Misbehaving Contractors Might Be in Luck At These Agencies

Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., urged better tracking. Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., urged better tracking. Flickr user thirdwaythinktank

Agency compliance with White House reporting requirements on past performance of contractors varies widely and falls short of targets set by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, auditors found.

For the past six years, the Obama administration has sought to equip contracting officers with richer information on the past performance of contractors before making their next award, the Government Accountability Office noted in a report released Friday.

Under the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act, the White House procurement office is required to improve oversight and enforcement of agency reporting on past contracting by working through the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council to send reminder memos, assess the quality of evaluations of contractors, direct development of a compliance tracking tool and set targets for some agencies.

As of April 2014, GAO found, all the major agencies improved their compliance over the past year. Defense had the highest score, at 83, followed by Treasury at 71 and Interior at 51. Lowest scorers were the General Services Administration, at 13; State Department, at 15; and the Health and Human Services Department, at 24.

GAO made no recommendations.

Lawmakers on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee urged agencies to build on their progress to avoid wasteful spending.

“Every day, consumers across America read reviews written by other consumers before they buy a product or service so they can assess the quality and value of a purchase before it’s made,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the committee, in a statement. “Usually, these reviews are just a click away on the Internet, easy to access and quick to obtain. On the other hand, the U.S. government – the largest consumer of goods and services in the world – has not developed an accessible and efficient system for rating and reviewing government contractors.”

(Image via Flickr user thirdwaythinktank

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