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Government venture encounters data quality problems

Rachel Wheeler Archive
A government project which plans to track all spending under the $787 billion economic stimulus law has encountered data quality issues.

Hundreds of thousands of spending reports have been submitted by recipients of the recovery project but their data proved too unreliable to use, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Data quality issues such as a problems with the codification of financial information affecting 3,978 reports and lists of funded job creations appearing blank despite vast expenditures.

The GAO's report said: "While recipients GAO contacted appear to have made good faith efforts to ensure complete and accurate reporting, GAO's fieldwork and initial review and analysis of recipient data from indicate that there are a range of significant reporting and quality issues that need to be addressed."

Other discrepancies also found by the watchdog included between amounts that the government reportedly sent out to councils and the amounts they received.

While the amounts were relatively small, the GAO said it represented "problematic issues in the reporting".