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HHS Made Some Progress Toward Compliance With the Geospatial Data Act

Why OIG Did This Audit

The Geospatial Data Act of 2018 (GDA) mandates that the Inspector General of a covered agency submit to Congress, not less than once every 2 years, an audit of its covered agency's collection, production, acquisition, maintenance, distribution, use, and preservation of geospatial data.

Our objective was to determine HHS's progress toward compliance with the GDA.

How OIG Did This Audit

The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency determined that the fiscal year 2022 audits should address the agency's progress toward compliance with the responsibilities established under section 759(a) of the GDA.

We interviewed HHS's Acting Chief Data Officer to determine HHS's compliance with the GDA and to identify the HHS operating and staff divisions (referred to as HHS components) that collect, maintain, publish, disseminate, or preserve geospatial data. We surveyed the HHS components which dealt with geospatial data about their geospatial activities supporting HHS's implementation of the covered agency responsibilities of the GDA.

What OIG Found

HHS made some progress toward compliance with the GDA, but we identified certain covered agency responsibilities that HHS had yet to meet. Additionally, HHS had not maintained a departmentwide inventory of all geospatial data assets, or accurately reported its achievements in implementing the GDA requirements, as required by GDA section 759(b).

These conditions occurred because there was limited departmentwide oversight and coordination in its implementation of geospatial-related responsibilities, requirements, policies, and activities. These conditions contributed to HHS's noncompliance with the covered agency responsibilities established in the GDA.

As a result, HHS is susceptible to inefficient and ineffective management of geospatial assets, which increases the risk of inconsistent efforts or inability to minimize the costs to acquire, manage, share, and use geospatial data, expertise, technology, and services.

What OIG Recommends and HHS's Comments

We recommend that HHS (1) ensure that HHS and its components fully implement the covered agency responsibilities found in GDA section 759(a); (2) ensure that the HHS Senior Agency Official for Geospatial Information or designated official oversee, coordinate, and facilitate the HHS's implementation of the geospatial-related requirements, policies, and activities; (3) maintain an inventory of all geospatial data assets, per section 759(b) of the GDA; and 4) prepare the required annual reports/self-assessments based on the status of all of HHS's components.

HHS concurred with all our recommendations and described actions it has taken and plans to take to address them. HHS said that the HHS Acting Chief Data Officer, as the official delegated with the responsibilities to work with the HHS Data Governance Board, will oversee, coordinate, and facilitate HHS's implementation of the geospatial-related requirements, policies, and activities. In addition, HHS said that it is in the process of authorizing an application that will be used to maintain a departmentwide data inventory. HHS also said that it plans to complete HHS's FY 2022 annual report/self-assessment based on input from all of HHS's components.

Filed under: General Departmental