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Volume 1, September 2003

Corrective Actions Prompted by Previous Audits

Recommendations to Improve NSF's Oversight of Large Facility Projects Remain Unresolved

In prior semiannual reports, we have reported on two audits of NSF's financial management of its large facility projects. While NSF continues to make progress towards implementation, many of the recommendations associated with these two audits remain unresolved. The recommendations in our initial report on NSF's financial management of large facility projects focused on enhancing NSF's oversight of these projects by updating and expanding existing policies and procedures to improve project management. Our subsequent audit recommended that NSF ensure that its projects remain within authorized funding levels, and that the means be developed to make accurate and complete information on the total costs of major research equipment and facilities available to decision makers.

NSF has made progress toward implementing the original recommendations. Most notably, it appointed a Deputy Director for Large Facilities Projects Management and Oversight during this semiannual period. However, while a corrective action plan is in place and progress is being made, key actions from both audit reports remain unresolved. A major feature of NSF's corrective action plan is the development of a Facilities Management and Oversight Guide. Earlier this year, we provided NSF with our comments on a draft version of the Guide, noting that the Guide needs to contain more practical and detailed guidance for Program Officers doing the day-to-day work. Moreover, we noted that the Guide does not address recording and tracking the full cost of large facility projects.

In July 2003, NSF issued the Guide in final form, and informed us that it plans to provide the detailed guidance we suggested through the development of on-line modules that will supplement the Guide. The modules will contain in-depth discussions of topics such as financial management, risk management, and the roles and responsibilities of NSF management and the awardee. According to the Guide, these detailed modules will not be available for use until Fall 2003. Once these supplemental modules are completed and published, we will reassess whether the Guide and the modules together adequately address the audits' recommendations.

  • Resolution of Recommendations for Antarctic
    Infrastructure Planning
    (see Semiannual for Details)

  • Indirect Cost Audits Resolved (see Semiannual for Details)

  • Community Colleges Agree to Strengthen
    Internal Controls
    (see Semiannual for Details)
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