The following is from the highlight report:
TIGTA previously reported that from FY 2006 to FY 2007 several key performance measures showed improvement. For example, the numbers of subject investigations initiated, completed, and recommended for prosecution all showed improvement.
In FY 2008, the Criminal Investigation Division (the Division) continued to demonstrate efficiencies processing investigations. For example, the number of days needed to close legal and illegal source investigations decreased by 2.9 percent from the previous year. However, some key performance measures that had improved the previous year declined: the number of subject investigations initiated decreased nearly 11 percent; the number of subject investigations completed decreased 5.3 percent; and direct investigative time showed a slight decrease.
TIGTA believes that one of the causes for the decreases in the numbers of subject investigations initiated and subject investigations completed was the continued rise in pipeline inventory (a subject investigation that has been recommended for prosecution and the subject has not been convicted or acquitted, or the investigation has not been dismissed) and the resources needed to address it. Pipeline inventory has steadily increased over the past 6 years and now stands at a 9-year high of 4,118 subject investigations. FY 2008 is the second consecutive year where there were more subject investigations in the pipeline than open subject criminal investigations. More direct investigative time is being spent to prepare investigations in the pipeline for adjudication instead of initiating new investigations.
Division management believes this is a positive trend since successful prosecutions generate publicity, foster deterrence, and enhance voluntary compliance. For FY 2009, the Division indicated that it would place a greater emphasis on the reduction of the pipeline inventory, which may result in even fewer investigations being initiated and completed during the upcoming year. TIGTA is currently conducting a separate review to evaluate the growth in pipeline inventory and to identify any potential actions that can be taken in the future to reduce the resources devoted to this area.
TIGTA believes another cause for the decreases in subject investigations initiated and completed is the continued loss of experienced special agents to attrition faster than they can be replaced. The number of special agents is currently at its lowest level in 30 years. The Division attributes this to its budgets being relatively flat in recent years, which have put pressure on its ability to replace agents lost through attrition because of the need to fund yearly salary increases.
TIGTA’s concern noted last year about the net loss of experienced special agents negatively impacting productivity was realized during FY 2008. During FY 2009, the Division plans to hire 192 special agents, but the new, inexperienced agents may not have a significant impact on the FY 2009 performance goals.