IG: Tighter guidelines needed for Alliant

The General Services Administration needs more recognizable border lines to keep orders on the Alliant information technology contract in scope and avoid repeating past problems, according to a new report.

The GSA inspector general’s auditors found potential risks in the Alliant governmentwide acquisition contract’s ordering guide and suggested including more information about the scope review process and high-risk areas. Essentially, the guide needs to lay out clearly for contracting officers what’s allowed, the report issued May 1 states.

To counteract problems, the auditors suggest giving examples of appropriate IT services and solutions allowed under the contract, such as acceptable construction, alterations and repair work that mesh closely with the IT work, the report states.

“By providing additional scope-related information to the ordering guide, [the Federal Acquisition Service] can mitigate the risk of [contracting officers] awarding task orders outside of the scope of the contract,” wrote Michelle Westrup, GSA’s audit manager in the acquisition programs audit office.

Several years ago, GSA acquisition staff members had problems where they didn’t keep the task orders in the scope of the IT schedules. Several orders made on IT Schedule 70 contracts stretched well beyond IT and into prison interrogation in Iraq.

In other recommendations, the auditors suggested FAS officials list the roles and responsibilities of the contracting officers and contractors. For officers, GSA should add details on areas such as the delegation of buying authority and requirements on reporting procurement data to the Federal Procurement Data System. For contractors, the details should include how to best market themselves to agencies and pay GSA the contract access fee, which pays the agency's costs of running its GWAC program, the report states.

The auditors also recommended:

  • Guidance on writing a clear statement of work.
  • Information on the use of a streamlined acquisition process.
  • An emphasis on the importance of considering all costs involved in an order when searching for the best value.

In response, GSA officials said they are incorporating the recommendations into the ordering guide.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Wed, May 6, 2009

Tighter Guidelines means on doing continuos review, assessments, and addressing the findings and ensuring that all gaps and risks are reported accurately, in a timely manner with complete clarity. The auditing part is great but we all know that audit assurances are questionable? Sometimes audit reports and glossy Decks do not reveal the actual facts, or they get over written by executive to reflect a dishonest view of the facts. It is common practice that although the actual auditor may find issue but the partner will enforce his or power. The prove is obvious with the state of affairs in the Bank, Mortgage and auto companies, the branded audit companies had a big hand in bringing down the economy. The relationships that companies have with the Government agencies to win favors is also an ethical issue and it needs to be closely reviewed. Many retired officers from the state governments, the agencies join major consulting & contracting companies and guess what, although the ex officials sell their soul and win contracts for the companies who hired them. How long will the tax payor suffer at the hands of corrupted officials in the government and in the private sector?

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