Semiannual Report to Congress
April 1, 2004September 30, 2004
Office of the Inspector General
Audit of OJP's Technical Assistance and Training Program
The technical assistance and training program 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, OJJDP provides 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 audited 21 of the 158 technical assistance and training grants awarded by OJP between FYs 1995 and 2002. These 21 grants totaled $77.7 million, or 25 percent of the $312.5 million in total technical assistance and training grant dollars awarded. Our objectives were to determine if OJP implemented internal control measures to ensure accurate financial reporting by grantees and to assess OJP's monitoring and evaluation of grant objectives.
Our audits disclosed several weaknesses in OJP's monitoring efforts. We found that grantees were reimbursed for unallowable and unsupported costs, financial status reports and progress reports were submitted untimely, and closeout requirements were not observed. Our audits also determined that key elements for monitoring grant activity in OJP's automated system for managing grants were missing. OJP's Grants Management System (GMS) was initiated in December 1998 as a pilot program to streamline the solicitation, application, and awarding of grants. When functioning at full capacity, GMS should provide "one-stop," full life-cycle support for all OJP grant management efforts. While OJP has mandated that its various components implement GMS, we found that certain GMS modules were not fully operational during the audit period.
Another contributing factor to the weaknesses we found during this audit was the lack of a structured method for tracking program monitoring activities. In addition, OJP was not collecting sufficient data to measure the performance of technical assistance and training grants. Further, OJP does not play a role in developing grantees' performance or outcome measures for program evaluation purposes, nor does it have specific requirements that grantees must adhere to in developing performance measures. As a result, for the 21 grants that we audited, it was not possible to assess the impact of the technical assistance and training program and determine whether the grants were achieving their intended purposes.
In total, we identified approximately $5.2 million in questioned costs and funds that could be put to better use. Our report contained three recommendations to improve OJP's technical assistance and training program. OJP agreed with the recommendations to: 1) ensure that grant managers receive annual training on OJP's requirements governing the submission of timely and accurate reports, allowable cost, grant monitoring, and grant closeout procedures; 2) ensure that its automated system for managing grants is brought up to full functioning capacity as soon as possible and grant managers are trained to utilize this system; and 3) develop performance or outcome measures to assess the effectiveness of technical assistance and training grants.
We continue to audit grants awarded by OJP and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS). Examples of findings from these audits during this reporting period include the following:
The following is an example of a case involving COPS that the OIG investigated during this reporting period:
No Suspect Casework DNA Backlog Reduction Grant Program
Through the National Institute of Justice, OJP provides funding to states for the identification, collection, and analysis of DNA samples from evidence collected in cases where no suspect has been developed or in which the original suspect has been eliminated. Our audit is focusing on funding provided in the first year of the program (FY 2001) to evaluate the: 1) administration and oversight of the program by OJP, 2) oversight of contract laboratories by states receiving grants, 3) allowability of costs charged to grants, and 4) achievement of program goals.
Grants to Native American and Alaskan Native Tribal Governments
From FYs 2000 to 2003, OJP awarded over $200 million in tribal specific grant programs. From FYs 1999 to 2003, COPS awarded more than $165 million in tribal specific grant programs. The OIG is auditing the overall strategy of COPS and OJP for awarding grants to tribal governments; COPS' and OJP's monitoring of tribal grantees; and whether costs charged by grantees are allowable and in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and terms and conditions of the grants.
OVC's Antiterrorism and Emergency Assistance Program
OVC was created in 1984 to assist crime victims with recovery from physical, emotional, and psychological injury. The OIG is reviewing OVC to determine whether: 1) timely assistance was provided to jurisdictions in order to address victim needs in the aftermath of an act of terrorism or mass violence, 2) the eligibility of applicants was properly ascertained, and 3) the purposes for funding grants were allowable.