Critical Read

Feds doing a better job of sorting out bad contractors

fraud in digits

What: Government Accountability Office report titled "Agencies Have Taken Steps to Improve Suspension and Debarment Programs"

Why: The federal government uses suspensions and debarments to keep individuals, contractors and grantees guilty of various kinds of misconduct from getting future contracts, grants and other federal assistance.

In 2011, GAO said it reviewed 10 agencies and found the ones that had issued the most procurement-related suspensions and debarments shared common characteristics, including dedicated staff, detailed policies and procedures, and an active referral process. GAO recommended that six agencies -- the departments of Commerce, Health and Human Services, Justice, State, and Treasury, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency -- incorporate those characteristics. It also asked the Office of Management and Budget to issue guidance on how to improve oversight and government-wide suspension and debarment efforts.

GAO makes no new recommendations in the latest report, while noting that  since it issued recommendations for improvement in 2011, the number of suspension and debarment actions has more than doubled across all agencies.

GAO also said that all six of the targeted agencies had taken action to incorporate characteristics associated with active suspension and debarment programs and had addressed staffing issues such as defining roles and responsibilities, adding positions, and consolidating suspension and debarment functions.

The agencies, it said, have also have issued formal policies and promulgated detailed guidance for the processes.

Verbatim: "The number of suspension and debarment actions government-wide has more than doubled from 1,836 in fiscal year 2009 to 4,812 in fiscal year 2013. The number of suspension and debarment actions for the six agencies increased from 19 in fiscal year 2009 to 271 in fiscal year 2013."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a staff writer covering acquisition, procurement and homeland security. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.

The 2015 Federal 100

Meet 100 women and men who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by venimo): e-learning concept image, digital content and online webinar icons.

    Can MOOCs make the grade for federal training?

    Massive open online courses can offer specialized IT instruction on a flexible schedule and on the cheap. That may not always mesh with government's preference for structure and certification, however.

  • Shutterstock image (by edel): graduation cap and diploma.

    Cybersecurity: 6 schools with the right stuff

    The federal government craves more cybersecurity professionals. These six schools are helping meet that demand.

  • Rick Holgate

    Holgate to depart ATF

    Former ACT president will take a job with Gartner, follow his spouse to Vienna, Austria.

  • Are VA techies slacking off on Yammer?

    A new IG report cites security and productivity concerns associated with employees' use of the popular online collaboration tool.

  • Shutterstock image: digital fingerprint, cyber crime.

    Exclusive: The OPM breach details you haven't seen

    An official timeline of the Office of Personnel Management breach obtained by FCW pinpoints the hackers’ calibrated extraction of data, and the government's step-by-step response.

  • Stephen Warren

    Deputy CIO Warren exits VA

    The onetime acting CIO at Veterans Affairs will be taking over CIO duties at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

  • Shutterstock image: monitoring factors of healthcare.

    DOD awards massive health records contract

    Leidos, Accenture and Cerner pull off an unexpected win of the multi-billion-dollar Defense Healthcare Management System Modernization contract, beating out the presumptive health-records leader.

  • Sweating the OPM data breach -- Illustration by Dragutin Cvijanovic

    Sweating the stolen data

    Millions of background-check records were compromised, OPM now says. Here's the jaw-dropping range of personal data that was exposed.

  • FCW magazine

    Let's talk about Alliant 2

    The General Services Administration is going to great lengths to gather feedback on its IT services GWAC. Will it make for a better acquisition vehicle?

Reader comments

Thu, May 29, 2014

Case in Point - For the VA - Feds need to do a better job of weeding out contractors that are producing stove-piped systems to handle VA med processing, and encourage more enterprise environments that will orchestrate processing Veterans in a timely and efficient manner.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above