Guidance a key step in ensuring accountability, transparency in compliance efforts as Department delivers services, payments, benefits
WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury announced a new effort to help ensure fairness and increase transparency in the Department’s compliance and enforcement practices. The framework, laid out in a memo authored by Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo, is intended to provide a roadmap for Department bureaus and offices to guide their compliance and enforcement efforts with the public.
“The Treasury Department provides critical services that touch the lives of millions of American families, workers, and businesses,” said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Wally Adeyemo. “Today’s announcement is part of a comprehensive strategy directed by Secretary Yellen to promote fairness and accountability in our compliance and enforcement efforts as we safeguard against waste, fraud, and abuse.”
In addition to providing critical services including financing for small businesses, supporting local and Tribal governments in response to COVID, and investing in Community Development Financial Institutions and Minority Depository Institutions, the Treasury Department is responsible for processing the vast majority of payments made by the federal government such as Social Security, Veterans Administration benefits, tax refunds, and various other benefit payments—and for collecting payments and debts due to the federal government, as well as some state governments. Across programs and services, the Department enforces rules and procedures to safeguard against waste, fraud, and abuse; to ensure that regulated entities and other parties meet their obligations under the law; and to help make sure that people receive the payments, refunds, and benefits for which they are eligible.
The framework announced today is intended to improve fairness and transparency in the way the Department goes about these efforts. The framework establishes four core principles to guide the Department’s work in these areas:
First, the Department must make it easier for individuals and entities who want to comply with the law to fulfill their obligations. This includes strengthening information and service delivery, which will help the public avoid errors on the front end and mitigate unnecessary enforcement actions, freeing up resources that can be better used elsewhere.
Second, the Department must prioritize enforcement efforts based on an appropriate consideration of relevant factors. Given limited resources, the Department must identify and assess risks across programs—and strategically focus enforcement efforts to be most effective in increasing compliance, protecting the integrity of programs, and ensuring that they continue to reach eligible people and function as intended.
Third, the Department must invest in the personnel, technology, and other resources to investigate and resolve noncompliance efficiently. This includes using a data-centric approach for monitoring compliance to identify anomalies, using automated tools to reduce manual effort and increase efficiencies in compliance testing, and seeking opportunities to collaborate through technology and better data sharing.
Fourth, the Department must promote fairness, trust, and accountability in program administration and enforcement efforts, and maintain appropriate mechanisms to regularly evaluate compliance strategies, systems, and selection tools.
In addition to establishing core principles, this new effort calls on Treasury Department bureaus and offices to review existing communication, compliance, and enforcement policies and procedures; consult with key stakeholders on those policies; develop methods to regularly test compliance and enforcement systems; and report semi-annually to the Deputy Secretary on their efforts to implement these principles.
More broadly, the Treasury Department remains committed to promoting equity, transparency, and fairness in the Department’s programs, policies, and services. This includes collaboration across the Department, including with the Office of Civil Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity, to ensure consistency in the goal of making services and programs accessible to communities across the country.