GAO: DOE needs better small-biz program management

The Energy Department could reach its small-business contracting goals with better program management measures, according to a Government Accountability Office report released today.

The department has fallen short of its goal in all but one year since fiscal 2001, but recently has been coming closer, according to GAO. In 2001, the department set a goal to award 5 percent of its contracts to small businesses, and achieved 2.89 percent. By 2005, when the goal was 5.5 percent, it achieved 4.15 percent.

For fiscal 2003, when the goal was 3.7 percent, the department reported an actual figure of 4.08 percent, the sole year in the five-year span when Energy met the target, according to GAO.

The agency found that unlike other departments, Energy has not defined specific steps it can take to improve its performance and reach the annual contracting goal. GAO recommended that Energy define those steps, including methods to collect and use performance information.

In its response, Energy concurred with GAO’s finding.

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