Private, Profitmaking Firms' Reports on Research and Development Contracts with the Environmental Protection Agency Can Be Evaluated Better

PSAD-77-161: Published: Oct 31, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 1977.

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Most of the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA's) large-dollar research and development contracts with private, profit-making businesses result in reports. If the project officer finds the report acceptable, it is printed as an official EPA document and distributed within EPA. Depending on the subject matter it is also sent to other Federal agencies, State and local governments, and industry. Wider distribution is achieved through the Commerce Department's National Technical Information Service.

Although EPA has prescribed procedures for preparing appraisal forms to document its evaluation of each contract's end products, these procedures had not been followed in most of the seven completed or terminated contracts examined. Instead, acceptability was assumed to be evidenced by the project officer's decision to distribute a report as an official EPA document. Project officers had not followed up to determine actual use of the reports. Recipients perceived the two reports that had been evaluated and distributed to be useful documents. It is a matter of good management practice that EPA enforce its procedures to formally and systematically document evaluations of contract results, including the responsible project officer's evaluation of the end product. The EPA Acting Assistant Administrator for Research and Development has recently directed all officers to comply with the requirement to rate contractors' performance.

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