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Highlights

Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO evaluated the Department of Justice's pilot program for contracting with private attorneys for debt collection to determine: (1) Justice's compliance with federal competition requirements; (2) whether Justice obtained reasonable prices; (3) the extent to which Justice encouraged minority competition; and (4) program results.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Department of Justice 1. To ensure that the Department of Justice complies with the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the Attorney General should direct the head of the procurement services staff to fully: (1) evaluate all proposals before eliminating them from competition; and (2) document the contracting process.
Closed - Implemented
The agency has directed the head of procurement services to reemphasize procurement laws and regulations. The head of procurement services has asked the staff to fully evaluate proposals and document the process.
Department of Justice 2. The Attorney General should direct the U.S. attorney's offices participating in the pilot program to modify their reporting system to separately estimate the number of personnel that work on the same types of debt cases that the private attorneys will be handling.
Closed - Implemented
Private attorney debt collection costs are now compared to Department of Education collection costs rather than separately estimating Department of Justice costs.
Department of Justice 3. The Attorney General should direct the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys to use the refined information to estimate the U.S. attorney's offices indirect debt collection costs.
Closed - Implemented
Private attorney debt collection costs are now compared to Department of Education collection costs rather than separately estimating Department of Justice costs.
Department of Justice 4. The Attorney General should direct the program manager to revise program results reports to show results on cases that are comparable.
Closed - Implemented
The agency has changed the reporting system to generate data that can be used to prepare reports on comparable collection results.

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