GAO: DHS needs to tighten interagency contracting

The Homeland Security Department is falling short in its management of interagency contracts and failing to monitor its total spending on such contracts, a new report from the Government Accountability Office says.

DHS spent about $6.5 billion on interagency contracts in fiscal 2005, which is about 37 percent of the $17.5 billion in total purchases, auditors found. The Office of Procurement Operations used the greatest amount of interagency contracting, totaling $3.7 billion.

However, the department has not developed effective guidance on how to ensure good value in such contracts, the report said. Oversight is lagging, especially with regard to General Services Administration schedules and governmentwide acquisition contracts, the report said.

'DHS officials said benefits of speed and convenience'not total value including cost'have driven decisions to choose these types of contracts,' the GAO reported. 'DHS does not systematically monitor its total spending on interagency contracts and does not assess the outcomes of its use of this contracting method.'

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