This post, written by Jonathan Messinger, originally appeared on Public Spend Forum.
The Government Accountability Office has found that the Department of Defense and the General Services Administration—the two federal agencies that account for the vast majority of consolidated contracts—misreported the number of consolidated contracts in fiscal year 2011 and 2012. The GAO reviewed 157 contracts, and found that 34% of the DoD contracts reported as consolidated, and none of the GSA contracts designated as such, were in fact consolidated, leading the GAO to conclude that the two agencies “do not know the full extent to which they are awarding consolidated contracts.” The GAO also found four DoD contracts that were consolidated, but were not reported as such.
The concern here is that consolidated contracts, if not properly managed, can exclude small business participation. The GAO reviewed 100 DoD contracts, and found that half had gone to small businesses, the majority of those through set-aside programs. Contracts that were bundled did require subcontracting plans to ensure some of the work went to small businesses.
Part of the problem is that neither agency has implemented legislative changes that took effect in 2010. But the issue points to a much bigger question about the efficacy of the Federal Procurement Data System.
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