GAO serves the public interest by providing the Congress, the executive branch, and the American people with accurate information, unbiased analysis, and credible recommendations on how to improve government performance and ensure government accountability to the public. In carrying out its mission, GAO undertakes a wide variety of work—using many different approaches and methodologies and a wide range of specialized skills. However, to assure that its work is professional, independent, objective, and reliable, all of GAO’s work is conducted using one quality assurance framework. Development of the framework was driven by the need to standardize the overall processes for ensuring that GAO could continue to provide accurate and high quality information to the Congress and the public despite increased demand and shrinking resources. The framework is comprised of a comprehensive set of clearly defined, well-documented, and transparent standards and control procedures. The required processes, procedures, and documentation are designed to guide the conduct of our work and assure compliance with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards (GAGAS) and GAO’s own core values of accountability, integrity, and reliability. The framework’s activities are organized into four components:
- Human Capital
- Engagement Performance
- Monitoring and Review
The leadership component includes clear statements regarding expected behavior and values, strategic planning to assure that the most important issues are examined, and GAO’s approach to portfolio and risk management—as well as expectations for dealing with the Congress and agencies. The second component involves our human capital strategy. This element of the framework defines the practices and procedures that are to be followed in acquiring the skills needed to carry out work identified through our strategic planning processes, which reflects the various interests of the Congress. The third component is a standardized, decision-oriented engagement management process (work flow) that is to be followed in designing, performing, and reporting work results. This third component also includes processes to assure that experts in technical disciplines, such as data collection and survey methods, statistics, economic modeling, information technology, accounting, and law, are appropriately involved in all phases of the work. All roles and responsibilities are clearly defined. The final component of the framework identifies the internal and external monitoring and review activities that are to take place to assure compliance with requirements.