HHS Made Some Progress Toward Compliance With the Geospatial Data Act
Why OIG Did This Review
The Geospatial Data Act of 2018 (GDA) mandates that the Inspector General (IG) submit to Congress, not less than once every 2 years, an audit of its covered agency's collection, production, acquisition, maintenance, distribution, use, and preservation of geospatial data.
The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) convened a working group with representatives from the covered agency IGs to reach a consensus on an audit approach for the inaugural audits. CIGIE determined that the inaugural audits should focus on the covered agency's progress toward compliance with the responsibilities established under section 759(a) of the GDA.
Our objective was to determine HHS's progress toward compliance with the GDA.
How OIG Did This Review
We contacted HHS and its operating and staff divisions (referred to as HHS components) to identify HHS components that collect, maintain, publish, disseminate, or preserve geospatial data. We contacted the Federal Geographic Data Committee and the contacts responsible for National Geospatial Data Asset themes. Additionally, for the HHS components that acknowledged they prepare, maintain, publish, or implement geospatial data, we surveyed the extent to which they support HHS's fulfillment of covered agency responsibilities as listed in section 759(a) of the GDA.
What OIG Found
HHS made some progress to comply with the GDA, but we identified certain covered agency responsibilities that HHS had yet to meet. Additionally, HHS had not maintained a departmentwide inventory of all geospatial data assets, as required by GDA section 759(b), and had not designated a senior agency official for geospatial information (SAOGI) in accordance with OMB guidance to Federal agencies.
These conditions occurred because of the lack of departmentwide oversight and coordination in its implementation of geospatial-related responsibilities, requirements, policies, and activities. Additionally the Department's senior agency officials were not aware of the GDA and HHS's responsibilities mandated by the GDA. These conditions contributed to HHS's noncompliance with the covered agency responsibilities established in the GDA.
As a result, HHS is susceptible to inefficient and ineffective management of geospatial assets, which increases the risk of inconsistent efforts or inability to minimize the costs to acquire, manage, share, and use geospatial data, expertise, technology, and services.
What OIG Recommends and HHS Comments
We recommend that HHS ensure that HHS and its components fully implement the covered agency's responsibilities found in GDA section 759(a), maintain an inventory of all geospatial data assets, and appoint an SAOGI.
HHS did not concur or non-concur with our recommendations. However, it indicated that should the HHS Office of the Chief Information Officer be designated the SAOGI, HHS will take action to ensure compliance with the covered agency responsibilities established in the GDA. We will maintain communications with the HHS individuals who will be assigned to implement our recommendations.
Filed under: General Departmental