IGs build one-stop shop for oversight

A new website will give the public access to inspector general reports and records across federal government.

screencap oversight dot gov
 

The federal government is setting up a transparency website for the public to view audits, investigations and other reports by federal inspectors general.

The new oversight.gov site is currently in beta, but is functional and houses records from 36 agencies, departments and commissions going back to 2000. There are currently eight categories of documents to search: reports; audits; inspections and evaluations; investigations; reviews; semiannual reports and top management challenges; and "other." Users can search by agency, keywords, timeframe or specific report numbers.

The site is operated and maintained by the Council for Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency and was created "in order to improve the public's access to independent and authoritative information about the Federal Government."

Scott Amey, general counsel for the nonprofit watchdog Project on Government Oversight, posted a link to the site on Twitter after being alerted to its existence. He called the site "a very good idea" that would make it much easier to keep track of federal oversight records and likened it to the Government Accountability Office, which investigates agencies and offices across the federal government but has a single portal to house all of their reports.

"For years we've been pressing the government to get out of its stovepipe mentality and have a one stop shop for [government data]," Amey told FCW.

The new clearinghouse also should make it easier for the public to identify and access these kinds of documents. Previously, watchdog organizations like POGO had to visit the individual websites of various departments or rely on their Googling skills to find relevant IG reports. It may also put pressure on some of the less-open oversight officials to be more transparent with their findings.

"Certain IGs require that you FOIA their reports, so hopefully by having other IGs post it proactively, they'll start to change their tune," said Amey.

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