Consulting Services:

Contract Obligations for Fiscal Years 1987, 1988, and 1989

GGD-91-62FS: Published: May 8, 1991. Publicly Released: May 30, 1991.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed Federal Procurement Data Center reports for fiscal years 1987, 1988, and 1989, focusing on: (1) the extent to which federal agencies incurred obligations for consulting services contracts; and (2) whether Data Center information could be used to determine compliance with three fiscal year (FY) 1989 appropriation limitations on consulting services.

GAO found that for FY 1987, FY 1988, and FY 1989, consulting service contract obligations totalled $4.1 billion, $4.9 billion, and $4 billion, respectively. In addition, GAO found that factors inhibiting the determination of compliance with appropriation limitations included: (1) the lack of agency expenditure data; (2) inconsistent definitions of consulting services in the appropriation acts; (3) general disagreement and confusion as to what constitutes consulting services; (4) inaccurate and incomplete data due to the lack of uniform guidance to assist agencies in properly classifying services; and (5) disbelief among agencies that all the contracts under Cabinet Council on Management and Budget categories met the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-120 consulting service definition. GAO also noted that agencies generally stated that the use of Data Center product and service codes were not appropriate to determine compliance with the 85-percent limitation.

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