DOD maps out plans for improving data
Defense Department procurement officials now have a 10-step plan for putting the correct acquisition information into the government’s spending database, according to a new memo.
Each of the DOD components with procurement authority has to find a method of checking the data along with discrepancies between databases and reasons for errors, according to a memo issued July 25 by Shay Assad, DOD's director of defense procurement, acquisition policy and strategic sourcing.
To validate and verify DOD’s information, under the memo officials must:
- Review the important data elements they have to assess.
- Determine how they will validate and verify their data with statistical samples.
- Assign personnel to do the checks.
- Identify missing records and discrepancies between the Federal Procurement Data System and other records.
- Perform data verification reviews.
- Perform root-cause analyses for errors and document them.
- Correct those errors.
- Review anomaly reports as a form of preventative maintenance.
- Provide verification reports on data to Assad’s office.
- Provide an annual certification report.
DOD officials submitted their plans on July 10 to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. OFPP is pressuring agencies to enter the right information into FPDS. Officials are trying to correct FPDS’ reputation for poor and incomplete, even unreliable, data.
Paul Denett, OFPP administrator, wrote in May that the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act and the USASpending.gov Web site have increased the public’s access and interest in government spending information. The ensuing scrutiny of agencies’ acquisitions makes it more important than ever to pay careful attention to the accuracy of the data, he wrote.
Denett’s memo required chief acquisition officers to find ways to ensure that the fiscal 2008 FPDS contract data is accurate and updated. He also wants agencies to provide OFPP a statement of validation and verification results for 2008 data by Jan. 5, 2009.
Dennett's memo required all agencies to submit their data quality plans by July 15.
Matthew Weigelt is a former FCW senior writer who covered acquisition and procurement.