I believe that all 70,000 Interior Department employees receive mandatory annual whistleblower training. The purpose of this training is to educate them on their duty as federal employees to report any fraud, waste, or illegal conduct that their immediate supervisors are not adequately addressing. This whistleblower training and program is critically important because it helps ensure that fraud, waste, or illegal conduct can be exposed by an honest employee without that employee risking their job. The DOI Office of Inspector General (OIG) web site does a good job of explaining the whistleblower program, how employees can use it, and there are reports available on the outcome of some investigations. However, unless I missed it, there are no data or reports on how many complaints were submitted by employees tracable to specific agencies, offices, or units, nor how many of those complaints resulted in actual investigations and reports. Just like different agencies must post their compliance reports for handling of public Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, I think it would be good to see which agencies, offices, and units had many, some, few, or no whistleblower complaints filed in them. I know that the subject of the complaints and the names of involved employees are properly confidential. But I see no legal or policy reason to restrict information on the raw number of complaints filed by administrative unit, as well as how many of those complaints resulted in investigations, and, of those, what reports may be available on the outcomes. This overall data might indicate some general patterns, and perhaps help top DOI officials improve the whistleblower program to make it as efficient and effective as possible.
Idea No. 70