The Office of Inspector General is tasked with ensuring efficiency, accountability, and integrity in the U.S. Postal Service. We also have the distinct mission of helping to maintain confidence in the mail and postal system, as well as to improve the Postal Service's bottom line. We use audits and investigations to help protect the integrity of the Postal Service. Our Semiannual Report to Congress presents a snapshot of the work we did to fulfill our mission for the six-month period ending March 31, 2018. Our dynamic report format provides readers with easy access to facts and information, as well as succinct summaries of the work by area. Links are provided to the full reports featured in this report, as well as to the appendices.
A MESSAGE FROM THE ACTING INSPECTOR GENERAL
For over 200 years, the U.S. Postal Service has been delivering mail for American consumers and businesses. But as the worlds of commerce and communications keep changing — and as customer expectations continue to rise — delivery is more than just getting mail or a package from point A to point B.
Customers today expect real-time visibility, so accurate scanning of mail and packages is critical. They also demand a positive overall experience, whether that’s getting a delivery when expected or visiting a post office to make a transaction. They want services at the lowest possible cost, which means all aspects of mail processing, handling, and delivery need to be as efficient as possible.
Our audits and white papers featured in this Semiannual Report to Congress for the period ending March 31, 2018, focus on many of these important issues around delivery, efficiency, and satisfaction. For example, our audit report on nationwide package delivery scanning looked at two billion package scans during a six-month period to identify improper “stop the clock” deliveries — that is, scans that occurred somewhere other than at the door when the package was delivered.
Another report looked at how the Postal Service measures customer satisfaction on mail delivery and offered enhancements to the survey design, as well as sample techniques that could increase the accuracy of the surveys. Our research confirmed that the Postal Service’s Delivery Survey provides it with valuable customer feedback, but adjustments could make it even better.
All told for this period, we issued 61 audit reports, management advisories, and PARIS risk models, and the Postal Service accepted 79 percent of our recommendations.
As always, this semiannual report also includes our investigative work for the six-month period. Our investigations can be grouped around a handful of broad focus areas: health care fraud (claimant and provider); mail theft; contract fraud; financial fraud; and narcotics. Our special agents are active in all of these areas, but narcotics allegations are rapidly becoming the area of greatest focus. We see an increasing number of narcotics cases nationwide and a growing sophistication on the part of traffickers on how to avoid detection.
However, we also see opportunities for data to be a useful tool in uncovering not just fraud, waste, and misuse, but also illegal activity around narcotics in the mail. We have invested in building an analytical, evidence-based culture, which has proved so successful that we are now extremely reliant on data analytics for many of our most important audits and investigations.
In this period, we completed 1,141 investigations that led to 329 arrests and nearly $53 million in fines, restitutions, and recoveries, $23 million of which was turned over to the Postal Service.
I look forward to working with stakeholders as we address the challenges ahead. With the support of postal management and Congress, the OIG will continue to play a key role in maintaining the integrity and accountability of America’s Postal Service, its revenue and assets, and its employees.