Foreign Aid:

Improvement Needed in Management of Technical Services Contracts

NSIAD-87-183: Published: Aug 18, 1987. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 1987.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Agency for International Development's (AID) procurement practices and management controls for centrally managed contracts to determine whether AID complied with the laws and regulations applicable to those contracts.

GAO found that: (1) while AID generally complied with procurement regulations, in some cases it failed to adequately publicize procurements; (2) although AID established a database to monitor the amount of and reasons for contract amendments and noncompetitive awards, it did not analyze the data; and (3) because AID has not established written guidelines for its centrally managed procurements, it has inadequate control over contract awards. GAO also found that project officers did not: (1) enforce compliance with an agency requirement that contractors identify the project number on their invoices; and (2) ensure that contractors performed services before receiving payment. In addition, GAO found that the agency's annual report to Congress did not discuss the status of its planned initiatives to increase competition or the reasons for any significant changes in noncompetitive awards.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AID has issued instructions to its contract activities. In June 1988, it reemphasized the publicizing requirements and has continued to monitor compliance.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should ensure that competitive opportunities are fully publicized.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: AID discussed the status of all actions, past and present, in its fiscal year (FY) 1988 report to Congress on competition, and performed its first analysis of contracting trends involving contract amendments executed in FY 1987.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should discuss the status of all actions previously proposed and provide an analysis of the trends in number and percentage of competitive procurement actions, since 1985, in reports to Congress on competition.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In May 1987, AID issued guidance to program managers on monitoring contractor compliance with billing requirements. Also, it has provided billing instructions to contractors in all new contract awards.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, AID, should issue instructions on managing centrally funded procurements, including procedures for: (1) project officers to ensure contractor compliance with billing requirements; (2) missions to provide information on services received; and (3) contracts to require contractors to bill AID by funding organizations.

    Agency Affected: United States Agency for International Development

 

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