Statement from the President and the Chairman of the Board of the Legal Services Corporation on the GAO's Report on LSC Governance and Accountability

September 17, 2007


Washington, DC--LSC President Helaine M. Barnett and Board Chairman Frank S. Strickland today issued the following statement regarding the Government Accountability Office Report, Legal Services Corporation Governance and Accountability Practices Need To Be Modernized and Strengthened:

"We take the GAO's report on LSC governance and accountability very seriously and are moving diligently to implement the report's recommendations with regard to both governance and management."

LSC management has:

  • Begun reviewing the Government Accounting Standards Board standards to determine the appropriate financial reporting standard for LSC. The evaluation is expected to be completed by the end of October 2007.
  • Adopted elements of a Continuity of Operations Plan program. A comprehensive program is expected to be completed during 2008.
  • Established a task force to develop proposals for an LSC compliance program, which will include a comprehensive code of conduct. The goal is to have recommendations to the Board of Directors by the January 2008 Board meeting.
  • Committed to improving the risk management program at LSC. The Corporation has managed its risks well over the past 33 years, and will review and implement additional elements that are desirable and appropriate for an organization the size of LSC.

LSC's Board of Directors will:

  • Ensure that new members receive orientation to familiarize them both with LSC's programmatic roles and on governance and accountability.
  • Continue to receive updates from management on issues having to do with LSC's operating environment, governance, and accountability.
  • Either create a separate Audit Committee or assign the function to the Finance Committee.
  • Determine how to assign responsibility within the Board for compensation issues.
  • Formalize the functions of Board committees by adopting charters for them.
  • Consider adopting a formal means by which the Board can evaluate its collective performance and the performance of individual members.
  • Encourage the LSC Inspector General, who is charged with contracting with LSC's auditor, to require that the auditor report within 45 days of the end of the fiscal year.
  • Work with management as appropriate on any risk management program, internal controls, and financial reporting.

Click here for the GAO report.

Legal Services Corporation (LSC) is an independent nonprofit established by Congress in 1974 to provide financial support for civil legal aid to low-income Americans. The Corporation currently provides funding to 132 independent nonprofit legal aid programs in every state, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories.