NASA Procurement:

Improving the Management of Delegated Contract Functions

NSIAD-92-75: Published: Mar 27, 1992. Publicly Released: May 7, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) compliance with its regulations on: (1) the delegation of contract administration functions; (2) communication with the Defense Contract Management Command (DCMC) on delegated contract administration functions; and (3) the coordination of DCMC work.

GAO found that: (1) although the NASA Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (FARS) requires NASA centers to conduct a conference with DCMC delegatees to plan contract administration activities on contracts expected to exceed $5 million, NASA centers have not conducted such conferences with DCMC on 88 percent of the contracts reviewed that exceeded $5 million; (2) although NASA FARS requires NASA to send letters to delegatees identifying their responsibilities within 15 days after the contract award, for 36 percent of the contracts reviewed, NASA did not send the letters within 15 days and, in almost 40 percent of those contracts, NASA either took months to send the letters or did not send them at all; (3) although NASA FARS requires NASA to send instructions to delegatees in certain circumstances, the centers failed to send those letters in about 30 percent of the reviewed contracts that required such instructions; (4) since NASA instructions in its delegation letters to DCMC generally do not specify which of the 77 contract administration functions it has delegated to DCMC, DCMC has to infer from the delegation letters' regulation references which contract activities apply; (5) for over half of the 119 contracts reviewed, the centers could not document whether DCMC had accepted responsibility for a delegated contract and whom to contact at DCMC to discuss contract issues, since DCMC either did not timely send acceptance letters or did not send them at all; (6) the centers did not routinely notify DCMC of contract modifications; (7) NASA was often unaware that its contracts had been delegated to DCMC; and (8) NASA has negotiated with DCMC to revise the billing format and system, since it was having difficulties assessing the accuracy of DCMC bills. GAO also found that NASA identified contract management as a material weakness under the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act and recently changed its regulations and procedures to address most of the identified problems.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA is overseeing the implementation of adequate procedures through periodic procurement management surveys at each field center. The new requirements are covered in the agency's new contract and subcontract management course, which was given twice in 1992 and regularly thereafter.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should ensure that the centers develop and implement adequate procedures for complying with new requirements for supervisory review of planning conference waiver decisions, follow up delegation acceptances in a timely manner, and knowing the status of contractors' purchasing system reviews.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: NASA is overseeing compliance with regulations relating to this recommendation through periodic procurement management surveys at each field center. In addition, requirements in this area are covered in NASA's contract and subcontract management course, which was given twice in 1992 and regularly thereafter.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should ensure that the centers use a timely and clear notification approach for delegatees and establish a procedure notifying them about contract modifications.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Revisions to delegates' billing system have been completed. Also, information on the new billing and verification system has been issued to all NASA centers and program offices.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, NASA, should ensure that NASA establishes and implements procedures for reviewing delegatee bills to adequately identify the services being billed and involve the centers in reviewing delegatees' billings.

    Agency Affected: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

 

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