The first details of the impact that the three-year-old Data Accountability and Transparency (DATA) Act is having on agencies emerged two weeks ago.
The Government Accountability Office released its first mandated report on data quality and use. GAO found an expected mixed bag of success and struggles when it comes to standardizing and reporting procurement and grants data.
“In the three years since enactment, the Office of Management and Budget, Treasury and federal agencies have made significant strides to address many of the policy and technical challenges presented by the act’s requirements, including standardizing data elements across the federal government, linking data contained in agencies’ financial and award systems, and expanding the type of data reported,” GAO states in its report. “However, our audit of the initial data submitted by agencies and made available to the public on Treasury’s Beta.USAspending.gov website shows that much more needs to be done if the DATA Act’s promise of improving the accuracy and transparency of federal spending data is to be fully realized.”
Auditors say agencies continue to struggle with inconsistencies in their data on acquisition awards, reporting incomplete information and ensuring the data meets the need of the end users.