Agencies should file better reports on their service contracts, GAO says

Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com

The Obama administration’s effort to better calibrate which functions are inherently governmental and which are better contracted out will require improvements in agency inventories of service contracts, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

Forty eight of the 49 agencies that GAO reviewed had filed the required lists of their contracts for such services as professional management support, information technology support and medical support, which together totaled $126 billion in fiscal 2011. But due to differing methodologies among agencies, the Office of Management and Budget and Congress could not “meaningfully use these service contract inventories to compare service contract obligations among agencies or develop spending trends,” the report said, adding, “agencies did not have a complete universe of service contracts to consider for review.”

Auditors also found instances of agencies underreporting obligations -- the General Services Administration underreported about $6.4 billion -- because “they misinterpreted or did not follow OMB guidance.”

Of the 40 agencies that submitted reports on their inventory reviews, five identified three contracts where contractors could be performing inherently governmental functions and 104 instances where contractors were performing functions “closely associated” with inherently governmental ones. But the auditors could not be certain, the report said, “whether these results were a real indication of the agencies’ effective and appropriate use of contractors or due to the different approaches agencies used to conduct the reviews.”

Three agencies studied in detail -- the Homeland Security Department, NASA and the Health and Human Services Department -- took steps to improve workforce understanding of the inventory problems. OMB officials told GAO that its Office of Federal Procurement Policy intends to work with agencies to better enforce the reporting requirements.

(Image via Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.