Last week, members of AINS’ eCase Investigations and Audit team attended the Association of Inspectors General (AIG) 2019 Training Conference to connect with IG professionals and learn about changing trends and policy. The three-day event featured a number of expert-led discussions, case studies, and training symposiums. Here are three major topics that piqued our interest:
1. Calls to Centralize OIG Reporting to Oversight.gov
In the 2019 spending bill signed in February, Oversight.gov was granted a $2 million budget to improve its capabilities. The website, run by the Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE), provides a centralized location for accessing inspector general reports as well as an avenue for whistleblowers to report fraud, waste, or abuse.
With Congressional support, CIGIE plans to oversee investment and integration of OIGs reporting to Oversight.gov over the next two years. The initiative follows an effort to centralize OIG records and increase transparency and efficiency across government OIGs. Ultimately, CIGIE hopes this website provides agents, auditors, and inspectors seamless access to complaints, investigations, and similar projects—driving performance in the community.
2. Strengthening Whistleblower Protections
In the wake of last week’s whistleblower complaint of President Trump’s interactions with Ukraine, inspectors general are asking: how can we better protect whistleblowers? AIG conference attendees brainstormed ways to establish an open channel for individuals to report fraud, waste, and abuse while providing full identity protection to the whistleblower. The community hopes to provide whistleblowers with a safe and accessible environment for divulging information to agency oversight.
Attitudes were mixed, given that most whistleblower information comes from a variety of sources, including private conversations, email exchanges, and phone calls. However, IGs generally agreed: whistleblowers need more—not less—protection.
3. Assessing the Value of Confidential Informants
How useful are paid confidential informants to OIG investigations? In the discussion, attendees weighed the potential pros and cons. Informants can be useful for uncovering new information, but the possibility of receiving false or misleading information from a paid informant causes concern. Given the potential loss of time and resources following fake leads, OIGs may need to consider if the pros outweigh the cons when hiring confidential informants.
The American public relies on the integrity, transparency, and compliance of OIGs to hold government agencies accountable. If your OIG is looking for ways to better achieve these goals through eCase Investigations and Audit, please contact us today.