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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Appendix A Unavailable or Incomplete Information Requested by the Committee Table A-1 is a sample of materials requested by the committee that the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) was unable to provide or provided only in part. The committee did receive a number of documents from NIJ with useful information. However, many of these were currently in the public domain or had significant limitations (e.g., information available for only a short time period or for a partial set of program activities). This sample is presented to enable the reader to understand the limits on the committee’s analyses. Of critical importance is the fact that we were not allowed access to grant applications, peer-review documents, or the agency’s electronic grant management system. As a result of our inability to access some types of data, we were restricted in our ability to analyze and assess the quality of NIJ’s grant award process, funding decisions, and award monitoring. In addition, the limitations in the data we received curtailed our ability to examine the historical trends of NIJ’s funding sources, programs, and accomplishments.
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice TABLE A-1 Unavailable or Incomplete Information Requested by the Committee Data Item/Information Requested Status Comment 1. Budgetary Information Annual National Institute of Justice (NIJ) spring budget call submissions. Not available. Annual Office of Justice Programs (OJP) budget submissions to Office of Management and Budget. Not available. Information NIJ provided to Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for years 20052007 on competitive and noncompetitive grants. Partial list of items provided but not the materials themselves. This was an attempt to obtain information already provided to OIG for its study of NIJ’s grant-making activities so that NIJ would not have to prepare budget or programmatic information in a new form. NIJ funding history by functional area or major program, including publication and dissemination and OJP management and administrative support for years 1994-2008. Unavailable data for ORE funds by functional area as listed on their website; breakdown of discretionary and nondiscretionary funds by functional areas not available; breakdown by such categories as research and evaluation, basic and applied also not available. Data system for identifying and tracking evaluation grants no longer operational. Breakdown of Office of Science and Technology (OST) and Office of Research and Evaluation (ORE) budgets by research versus program support; passthrough versus appropriation to NIJ; and earmarks and other nondiscretionary spending. OST provided a breakdown of discretionary and nondiscretionary funds available for research category but not for other functional categories, such as testing and evaluation, technical assistance, and capacity building.
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Breakdown of grants and other financed activities that involve partnering of NIJ with other agencies. Congressionally mandated funds were identified but not funds that had been transferred from other agencies at their discretion, e.g., funds from Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention or Bureau of Justice Assistance for evaluations of their programs. List of interagency agreements. OST and ORE interagency agreements for 2008 only. List of FY 2009 grants (awarded 9/30/09). Not provided as of 12/10/2009. 2. Organization/Staffing OJP-approved staffing charts of full-time equivalents (FTEs) by organizational unit, title, job series, and grade level for years 1994-2008. Three signed OJP staffing charts obtained from NIJ date 2/14/2008, 11/21/2007, 9/28/2006. Other years unavailable from either NIJ or OJP’s human resources department. Actual staffing chart of FTEs by organizational unit, titles, grades, vacancies, staff names by position, and noted vacancies. Only one staffing chart for 2/14/2008 identified names of staff and vacancies. Educational level of staff, years of service, current position held. Aggregate information on staff degrees presented by major office and grouped into 22 categories for years 1995, 1998, 2001, 2004, 2008. Current educational levels and years of service available in aggregate form only; no information available on area of concentration for graduate work; only federal service available not service at NIJ.
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Data Item/Information Requested Status Comment Staff turnover and reason for separation. Available for period January 1, 2002, through November 2007 only. Reason for separation not available; does not include names of staff who transferred out of NIJ but stayed in federal service. Eligibility for retirement. Current eligible dates available in aggregate for 2008 only. FTEs vs. contract employees per year. Not available. Human resources department does not keep FTE information by year. Office of General Counsel (OGC) advised that all information on contract employees confidential. Previously posted electronic staff listings from NIJ website. Not provided. An OGC lawyer opined that once staff left NIJ, needed to have their permission to release this information; names of contractors would need to be redacted. 3. Peer-Review Process Peer-review reports, peer-review panel reports. Not available. According to NIJ, OGC indicates that no specific peer-review information can be provided to anyone other than the designated applicant without the applicant’s permission. 4. Grant Award Process Applications submitted for the Centers of Excellence program. Not available from NIJ. OGC advised the committee to submit a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
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Strengthening the National Institute of Justice Winning proposals for the Centers of Excellence. Not available from NIJ. Winning proposals provided by OGC via FOIA or grantee with staff names and budget removed. 5. Management Information Systems Description of Grant Management System infrastructure and other databases. Not available. Approval by OJP provided but not communicated in time to be useful. 6. Dissemination Process Requests for research reports by practitioner organizations. Total quantities ordered for the 30 most requested documents 1997-2007 but no breakdown as to kind of requestor. 7. Program Files Grant files on Program on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Some random working files provided by NIJ staff. No official files stored at NIJ. A request was made to the OJP File Archives; it was reported that the official grant files were missing. 8. Miscellaneous Information Written documentation of Department of Justice and OJP policies that prevented the following information from being provided: grant-monitoring documents/progress reports, proposals from unsuccessful applicants, proposals from successful applicants, staffing and budgetary information on funded proposals. Not provided. OGC was asked to provide documentation as to why the committee was unable to have access to certain documents. NOTE: This list does not represent the entirety of the committee’s requests, but only those documents that were not received or were incomplete.
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