During FY 2020, VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted two conferences in which expenses exceeded $100,000. Below, please find each conference details to include cost, date, location of conference, and other pertinent data.
Conference Title: Office of Audits and Evaluations (OAE) Management Development and Training Meeting
Conference Expenses: $140,320.35
Location: Oklahoma City, OK
Date: March 1-6, 2020
Explanation: The meeting provided OAE Directors and Managers an opportunity to discuss current audit issues, share information, and review OAE and other OIG initiatives. Leadership training was deployed that enabled OAE managers to effectively work together to address and solve organizational issues, as well as earn training hours that satisfied mandatory continuing professional education requirements. This meeting also helped build the team, provided a forum for team members to discuss tools, technologies, processes and how to apply them in OAE to improve information products, workflow, and processes.
It was imperative for OAE Directors and Managers to work in a cooperative spirit, communicate regularly, and share information. Teleconferencing was considered but determined not to be a viable alternative. The meeting required input from all participants, as well as included small groups discussions, and interactive training. Having all participants convene to provide input on a wide range of issues and ideas, as well as having small group breakout sessions was not logistically feasible with teleconferencing.
Number of Participants Whose Travel Expenses Were Paid by Agency: 90
Conference Title: Office of Healthcare Inspections (OHI) Hotline Bootcamp Meeting
Conference Expenses: $105,960.79.
Location: Kansas City, MO
Date: March 2-6, 2020
Explanation: The course provided an overview of the core fundamentals of OHI hotline inspection work and updates in processes for inspection work. The goal was to provide all OHI hotline inspectors, nurse consultants, associate directors, and directors with the same understanding of basic fundamentals of planning, conducting, and writing an OHI hotline form referral to publication.
Teleconferencing was considered; however, determined not to be a viable option because of the size of the group. The meeting required input from all participants as well as included small group discussions and trainings. Having 74 participants provide input on a wide range of issues and ideas as well as having small group breakout sessions was not logistically feasible with teleconferencing. Hotline staff also benefited from the opportunity to build stronger professional relationships by meeting face to face with colleagues not located in the same duty station but with whom they work with due to the matrixing of projects.
Number of Participants Whose Travel Expenses Were Paid by Agency: 74
The Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA OIG) maintains a quality assurance program to ensure that work performed adheres to established professional standards, VA OIG policies and procedures, and is carried out economically, efficiently, and effectively. Also, in accordance with the IG Act and other professional standards, VA OIG's functions are subject to external peer reviews. These peer reviews provide an additional external level of assurance of VA OIG's adherence to prescribed standards, regulations, and legislation through a formal objective assessment of its operations.
The Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency (CIGIE) prescribes the methodology for performing peer reviews of the various OIG functions. Below are the latest external peer reviews of VA OIG's Audit, Inspection, and Evaluation functions.