Contract Management:

Civilian Agency Compliance with Revised Task and Delivery Order Regulations

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

Additional Materials:

Contact:

William T. Woods
(202) 512-8214
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

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.

The revisions to the Federal Acquisition Regulation conform to statutory requirements. The revisions provide additional, though generally limited, guidance on how agencies should implement the fair opportunity process, describe the supplies and services needed, and meet capital planning requirements. Agency officials did not view the regulatory changes as significant, and made minimal changes in their internal policies and procedures. The agencies GAO reviewed provided eligible contractors a fair opportunity to be considered for award of an order in 18 of 26 selected cases. The remaining eight orders were issued using exceptions to the fair opportunity process. Four of those were not adequately justified. The orders GAO reviewed appeared to clearly describe the supplies and services required. However, statements of work for four information technology (IT) services orders were defined broadly, and required subsequent sub-task orders or modifications to completely define the work. Although agencies are required to use performance-based statements of work as widely as possible, only 3 of 22 orders for services met the performance-based criteria. Regulations on capital planning and investment controls for purchases of IT products and services went into effect in August 2002, and agencies are still trying to determine how they will comply with them and who is to be responsible for them. As part of these efforts, several agencies plan to require that their chief information officer certify that the capital planning requirements have been met.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: 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.

    Agency Affected: Department of Veterans Affairs

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: 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.

    Recommendation: 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.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: 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.

    Recommendation: 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.

    Agency Affected: Department of Health and Human Services

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: 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.

    Aug 25, 2014

    Aug 7, 2014

    Jul 30, 2014

    Jul 29, 2014

    Jul 22, 2014

    Jun 17, 2014

    Jun 11, 2014

    Jun 10, 2014

    May 28, 2014

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here