GAO: Interagency contracting worrisome

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GAO Report

The State Department’s methods for monitoring interagency contracts are inadequate, and the department should develop methods to more reliably track its use of such contracting and better identify who is in charge of overseeing those agreements, according to government auditors.

The Government Accountability Office concluded in an audit that State officials have limited insight into the extent of its orders on other agencies' contracts and use of contract support services from other agencies. The May 8 report also said State's central procurement and accounting systems do not make clear where interagency contracts have been used.

GAO said agencies can generate savings by using those contracts, but a lack of information on their use can hurt contracting decisions and management practices.

The auditors said a department policy requires domestic bureaus to get permission from State's acquisition officials before paying other agencies for contract support but noted that it has not been implemented to ensure that decisions are made by the acquisition officials.

Also, State may lack direct oversight because its acquisition regulations do not require the assignment of oversight personnel when using assisted interagency contracting, GAO reported.

State agreed with GAO's three recommendations.



  • Develop a mechanism to better track interagency contracting.



  • Clarify the State First policy.



  • Require bureaus to identify trained oversight personnel when they seek waivers for interagency contracts

About the Author

Ben Bain is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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