New report: Amtrak has opportunities to improve lost and found program and better protect sensitive, valuable customer property
For Immediate Release
August 31, 2021
WASHINGTON – Amtrak has taken steps to strengthen its lost and found program, but it has opportunities to better monitor the program to ensure it is working and better protect sensitive and valuable customer property and return it in a timely manner, an Amtrak Office of Inspector General report released Tuesday found.
The OIG initiated a review of Amtrak’s Lost and Found program to identify internal control weaknesses that allowed a former Lost and Found clerk’s theft of 13 state and government customer identification cards from Chicago Union Station’s Lost and Found inventory in October 2020.
Amtrak has since addressed the issues that contributed to the theft, to include ensuring adherence to company policy, which requires the destruction of identification cards in 48 hours if employees are unsuccessful in contacting the owners. Additionally, a new station manager at Chicago Union Station is performing monthly inventory checks and more frequent spot checks of items in the lost and found inventory, according to the report. OIG auditors also observed that Lost and Found clerks were following the company’s policy of securing the most sensitive and valuable items in the station safe or locked areas at three large stations and at several other medium and smaller stations.
The OIG made several observations where Amtrak could improve its Lost and Found program. For example, Amtrak’s station managers were not consistently monitoring Lost and Found personnel in their stations to ensure adherence to company policy. OIG auditors also found the majority of Lost and Found clerks and station managers they talked to did not receive the training they need to perform their duties. Additionally, the company could resume monthly reporting to better inform station management on Lost and Found program performance, and the company could provide guidance on how employees should safeguard items found on trains and in yards.
More information is included in the full report which can be downloaded on the OIG’s website: https://direc.to/hgMx.