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National Science Board
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Committee on Audit and Oversight (A&O)

Charge (NSB-13-51 - August 16, 2013)

The purpose of the Committee on Audit and Oversight (A&O) is to help ensure that NSF is properly evaluating and managing its operational risks. In achieving this purpose, A&O generally supervises the NSF Inspector General (IG), as delegated by the Board. A&O oversees major agency administrative processes and principal administrative systems, including NSF's stewardship and performance measurement activities. In addition, A&O recognizes and promotes NSF efforts to educate grantees about the responsibilities they accept upon receiving an NSF grant, and supports a positive environment that reflects good business practices. As appropriate, A&O makes recommendations to the Board for its full consideration and action.

  1. Pursuant to the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended, and National Science Board (NSB) delegation, A&O has general supervision over the NSF IG. A&O leads the selection process for employment of the IG.

    The Office of Inspector General (OIG) serves as an independent and objective unit responsible under the Act for:

    • conducting and supervising audits relating to NSF's programs and operations;

    • providing leadership and coordination and recommending policies for activities designed to promote economy, efficiency and effectiveness and prevent and detect fraud and abuse in the administration of NSF programs and operations; and investigating cases involving misconduct in science; and

    • preparing and transmitting to the NSB, for forwarding to the Congress, semiannual reports summarizing the activities of the OIG during the immediately preceding 6-month periods ending March 31 and September 30.

  2. The OIG will provide information to and solicit input from A&O regarding the annual audit plan. OIG will keep A&O apprised of the progress of the financial statement audit and of any significant audit findings, and inform A&O of any significant investigative issues that arise. A&O members will review the OIG semiannual report and NSF management response, and it may request further information before recommending to the Board that the OIG semiannual report be transmitted to Congress.

  3. A&O oversees the implementation by NSF management of the agency's principal administrative systems and internal controls. To keep itself informed, A&O will periodically receive information from senior NSF officials as appropriate including the Chief Operating Officer, Chief Financial Officer, the Chief Human Capital Officer, and the Chief Information Officer on areas including the following:

    • the proposal and award system, including a statistical report on proposal disposition for each fiscal year, and the Director's annual report on merit review;

    • the status of the agency's internal accounting and administrative controls systems, as required by applicable legislation;

    • NSF's management information systems, consistent with applicable legislation;

    • and the NSF personnel system, including its functioning and effectiveness.

  4. A&O provides the primary means for keeping the NSB fully and currently informed of problems and deficiencies relating to the administration of NSF programs and operations and the necessity for and progress of corrective action. A&O will report to NSB, as necessary, on issues presented to it, as well as on any matters into which it has requested further research. A&O may report to NSB, as necessary, on recommendations of all U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports involving NSF, including follow-up on subsequent performance.


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National Science Board
The National Science Board, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, Virginia 22230, USA
Tel: (703) 292-7000, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749
Last Updated:
Aug 23, 2013
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