GAO: Progress Made but Continued Attention Needed to Address Management Weaknesses at Federal Agencies Serving Indian Tribes

“Why GAO Did This Study

GAO’s High-Risk List identifies federal program areas that are high risk due to their vulnerability to mismanagement, among other things. GAO added the federal management of programs that serve Indian tribes and their members to its February 2017 biennial update of high-risk areas in response to management weaknesses at Interior and HHS. GAO’s recommendations identified in this high-risk area are neither reflective of the performance of programs administered by tribes nor directed at any tribally operated programs and activities…”

“What GAO Found

GAO designated the federal management of programs that serve tribes and their members as high risk in 2017. Officials from the Department of the Interior’s Office of the Assistant Secretary-Indian Affairs (Indian Affairs), the Bureau of Indian Education (BIE), the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA), and the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Indian Health Service (IHS) have expressed their commitment to addressing the issues that led to the designation. Since GAO last testified before this committee on June 13, 2018, Indian Affairs, BIE, BIA, and IHS have demonstrated progress to partially meet each of the five criteria for removing a high-risk designation (leadership commitment, capacity, action plan, monitoring, and demonstrated progress)…”

“What GAO Recommends

GAO has made more than 50 recommendations related to this high-risk area to improve management weaknesses at some Interior and HHS agencies—specifically BIE, BIA, and IHS—of which 31 recommendations are still open. Sustained focus by Interior and HHS in fully implementing these recommendations and continued oversight by Congress are essential to achieving progress in these areas…”

Read the full 32-page report here.

Source: Progress Made but Continued Attention Needed to Address Management Weaknesses at Federal Agencies Serving Indian Tribes – March 12, 2019. GAO.

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