Controls Are Needed Over Indian Self-Determination Contracts, Grants, and Training and Technical Assistance Activities To Insure Required Services Are Provided to Indians

CED-78-44: Published: Feb 15, 1978. Publicly Released: Feb 15, 1978.

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The Indian Self-Determination Act called for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) to contract with Indian tribes to assume responsibility for planning, conducting, and administering programs and services provided by BIA.

BIA does not have adequate controls over contracts and grants awarded to the tribes or the related training and technical assistance activities. BIA has not met the legislative mandate to supervise tribal performance even though self-determination contracts and grants in fiscal year 1977 accounted for about 25% of its budget for the operation of Indian programs. Contracts and grants were awarded retroactively, and adequate criteria for measuring performance were not always included. Also, supervision and monitoring of performance were not effective, and BIA has not developed a management reporting system which would help control activities related to individual contracts and grants and the use of assistance funds. BIA guidelines are not adequate for defining employee responsibilities in supervising and monitoring contracts. An example of management deficiency was the award of a $4 million contract to a tribe to operate a higher education scholarship program even though tribal auditors reported that the tribe had not been able to operate the program properly. BIA has permitted the use of training and technical assistance funds for activities other than those intended by legislation.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of the Interior should direct the Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs to develop a management reporting system to help monitor and control self-determination contracts, grants, and training and technical assistance activities. The Assistant Secretary should also be directed to revise BIA policies, regulations, procedures, and practices to: prohibit award of contracts in which the starting date precedes the date of award; require that all contracts and grants include specific criteria against which to measure performance; require that contracts and grants are effectively supervised and monitored; and prevent training and technical assistance funds appropriated for self-determination purposes from being used for purposes other than those intended by legislation.

    Agency Affected:


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