Recovery Act: Grant Implementation Experiences Offer Lessons for Accountability and Transparency

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal, state, and local officials responsible for implementing grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) as well as the external oversight community reported lessons learned regarding both useful practices and challenges to ensuring accountability. Faced with aggressive timelines for distributing billions of dollars, they adopted a number of practices to foster accountability including (1) strong support by top leaders; (2) centrally-situated collaborative governance structures; (3) the use of networks and agreements to share information and work towards common goals; and ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. January 24, 2014.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Federal, state, and local officials responsible for implementing grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) as well as the external oversight community reported lessons learned regarding both useful practices and challenges to ensuring accountability. Faced with aggressive timelines for distributing billions of dollars, they adopted a number of practices to foster accountability including (1) strong support by top leaders; (2) centrally-situated collaborative governance structures; (3) the use of networks and agreements to share information and work towards common goals; and (4) adjustments to, and innovations in, usual approaches to conducting oversight such as the increased use of up-front risk assessments, the gathering of "real time" information, earlier communication of audit findings, and the use of advanced data analytics. For example, in 2009, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (Recovery Board) established the Recovery Operations Center which used advanced data analysis techniques to identify potential fraud and errors before and after payments were made. The Recovery Act's emphasis on accountability also presented challenges for several states and federal agencies. These included limited resources for oversight at the state and local levels, and the speed with which Recovery Act funds were distributed. One state addressed the challenge of limited resources by transferring funds from its central administration account to Recovery Act oversight. To facilitate the quick distribution of funds, maintenance-of-effort provisions concerning transportation projects (which prevented Recovery funds from being used for planned state projects) were rolled out before the Department of Transportation had time to issue sufficiently detailed definitions of what constituted "state funding." To address this challenge, the department had to issue clarifying guidance to states seven times during the first year of the Recovery Act."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • January 24, 2014

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Recovery Act: Grant Implementation Experiences Offer Lessons for Accountability and Transparency, report, January 24, 2014; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302655/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.