HHS Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated to the Public. VIII. Special Considerations for Dissemination


All OIG inspections are conducted in accordance with the Quality Standards for Inspections issued by the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency. The following is an outline of these standards.

Qualifications: Individuals assigned to perform inspection work must collectively possess adequate professional proficiency for the task required.

Independence: Individuals performing inspection work must be free from impairments that hinder objectivity. Inspectors must consistently maintain an independent, objective attitude and appearance, and shall be subject to supervisory guidance and review to preclude actual or perceived impairments or bias in conducting inspection work and presenting results.

Due Professional Care: Due professional care will be used in conducting inspection work and in preparing reports of other products.

Quality Control: To ensure quality and to expedite the progress of an inspection, proper supervision will be exercised from the start of an inspection to completion of the final inspection report.

Planning: To ensure adequate planning, inspection work will be coordinated, researched, and designed to achieve the objectives of the inspection.

Data Collection: Information and data obtained about the organization, program analysis activity, or function being inspected should be consistent with inspection objectives and sufficient enough to provide a reasonable basis for reaching conclusions.

Evidence: Evidence supporting inspection conclusions should be competent and relevant and lead a prudent person to the same conclusion as that of the inspectors.

Supporting: All relevant information generated, obtained, and used in Documentation supporting inspections findings, conclusions, and recommendations should be retained.

Timeliness: inspectors should seek to deliver significant information to appropriate management officials in a timely manner.

Fraud and Other: If during or in connection with an inspection, inspectors become Illegal Acts aware of illegal acts, or indications of such acts, they should promptly present such information to their supervisors for review and possible referral to the appropriate investigative office.

Reporting: All inspection reports shall present factual data accurately, fairly, and objectively, and present findings and conclusions in a persuasive manner.

Follow-up: Appropriate follow-up will be performed to assure that any recommendations made to agency officials are adequately considered and appropriately addressed.

All OIG audits are conducted in accordance with Government Auditing Standards and OAS policy. Both (1) afford affected entities the opportunity for corrections and (2) require a stringent quality control program.

  1. Auditee Response

    1. Government Auditing Standards

      Government Auditing Standards state that "Auditors should report the views of responsible officials of the audited program concerning auditor's findings, conclusions, and recommendations, as well as corrections planned."

      • Obtaining comments is one of the most effective ways to ensure that a report is fair, complete, and objective.
      • Advance comments should be objectively evaluated and recognized, as appropriate in the report.
    2. OIG Audit Policy

      OIG Audit policy requires that reports give recognition to the views of the auditee.

      • The auditee's formal response to each finding should be included in the final audit report.
      • The official position of the auditee should be in writing and should be signed by the responsible official.
      • The auditee may present new information in formal written comments to the draft report. In these instances, the information should be evaluated prior to incorporating the comments and issuing the final report.
      • The auditee comments would appear in the final report in three places, report summary, individual finding and appendix to report.
      • The OIG regards the absence of a response to audit findings and recommendations as a departure from generally accepted government auditing standards. If the auditee does not provide comments after receiving the draft report, this is stated in the final audit report.
      • OIG Audit policy requires that respond to each relevant auditee comment.
  2. Quality Control Program

    1. Government Auditing Standards

      Government Auditing Standards State that "Each audit organization conducting audits in accordance with these standards should have an appropriate internal quality control system in place and undergo an external quality control review."

      This control system is to provide reasonable assurance that the audit organization (1) has adopted, and is following, applicable auditing standards (which includes reporting "the views of responsible officials") and (2) has established, and is following, adequate policies and procedures.

      To determine whether in fact the audit organization's quality control system is operating effectively, the organization is required by standards to have "an external quality control review at least once every 3 years by an organization not affiliated with the organization being reviewed.

    2. OIG Audit Policy

      OIG's Audit quality control program ensures that work performed meets government auditing standards. It consists of two elements:

      1. A System of Quality Control which consists of independent report referencing, Headquarter Desk Reviews and Internal Quality Control Reviews. The latter includes review of working papers related to selected reports.
      2. External Reviews -- These reviews, also known as peer reviews, are performed by Federal auditors outside the OIG. The external review is required by the Comptroller General’s standard on quality control and should be conducted at least once every three years.