Inspectors General:

Concerns About Advisory and Assistance Service Contracts

T-OSI/AIMD-98-28: Published: Oct 31, 1997. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 1997.

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GAO discussed: (1) the results of its survey of contracts for advisory and assistance services that were awarded by the 27 Presidentially appointed inspectors general (IG) during fiscal years 1995, 1996, and 1997; and (2) the results of its examination of the award of two advisory and assistance contracts by the Department of the Treasury Office of Inspector General (OIG).

GAO noted that: (1) 26 of the 27 Presidentially appointed IGs responded to the GAO survey of the extent to which they procured advisory and assistance services, describing the types of services procured and the types of contracts used in acquiring services, and indicating whether the services were noncompetitively procured; (2) 19 of the 26 IGs procured advisory and assistance services during the 3-year period, awarding 208 contracts, task orders, or purchase orders, most of which were for audit or investigative work; (3) of the 208 contracts, about 84 percent (176) were competitively awarded; (4) the written justifications for 18 of the contracts awarded using other than full and open competition were adequate and the justifications for 14 were not adequate; (5) shortly after her confirmation, the Treasury IG contacted a former IG to request that he perform a management review at her office; (6) Sato & Associates was awarded a sole-source management study contract based on unusual and compelling urgency; (7) although the Treasury IG's stated reasons for the sole-source award provide some support for her position, the facts do not establish that her abilities to perform her duties would have been seriously impaired had the procurement been delayed to obtain full and open competition; (8) while conducting the Treasury review, Sato was awarded a similar contract, procured through full and open competition, at the Department of the Interior for approximately $62,000 less than its proposed costs; (9) the similarity of the two contracts suggests that the price of Sato's contract for the Treasury OIG effort was artificially high; (10) Treasury OIG awarded a time-and-materials, consulting services contract for advice and assistance in the development and implementation of a work effectiveness study; (11) although the contract was awarded on the basis of unusual and compelling urgency, GAO concluded that the IG's ability to address the problems identified in a prior study would not have been seriously impaired had the contract been awarded on the basis of full and open competition; and (12) a pattern of careless procurement management and contract oversight resulted in poor billing practices and contract modifications outside of the original contract that increased the total price and extended the contract for a period of 1 year.

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