Q: How should I relate to my agency IG?
A: Agency heads are encouraged to seek out their IG to develop and maintain an open and honest dialogue about issues facing their agency. IGs can identify chronic and potential problem areas, thus enabling their agency to avoid pitfalls. For example, OIGs can assess the security of an agency's information systems that are vulnerable to equipment failures, natural disasters, sabotage, and cyber attacks to prevent public embarrassment due to breach of access or loss of sensitive information that could affect national security.
IG responsibilities across administrations and across the agency often enable them to spot problems common to more than one organization, and to make systemic recommendations for improvement. A good example of this is the annual identification of the major management challenges facing the respective agencies. These management challenges, in areas such as information technology, financial management, human capital, budget and performance, etc., may involve long term actions which OIG can continue to oversee and to whose resolution the IG can contribute.
Cooperation, mutual respect, and trust are the key ingredients for building effective working relationships between the agency head and the IG. With these ingredients and an ongoing dialogue, agency heads have come to rely on the independent review and analyses that the IGs bring to bear on difficult and complex issues. However, there are statutory limitations and requirements on how the IGs must handle their responsibilities that are necessary to maintain their objectivity and independence, setting clear expectations up front will facilitate the understanding of these responsibilities.
While agency heads cannot dictate the work performed by the IGs, they can suggest areas where the IGs' independent assessment would be valuable to the decision-making process. Some IGs seek input from their agency head when planning their work to focus on the agency's greatest risks and highest priorities.
Information from the President's Council on Integrity and Efficiency