures as follows. The USTP will add to its Financial Manual a section documenting the procedures to be followed in updating the MD&A, which will include a requirement that any changes to the narrative be reviewed by senior management of the EOUST prior to submission to the Department for inclusion in the PAR. This addition to the Financial Manual will be completed by June 30, 2008.

Again, we appreciate the opportunity to review and comment on the conclusions and recommendations of this OIG audit.

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