Labor Needs To Better Select, Monitor, and Evaluate Its Employment and Training Awardees

HRD-81-111: Published: Aug 28, 1981. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 1981.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

The Department of Labor's Office of National Programs administers about $600 million each fiscal year in grant and contract awards under the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act and the Older Americans Act. GAO reviewed the activities of the Office to assess how well it carried out its administrative processes.

The Office often used sole-source awards for special projects and, for most of the awards reviewed, did not adequately consider the awardee's prior performance when making a renewal award. Because of the potential for better work agreements and lower costs resulting from competition, the Office should justify each instance when it considers only one organization for a special project award. For 140 of the sole-source awards reviewed, GAO found little evidence supporting the award decisions. The Office did not separate grant and contract management from program responsibilities. Consequently, most of the award activities, such as evaluating and negotiating proposals, were handled by program staff who placed little emphasis on following proper grant and contracting practices. More than two-thirds of the awards which GAO studied were not fully reviewed and negotiated. Many contained vague statements of the proposed work, questionable or unjustified costs, and budget errors. Some awardees were authorized to begin work before the awards were made without the Government's interests being protected by specifying the terms of the work authorizations. Many awardees were placed on a letter-of-credit payment system without adequate documentation that they met the system's requirements. The effective date of the award was frequently predated. The Office has not adequately monitored its awardees. When Office representatives identified awardee problems, they did not always attempt to resolve them. Also, GAO found many problems that had not been identified.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Office of National Programs to prepare written assessments of an awardee's performance under prior awards before re-funding the awardee.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  2. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should separate the Office of National Programs' grant and contract management functions from its program management functions. The award management function, including grant and contracting officer authority, should be independent of the Office of National Programs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  3. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should require that the Office of National Programs' program offices fully carry out and document all evaluations of proposals and negotiations with applicants.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  4. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should require that the Office of National Programs' preaward authorization letters specifically state what the Government and awardees have agreed upon to protect the Government's interests.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  5. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should require that the Office of National Programs place awardees on letters of credit only after awardees document that they meet Federal requirements.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  6. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should require the Office of National Programs to begin award processing early enough so that award effective dates occur on or after the dates both parties sign the awards.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  7. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should request proposals for Indian program activities only after appropriations are known.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  8. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Office of National Programs to fully justify in writing all awards made on a noncompetitive basis.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  9. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Office of National Programs to place a greater emphasis on its monitoring activities. This emphasis should include: (1) increased site visits; (2) prompt identification, follow-up, and resolution of problems with awardee performance; (3) documentation in award files of substantive agreements, problems, resolutions, or outstanding issues; and (4) development of a system to ensure that awardees submit required reports.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  10. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Office of National Programs to make greater use of competitive awards for its special projects.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

 

Explore the full database of GAO's Open Recommendations »

Sep 22, 2016

Sep 15, 2016

Aug 15, 2016

Aug 1, 2016

Jun 20, 2016

Jun 13, 2016

May 25, 2016

Apr 14, 2016

Mar 10, 2016

Looking for more? Browse all our products here