GSA client support centers earn good marks from auditors
Audits reveal that client support centers in several GSA regions comply with Federal Acquisition Regulation and DOD procurement requirements.
Editor's note: This article was updated on June 10 with information from a new report.
The General Services Administration’s client support centers have received good reviews from the agency’s inspector general, according to recent reports.
The IG’s audits of the client support centers (CSCs) in GSA’s Southeast Sunbelt, Mid-Atlantic and National Capital regions found them compliant with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Defense Department’s procurement requirements, according to three reports released June 4. The reports also say each of the regions instituted controls to improve its contracting practices.
“The CSC has provided training on the topics of contract administration, appropriate file documentation and also the mechanics of inputting performance information to the Contracting Performance System,” wrote Linda Chero, regional commissioner of the Mid-Atlantic Region, in response to the audit.
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The audits were required by the fiscal 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. In that law, Congress told the administration to check the internal controls in certain procurement agencies that buy on behalf of the Defense Department. The audits follow up on problems in mishandling DOD’s money from as early as 2003, such as using information technology money to pay for construction and engineering work. Similar abuses happened in other regions. The problems generated a lot of controversy for DOD. Defense agencies were forced to look again at who handled their money for them and how well they did in following the department's rules.
In the audits released last week, the auditors also uncovered some minor deficiencies in various aspects of the centers’ work. For instance, in the Southeast Sunbelt Region, one task order didn’t have a contracting officer’s technical representative training certificate and there were three instances of accepting general and administrative expenses even though the performance work statement explicitly forbid them, according to the report.
For the Mid-Atlantic Region, auditors found 15 instances of missing dates or signatures on Independent Government Estimates, which help a contracting officer determine if a price is reasonable.
For the National Capital Region, auditors found four instances of inadequate best value determinations, such as the report didn’t explain how the contracting officer verified that the price was indeed fair, the audit states.
Overall though, the regional commissioners were pleased with the results.
“Your findings affirm that our team has had success in implementing and adhering to management controls to assure that CSC acquisition processes are appropriate and compliant with the FAR and contract terms and conditions,” wrote Regional Commissioner of the Southeast Sunbelt Region William Sisk. “Prompt implementation of additional controls to address the audit findings is vital to assure that we can continue to move forward with best practices.”
GSA's Greater Southwest Region also earned good marks from the IG for its compliance with the FAR and DOD procurement requirements. The IG found some problems, but George Prochaska, the regional commissioner, wrote that the support center has addressed the problems and learned lessons from the mistakes, according to the report released June 7.
Matthew Weigelt is a former FCW senior writer who covered acquisition and procurement.