ADP Acquisitions:

Immigration and Naturalization Service Should Terminate Its Contract and Recompete

IMTEC-86-5: Published: Mar 20, 1986. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 1986.

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GAO reviewed the Immigration and Naturalization Service's (INS) management of automatic data processing (ADP) to evaluate its ongoing, multimillion-dollar computer systems acquisition.

GAO found that INS: (1) violated procurement regulations by conducting additional negotiations with the proposed awardee in late-night meetings, which resulted in the awardee reducing its best and final offer; (2) favorably evaluated the proposed awardee's offer of a decentralized system, while it downgraded the other offerer's proposal for the centralized system it had specifically stated that it required; (3) evaluated equipment price offers on the basis of lease-with-option-to-purchase, then awarded the contract on an installment-purchase basis, even though the other comparable offer was at least $1.8 million lower; and (4) violated the terms of its delegation of procurement authority by accepting changes in the size and configuration of the system that increased contract costs to over $11 million more than authorized. Although the other firm eventually negotiated an out-of-court settlement to perform the contract, it installed the original company's proposed equipment under the same terms and costs as the original contract. INS modified the contract to incorporate the new awardee's fees, which resulted in prices exceeding both the originally awarded and published list prices. The payment of higher-than-list prices contrasted with both commercial and federal practices. Although it was urged to cease ordering equipment against the current contract and recompete its computer needs, INS renewed its agreement for fiscal year (FY) 1986. GAO believes that the continuation of the contract and the absence of documented computer needs is a material control weakness.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In its FY 1986 and 1987 budget deliberations, Congress directed INS not to use any funds for additional ADP procurements, pending INS review of its ADP modernization program, as recommended.

    Matter: To ensure that INS makes no further unwise expenditures for automation, Congress should make the INS FY 1987 appropriation for computer acquisitions contingent on implementation of recommendations to the Attorney General.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: INS contracted with FEDSIM for a complete requirements study, which was completed in June 1987 and accepted by the INS Executive Committee in August 1987. Although FEDSIM proposed an archetectual approach for INS, the appropriateness of the approach still needs verification. Both INS and FEDSIM recognized that much of the data used in the analysis have low reliability.

    Recommendation: To ensure that valid INS computer needs are met expeditiously, but at the lowest reasonable cost to the government, the Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to reassess, justify, and document current and projected INS ADP requirements and translate those requirements into a long-range, documented strategy. The reassessment should result in a clarification of INS equipment needs.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: INS is committed to a recompetition. Actual recompetition will be subject to completion and evaluation of prototypes. This recommendation may be closed because a subsequent GAO report recommendation will result in followup in this area.

    Recommendation: To ensure that valid INS computer needs are met expeditiously, but at the lowest cost to the government, the Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to competitively procure the automation needs outlined by this strategy and terminate its contract with the current contractor, including that equipment currently under lease.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: INS chose not to report ADP procurement as a material control weakness because it believed that the problems disclosed by GAO were an isolated incident caused by INS personnel not following established procedures.

    Recommendation: To ensure that valid INS computer needs are met expeditiously, but at the lowest reasonable cost to the government, the Attorney General should direct the Commissioner, INS, to report ADP procurement as a material control weakness under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act (FMFIA).

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

 

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