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Audit (A-04-13-01025)

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences Generally Administered Its Superfund Appropriations During Fiscal Year 2012 in Accordance With Federal Requirements

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The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (the Institute) generally administered its Superfund appropriations during fiscal year 2012 in accordance with applicable Federal requirements. However, grantees are required by regulation to submit Federal financial reports (FFRs) and performance reports, and the Institute did not monitor whether its Superfund grantees submitted them as required by HHS and National Institutes of Health (NIH) policy. Of the 30 grants we reviewed, grantees complied with reporting requirements for 9 grants. However, of the remaining 21 grants, grantees had not submitted an FFR on time for 14 grants, including 3 grants for which grantees did not submit an FFR at all, and grantees had not submitted a performance report on time for 9 grants. (Grantees did not submit either the FFR or performance report on time for 2 grants.)

The Institute did not have policies and procedures in place that defined monitoring responsibilities regarding whether its grantees complied with reporting requirements and thought that other NIH offices were responsible for ensuring those requirements were met. By not monitoring whether Superfund grantees submitted FFRs and performance reports on time, the Institute could not always ensure that it advanced the goals of the Superfund program in a cost-effective manner and in compliance with Federal requirements.

We recommended that the Institute work with NIH to implement policies and procedures consistent with the HHS Grants Policy Directives and NIH Grants Policy Statement to ensure that grantees submit FFRs and performance reports on time and that clearly define the monitoring responsibilities of grants management staff at the Institute. NIH concurred with our recommendation and described actions that the Institute intends to take to implement our recommendation.

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