Report Summary

Title: Audit of the Personnel Suitability Program
Report Number: 17-00753-78 Download
Issue Date: 3/26/2018
VA Office: Veterans Health Administration (VHA)
Office of Operations, Security & Preparedness
Report Author: Office of Audits and Evaluations
Report Type: Audit
Release Type: Unrestricted

The VA Office of Inspector General (OIG) evaluated controls over the adjudication of background investigations at VA medical facilities to determine whether adjudication actions were timely completed and reliably recorded. The OIG found VA did not effectively manage the personnel suitability program to ensure investigations were completed for facility staff and estimated that about 6,200 required investigations were not initiated. Adjudicators had not been reviewing investigations in a timely manner and suitability staff were not maintaining the required official personnel records. These irregularities occurred because the Office of Operations, Security, and Preparedness (OSP) did not monitor compliance with program requirements. Furthermore, OSP and the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) did not effectively manage human capital or ensure that sufficient and appropriate staff were assigned suitability functions.

The OIG also found VA could not independently attest to the status of suitability determinations. HR Smart investigation data were not reliable for reporting on the status of suitability determinations. The data fields necessary to track investigations to conclusion were missing or incomplete. The OIG had to rely on the Office of Personnel Management’s data to analyze VHA’s suitability actions and to determine the status of investigations. This occurred because OSP and VHA did not effectively manage their processes so sufficient data were created and maintained in support of the program’s objectives.

The OIG recommended OSP establish robust oversight, implement and report on the monitoring program, ensure reliable data are collected and maintained, establish quality and performance metrics, and obtain VHA’s corrective action plans. The OIG also recommended VHA ensure investigations are initiated and adjudicated, and implement requirements to improve governance. The OIG recommended OSP coordinate with VHA to correct current data integrity issues and improve data accuracy, implement a plan to review the suitability status of all VHA personnel and to correct delinquencies, and evaluate human capital needs to manage workload.