Information on Funding Commitments From Comprehensive Employment and Training Act Titles III and IV During Fiscal Year 1981

HRD-81-146: Published: Aug 31, 1981. Publicly Released: Aug 31, 1981.

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In its final report to a Senate committee, GAO reviewed a sample of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act titles III and IV discretionary awards made by the Department of Labor. The title III awards are administered by Labor's Office of National Programs (ONP) and title IV awards are administered by the Office of Youth Programs. The committee was concerned about the possibility of overcommitment of the discretionary funds and poor contract administration.

GAO found that prudent grant/contract procedures were not always followed during the award process. In reviewing the award files, GAO found: (1) few formal records of negotiations, (2) a lack of comprehensive evaluations of awardees' past performance before award renewal, and (3) little evidence of site monitoring visits. In making and renewing awards, ONP relied heavily on sole-source awards for special projects without demonstrating the need to use such awards to obtain employment and training services. Many of the problems with the ONP preaward activities occurred because these functions were not independent and ONP officials functioned both as grant and contracting officers and as persons charged with accomplishing program objectives. ONP needs to strengthen such areas as: (1) evaluating proposals, (2) negotiating with applicants, and (3) authorizing preaward work. In some cases, ONP officials actively monitored awardees' activities, but in many cases they did not. Therefore, because of the limited monitoring of awardees' performance, ONP did not know whether awardees met the terms of their awards or whether they used Federal funds prudently. In addition, ONP did not always identify problems with awardees' performance, and when they did, ONP did not always act on and resolve those problems. ONP often failed to request required financial and performance reports, and it failed to visit many awardees. ONP informed GAO that a task force was being set up to prepare materials for implementing previous GAO recommendations.

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