On January 25, 2018, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued report no. OIG-18-41, “DHS Needs to Strengthen Its Suspension and Debarment Program” (Report). While many may feel that the review, findings, and recommendations of the DHS suspension and debarment program are of little or no consequence to them, there are some interesting takeaways that may provide some important signals to the government contracting community at large.
This Report stems from an October 2016 request by the ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Representative Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who requested the OIG review the suspension and debarment practices of DHS. As set out in the Report, the OIG found that:
- The DHS Suspension and Debarment Instruction is outdated and is missing needed information and guidance;
- DHS did not adequately document a majority (5 of 7) of administrative agreements approved between fiscal year 2012 and February of 2017;
- DHS did not have a centralized system to track suspension and debarment activities, which may have contributed to DHS’s inaccurate FY2016 reporting of suspension and debarments;
- For an 8-month period, FEMA’s suspension and debarment staff did not promptly update government-wide systems to reflect debarments and administrative agreements; and
- Staffing levels within DHS may be hindering efficient and effective handling of suspensions and debarments.
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