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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Met the Requirements of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014, With Areas That Require Improvement

Issued on  | Posted on  | Report number: A-17-22-54000

Report Materials

Why OIG Did This Audit

The Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) requires each agency's Inspector General to perform a biannual performance audit of the agency's compliance with the DATA Act reporting requirements, as stipulated in guidance from the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the Department of Treasury (Treasury).

How OIG Did This Audit

OIG engaged Ernst & Young (EY) to conduct an independent performance audit to determine whether HHS was in compliance with reporting requirements of the DATA Act for the first quarter of fiscal year 2022. The performance audit assessed the completeness, quality, accuracy, and timeliness of the data transmitted through the HHS submission. We reviewed a statistically valid sample of 269 items from the first quarter of fiscal year 2022's financial and award data submitted by HHS for publication on . In addition, we selected a nonstatistical sample of 25 records from the File C COVID-19 outlay records from the third month of the first quarter of the fiscal year 2022 DATA Act submission.

What OIG Found

Our performance audit determined that HHS implemented and used Governmentwide financial data standards and complied with the reporting requirements of the DATA Act as stipulated by OMB and Treasury. HHS's overall data quality earned a rating of excellent based on the areas we tested, indicating that HHS's data was generally reliable. While HHS met the reporting requirements, our performance audit determined that:

  • While deficiencies exist, we were able to identify sufficient compensating controls within the DATA Act process and concluded that HHS established and implemented manual procedures and other internal controls to support the completeness and accuracy of the DATA Act file. We continue to recommend that management address existing deficiencies identified within HHS information technology systems that house the source data utilized as part of the reporting of the DATA Act.
  • EY identified the following: (1) 33 accuracy exceptions for data element 26, the Period of Performance Start Date; (2) 25 accuracy exceptions for data element 22, Award Description; (3) 18 accuracy exceptions for data element 16, Award Type; and (4) 12 accuracy exceptions for data element 37, Business Types. In these exceptions, the information in Files D1/D2 did not agree with the supporting documentation provided. For 25 award descriptions with accuracy exceptions, although this information was provided by the operating division, the information did not explain the award to the public and summarize the award as recommended by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) in GAO 20-75.

What OIG Recommends

We recommend that HHS refresh the operating divisions' understanding of the Departmental guidance and identify those areas where training, additional review procedures, or system enhancements could be developed to prevent and detect future accuracy issues related to the Period of Performance Start Date, Award Types, and Business Type. We also recommend that HHS takes steps to ensure that each award has a description that properly describes the purpose of the transaction or modification of the award on .

Office of the Secretary