Schools And Libraries Program:

Actions Taken to Improve Operational Procedures Prior to Committing Funds

RCED-99-51: Published: Mar 5, 1999. Publicly Released: Mar 5, 1999.

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Judy A. England Joseph
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Schools and Libraries Corporation's progress in implementing GAO's July 16, 1998, recommendations for improving its procedures and internal controls.

GAO noted that: (1) the Corporation has taken actions to implement the key recommendations that GAO believed needed to be completed prior to issuing any funding commitment letters to applicants; (2) these included: (a) sampling processed applications to identify and correct any systemic weaknesses in program integrity review procedures; (b) finalizing the program's procedures, automated systems, and internal controls; and (c) obtaining a report from its independent accountants on the suitability of the Corporation's internal controls to prevent or detect material departures from its program objectives; (3) the Corporation is taking action on GAO's recommendation to complete special reviews of high-risk applicants before issuing commitment letters to these applicants; (4) the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has not yet implemented GAO's recommendation to develop adequate goals, performance targets, and measures for the program; (5) with GAO's key operational recommendations implemented, the Corporation began issuing its funding commitments for the first year to applicants in late November 1998; (6) the program still faces major challenges as it moves into new operational areas, such as reviewing and authorizing reimbursements to vendors; and (7) given the fact that the program is still essentially in a start-up mode, close oversight by FCC will be especially important in helping to identify and resolve operational problems.

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