Contract Management: Civilian Agency Compliance with Revised Task and Delivery Order Regulations

GAO-03-983 Published: Aug 29, 2003. Publicly Released: Aug 29, 2003.
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Highlights

Multiple-award task and delivery order contracts were intended to streamline the acquisition of goods and services. Prior GAO reviews cited concerns that some agencies using these contracts were not attaining the level of competition Congress had initially envisioned. In response, Congress required that additional guidance be published in the Federal Acquisition Regulation and asked GAO if the guidance conformed to the law and agencies were complying with it. To evaluate compliance, GAO examined how agencies provided vendors with a fair opportunity to be considered for orders, clearly described the services or supplies needed, and complied with capital planning requirements.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Health and Human Services Because of the limited nature of our sample, we do not know the extent to which the problems identified are systemic or unique to our review. Nevertheless, these findings are of sufficient concern that both the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services should review the guidance and training provided to their contracting officials to ensure that the regulations are properly understood and applied.
Closed – Implemented
HHS provided documentation stating that it has complied with the recommendation. According to HHS, five formal training sessions on FAR 16.505 were provided at various dates. These training sessions included Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity(IDIQ) contracting, IDIQ training, task order contracting, and simplified acquisition.
Department of Veterans Affairs Because of the limited nature of our sample, we do not know the extent to which the problems identified are systemic or unique to our review. Nevertheless, these findings are of sufficient concern that both the Secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Health and Human Services should review the guidance and training provided to their contracting officials to ensure that the regulations are properly understood and applied.
Closed – Implemented
VA has implemented the recommendation by providing training to contracting officials at acquisition forums during February and May 2004, providing acquisition leadership training in March and June 2004, and providing scheduled training at GSA in May and June 2004.
Office of Management and Budget Also, to ensure accountability for capital planning and investment control requirements for IT goods and services, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget, working with the Federal Acquisition Council and the CIO council, should clarify the roles and responsibilities of the acquisition and information technology communities for capital planning for IT products and services.
Closed – Implemented
OMB has been working with the Federal Acquisition Regulations and Chief Information Officer councils to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the acquisition and information technology communities. However, the timeline to complete the recommendation is uncertain. Version 2.0 of the Capital Programming Guide, released as Part of OMB Circular A-11, Part 7, in June 2006, expands the discussion of roles, responsibilities, and activities of integrated project teams throughout the capital planning process. This guide is designed to address the planning, acquisition, and management and use of all capital assets, including IT. Section I.2.1 of the Guide, discussing the planning phase, addresses the establishment of an IPT, the overall responsibilities of the IPT, and skillsets that should be represented for effective management of a project. It also addresses the expectation for the development of a charter defining the scope of authority, responsibility, and accountability for analysis to support senior management decisionmaking during all phases of capital programming. Section 2 of the Guide, addressing the acquisition phase, provides further discussion of IPT activities and responsibilities.

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