Energy Management:

DOE Should Improve Its Controls Over Work for Other Federal Agencies

RCED-89-21: Published: Feb 9, 1989. Publicly Released: Mar 14, 1989.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Energy's (DOE) controls over the products and services it provided to non-DOE entities, primarily other federal agencies, to determine whether DOE: (1) had adequate controls over the work it performed; (2) properly implemented those controls; and (3) controls conformed to pertinent laws and regulations.

GAO found that: (1) although existing DOE policies concerning non-DOE work generally conformed with the legislative criteria, inconsistent controls at the field-office level did not effectively ensure control; (2) three of the four operations offices responsible for the work performed for non-DOE entities inconsistently implemented DOE controls; (3) implementation varied between the three offices because DOE had no established oversight standards; (4) DOE did not track its own indirect oversight costs or recover them from other federal agencies; (5) DOE did not specifically request monitoring staff allocations from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB); (6) an operations office organizationally moved one contractor group from DOE oversight after DOE raised concerns about the appropriateness of the group's non-DOE work; and (7) DOE did not perform a formal evaluation to determine whether the private sector could conveniently or cheaply perform the group's work.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE Order 4300.2B, issued July 16, 1991, establishes minimum standards for accepting, reviewing, and monitoring WFO projects. An accomplishment report will be prepared.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Assistant Secretary for Management and Administration to establish minimum standards for: (1) the amount of information to be submitted to DOE on all the acceptance criteria in the DOE work for others (WFO) order; (2) the reviews that must be performed by DOE personnel before a WFO project is approved; and (3) DOE monitoring of WFO projects in process to ensure that the contractor is adequately performing the work and that the commitment between DOE and the sponsor is being met.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On September 13, 1989, the Assistant Secretary for Management and Administration directed all field unit heads to ensure that agreements contain all required clauses and certifications, and prepare action plans to bring their offices into compliance. An accomplishment report was prepared in October 1990.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the heads of the DOE field offices to ensure that the revised financial policy order is implemented consistently to ensure that each WFO agreement contains the required standard clauses and sponsor certifications.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The Assistant Secretary for Management and Administration, in a memo dated September 13, 1989, provided direction to the field office managers regarding the requirement that contracting officers certify that specific determinations regarding proposed WFO projects have been made. An accomplishment report was prepared in October 1990.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the heads of the DOE field offices to ensure that their responsible contracting officers make specific written determinations and certifications for WFO projects, as required by the DOE WFO order.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE Order 4300.2A, issued March 27, 1991, establishes minimum standards and requires field offices to implement them. An accomplishment report will be prepared.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the heads of the DOE field offices to ensure that the offices incorporate the recommended minimum standards.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE has revised its policy to ensure full recovery of all costs associated with WFO projects, including personnel costs for overseeing the projects. Recovery will begin in fiscal year (FY) 1992 to allow other agencies to budget for the increase. An accomplishment report was prepared in October 1990.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct appropriate DOE officials to revise DOE policy to require other federal agencies to reimburse DOE for its personnel costs associated with WFO oversight.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE identified personnel costs associated with WFO in formulating its FY 1991 budget. Moreover, beginning in FY 1992, DOE will begin charging other federal agencies 3.2 percent for departmental/personnel overhead. An accomplishment report will be prepared.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct appropriate DOE officials to establish a system to identify DOE personnel costs associated with WFO so that these costs can be recovered from other federal agencies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  7. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Staffing requests for 1991 included FTE for review, approval, and monitoring of WFO. Minimum standards, implemented in July 1991, will be used in formulating staffing/budgeting needs. An accomplishment report will be prepared.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct appropriate DOE officials to determine the amount of DOE staff resources needed to effectively review, approve, and monitor WFO in the context of the minimum standards recommended at each field office that performs WFO, and take the necessary steps to allocate staff accordingly.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  8. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE identified its WFO staffing needs in a September 18, 1989, meeting with OMB. GAO will prepare an accomplishment report.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Assistant Secretary for Management and Administration to separately identify WFO oversight staffing needs in the next DOE request for personnel to OMB.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  9. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Implementing orders at field offices have been reviewed and are now consistent with DOE policy. An accomplishment report was prepared in October 1990.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Assistant Secretary for Management and Administration to review DOE field offices' work for others (WFO) orders to ensure that they: (1) incorporate all the requirements of the DOE-wide policies; and (2) do not exclude entities that are not excluded from the DOE-wide order.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  10. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOE evaluated the appropriateness of the contractor's WFO and assigned a headquarters group to oversee the contractor's work. An accomplishment report was prepared in October 1990.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should formally determine whether the work performed by Data Systems could be provided as conveniently or cheaply by a commercial enterprise. If so, the Secretary should terminate the Data Systems work. If the work cannot be provided by a commercial enterprise, the Secretary should immediately assign it to a DOE headquarters group for programmatic oversight.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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