Government Agency: Government Accountability Office


Government Agency

Government Accountability Office
The Government Accountability Office is the United States agency that is involved in the financial and evaluative accountability of the Federal government and provides the auditing and evaluation report to the United States Congress (Wallechinsky, 2015). The mission of the agency is providing the necessary support to the Congress towards attaining its constitutional responsibilities, improving the performance and also ensuring accountability of the federal government with American people at heart. The agency ensures that it provides timely fact-based, objective and nonpartisan, fair, non-ideological and balanced information to the Congress (Wallechinsky, 2015). The core values of the agency include integrity, accountability and reliability, which are all reflected in their tasks (Wallechinsky, 2015).
Functions of the Agency
The Government Accountability office has a number of specific functions which are important in ensuring that their mandate is attained. The first function is that the agency carries out the auditing and evaluation processes for federal programs. It holds the federal agencies and departments into account with regards to the various programs that are taking place in the country in the specific financial year (Kaiser, 2008). It then reports the findings to the Congress in order to view the necessary actions to be undertaken regarding these programs (Kaiser, 2008); for instance, it advises the congress to increase allocation or conduct investigations regarding the programs.
The agency also has the function of conducting special investigations of allegations regarding the violations associated to federal criminal law, especially the conflict of interest or sometimes procurement and contract fraud (Kaiser, 2008). The agency conducts these activities through a small office which ensures that it goes a notch higher with respect to accountability process and has the mandate of being able to prosecute those involved in such fraud and other criminal activities related to federal accountability.
The third function of the Government Accountability Office is resolving conflicts and bid protests where there is a challenge in awarding government contracts (Kaiser, 2008). In some cases, government contracts are not properly awarded and therefore there are the bidders who protest regarding how they were not awarded the contracts. The government agency therefore is mandated to launch proper investigations and ensure that the contracts were not awarded due to favoritism or corruption. The agency then provides reports regarding the accountability of the awarding of government contracts.
The next function of the agency is providing assistance on professional auditing process in improving the accountability standards (Kaiser, 2008). It also ensures that it keeps updated with regards to the various concepts of the auditing process and other related matters, including audit methodology and approaches among other activities (Kaiser, 2008). The agency keeps check on the various developments that occur in conducting the auditing and evaluation processes and provides guidance to the other government agencies and other stakeholders on how auditing can be improved.
Current Events
The Government Accountability Office conducts a number of events on a yearly basis. The events are organized depending on the current issues affecting the federal government and other public relation issues. The first issue is on the development of the skilled nursing facilities (Government Accountability Office, 2016). Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, abbreviated as CMS, an agency that is found in the Department of Health and Human Services–that deals with provision of Medicare–has the responsibility of collecting and reporting data from expenditure reports from skilled nursing facilities, abbreviated as SNF (Government Accountability Office, 2016). However, the agency has not been able to make that data readily available to the public domain. Due to this challenge, the Government Accountability Office has taken the necessary measures to ensure that it is able to check on the accountability of the process. According to the agency, for each of the fiscal years 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, direct and indirect cost of care were lower in terms of percentage of revenue for profit skilled nursing facilities as compared to non-profitable and government skilled nursing facilities (Government Accountability Office, 2016). The accountability agency is therefore tasked to keep tabs on the performance of the Skilled Nursing facilities.
The second event is based on the diplomat security issues. There is a huge concern regarding the challenge of United States personnel in the overseas being targets of violence, terrorism and crime, especially during movement. For instance, data shows that between 1998 and 2015, personnel from the State Department were attacked at least 100 times while they were not in the embassy compounds but rather while on transit – with the victims being in motorcades and official vehicles (Government Accountability Office, 2016). The Government Accountability Office has therefore been involved in enhancing the security of the personnel (Government Accountability Office, 2016). In order to improve the efforts by the State to manage security-related risks of transportation overseas, the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, under the instructions from the Secretary of State, should create consolidated guidance specifically for the Regional Security Officers which specifies the necessary requirements to be put in place for the travel notifications and also transportation security policies (Government Accountability Office, 2016).

The department selected in this agency is the office of the Auditor General, who is the Comptroller General. The major reason for selecting this department is the importance of the comptroller general and how the government is answerable to this office with regards to accountability and management of finances in the United States. In addition, this is a powerful office that affects the whole country in terms of ensuring that the government conducts proper management of funds without making any losses.

Government Accountability Office (2016).Skilled Nursing Facilities: CMS Should Improve Accessibility and Reliability of Expenditure Data. GAO. Retrieved on 6th October 2016 from:
Government Accountability Office (2016). Diplomatic Security: State Should Enhance Its Management of Transportation-Related Risks to Overseas U.S. Personnel. Retrieved on 6th October 2016 from:
Wallechinsky, D. (2015). Government Accountability Office. Retrieved on 6th October 2016 from:
Kaiser, F. (2008). GAO: Government Accountability Office and General Accounting Office. CRS Report for Congress. Congressional Research Service

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