OMB and agencies have been working for three years to meet this month’s deadline for submitting data required under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, or DATA Act, but the reliability of that data will be uncertain due to long-standing problems, GAO has said.
“Moving forward, attention will increasingly focus on another critical goal of the act: improving the quality of the data produced,” it said.
It cited audits by IGs and external auditors that found widespread risks to agencies’ abilities to submit data of the quality the act requires. Common underlying issues, it said, involve accounting and financial management, financial management systems, and IT security and controls. In addition, GAO noted its own reports of weaknesses and challenges in the financial systems used for DATA Act reporting.
Specific quality control problem areas include how agencies report certain intragovernmental transactions, reconcile recipient address information, and align required DATA Act files with missing data, it said.
Further, “efforts to establish a fully functioning data governance structure are at an early stage with many specifics yet to be worked out.”