Postal Service purchase card program needs better oversight, new audit finds

A new U.S. Postal Service audit found inadequate oversight in regards to the use of expense purchase cards despite policies and procedures in place. 

USPS logoThe USPS inspector general (IG) said in an Aug. 7, 2015 report that, of the 209 transactions – worth $72,333 – it reviewed, 133 were missing the required documentation. And, of those missing, 51 were made without proper approval.

Additionally, cardholders for 42 percent of the transactions and approving officials for 41 percent either did not take the required expense purchase card training or could not provide proof of completion, the IG said.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/postal-service-purchase-card-program-needs-better-oversight-new-audit-finds/2015-08-12

Energy’s OIG responds to hotline complaint re: Bonneville Power’s procurement system

The Energy Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) has substantiated allegations regarding the acquisition of the hiring system acquired by the Bonneville Power Administration as well as general concerns about Bonneville’s procurement office’s operations.

DOE logoThe Department of Energy’s Bonneville Power Administration, which markets wholesale power produced primarily from Federal hydroelectric projects in the Pacific Northwest, operates and maintains about three-fourths of the high voltage transmission in the area.  Bonneville has about 3,000 federal employees, which represents approximately 20 percent of the Department’s total federal workforce.  In support of its various mission activities and human resources needs, Bonneville makes a number of procurements each year.  By statute, Bonneville is exempt from the requirements of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and is permitted to acquire goods and services using its own requirements published as the Bonneville Purchasing Instructions.  In an effort to streamline its recruiting and hiring processes, Bonneville acquired the automated Talent Acquisition System (hiring system) in July 2012.

The OIG received a hotline complaint alleging fraud, waste, and abuse related to the acquisition of information technology (IT) systems.  The complaint included specific concerns regarding the acquisition of the hiring system, as well as general concerns about the procurement organization’s operations.  The allegations made in the complaint were, in part, substantiated in an August 3, 2015 report issued by the OIG.  Most prominently, regarding the acquisition of the hiring system, the OIG found that Bonneville spent about $5.2 million for a system that did not meet its needs.  The OIG identified significant weaknesses with the system planning, acquisition, and contract administration.

The issues identified were due, in large part according to the OIG, to the accelerated planning, development, and deployment approach used by Bonneville for this particular project.  Other contributing factors included a lack of adequate due diligence and accountability on the part of key personnel responsible for acquisition and monitoring of the hiring system and insufficient involvement of Bonneville’s IT Project Management Office.  The OIG also noted that Bonneville failed to apply lessons learned from a previous IT system failure, leading to the repeat of past mistakes.

Read the OIG report at: http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2015/08/f25/DOE-IG-0943.pdf

 

DoD OIG: Marine Corps program met acquisition guidelines intent, but evaluation plan not in place

Initial production was begun on a Marine Corps acquisition before a test and evaluation plan was in place.

That is the finding of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Defense (DoD) in an audit report issued August 6, 2015.

DOD IGThe OIG’s audit objective was to determine if the Marine Corps was effectively managing the Ground/Air Task Oriented Radar (G/ATOR) project during the initial production phase. The OIG evaluated the production plan for initial production units and planned developmental testing.

The OIG found the Marine Corps generally managed the G/ATOR program in accordance with Defense acquisition guidelines in that G/ATOR Program Management Office (PMO) officials implemented reliability improvements, planned new semiconductor technology that should reduce costs and improve performance, and obtained the milestone decision authority approval for increased initial production quantities.

However, on March 10, 2014, the milestone decision authority approved the G/ATOR system to begin initial production without an approved Test and Evaluation Master Plan (TEMP).  Officials from G/ATOR PMO and the test community stated that they were coordinating to include the test strategy for new semiconductor technology and a clarified operational reliability requirement in the TEMP.

As a result of the audit, G/ATOR PMO officials plan to complete the TEMP before developmental testing begins in the second quarter FY 2017.  Until the TEMP is updated to include the test strategy for new semiconductor technology and a clarified operational reliability requirement, the G/ATOR program is not ready for additional testing.

View the full audit report at: http://www.dodig.mil/pubs/documents/DODIG-2015-158.pdf

 

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the

USDOT’s IG says department does not fully comply with contract closeout requirements

The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) issued a report on July 23, 2015 revealing that foursome of its operating administrations — involving highway, aviation, traffic safety, and the Office of the Secretary —  do not uniformly comply with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and departmental contract closeout requirements.

US DOTContract closeout is an important contract administration procedure that involves verifying that goods and services were provided as intended, validating final costs and payments, and freeing excess funds for possible use elsewhere. Timely and effective closeout ultimately protects the government’s interests and helps agencies efficiently manage residual contract funds.

In its report, the OIG found that USDOT does not fully ensure that its operating administrations comply with federal and departmental closeout requirements.  The OIG reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the Office of the Secretary (OST) and found that they did not fully comply with closeout requirements and frequently did not close out contracts in a timely fashion.  Specifically, 42 of the 58 closed contracts in the OIG’s audit sample were not closed out within FAR and Acquisition Management System time frames.   In addition, the OIG’s review of selected NHTSA and OST contracts files found a lack of evidence that four key contract closeout steps were completed.  Finally, because contract files were not always properly maintained, FAA, FHWA, NHTSA, and OST were unable to locate the files for 21 percent of the 120 total contracts in our audit samples.

The Department concurred with all five of the OIG’s recommendations to help improve USDOT’s compliance with contract closeout requirements.

A copy of the OIG report can be found at: https://www.oig.dot.gov/sites/default/files/DOT%20Contract%20Closeout%20Process%20Final%20Report%5E7-23-15.pdf

Source: https://www.oig.dot.gov/library-item/32578

Pentagon’s $11 billion health records deal to be awarded by month’s end

All signs point to the Defense Department awarding its multi-billion Defense Healthcare Management System (DHMS) contract by the end of July.

The Pentagon’s public notice for the contract, which was first released almost 18 months ago, was closed for discussion July 14, one month after DOD’s Office of Inspector General announced it would be looking into DHMS’s acquisition strategy. Bloomberg also reported a DOD spokeswoman confirmed an award would be made by July 31.

The Defense Healthcare Management System  (DHMS) was chartered by the Secretary of Defense in 2013 to improve the health care of active duty military, Veterans, and their beneficiaries by modernizing electronic health care records and establishing seamless medical data sharing between the DoD, the VA, and the private sector.  DHMS is administratively attached to the Defense Health Agency (DHA), with a direct reporting relationship to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD AT&L).
The Defense Healthcare Management System (DHMS) was chartered by the Secretary of Defense in 2013 to improve the health care of active duty military, Veterans, and their beneficiaries by modernizing electronic health care records and establishing seamless medical data sharing between the DoD, the VA, and the private sector. DHMS is administratively attached to the Defense Health Agency (DHA), with a direct reporting relationship to the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology, and Logistics (USD AT&L).

The 10-year contract is one of the largest in recent memory for DOD and is expected to have a total lifecycle value of $11 billion.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/emerging-tech-blog/2015/07/pentagons-11-billion-health-records-deal-be-awarded-months-end/118078

For more information about DHMS, visit: http://www.health.mil/dhms