New GAO Report Shows Need for Improving Rating System for Federal Contractors

WASHINGTON – Today, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Chairman of Financial and Contracting Oversight Subcommittee, highlighted a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report that shows federal agencies have fallen far short of Administration-set goals for completing performance reviews of work done by federal contractors.

Generally, federal procurement rules require agencies to review and document contractor performance on contracts that exceed $150,000, and to make that information available to other federal agencies through a shared government-wide database. GAO found that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, within the Office of Management and Budget, has taken a number of steps over the last several years to improve reporting of past performance information, including evaluating the level of compliance by agencies and setting goals for increasing the number of reviews completed. However, GAO found that only two of the top ten contracting agencies have met those goals. The percentage of reviews completed at seven of those ten agencies was below 50 percent.

“Every day, consumers across America read reviews written by other consumers before they buy a product or service so they can assess the quality and value of a purchase before it’s made,” said Sen. Carper, Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.  “Usually, these reviews are just a click away on the Internet, easy to access and quick to obtain. On the other hand, the U.S. government – the largest consumer of goods and services in the world – has not developed an accessible and efficient system for rating and reviewing government contractors. The result is that agencies repeatedly hire – and taxpayers repeatedly pay – companies that do not stay within budget or deliver what they promise. This latest report shows that agencies could do a much better job of sharing the information they have on contractor performance. The creation of a complete database of contractor reviews would be one of the most common-sense and effective ways for the federal government to get better results from the nearly half trillion dollars that it spends every year on contracts. I encourage the Administration to promptly address the GAO’s findings and take immediate steps to improve information sharing between agencies.”

“Transparency in how these contractors perform when they’re being paid with taxpayer dollars is crucial to guarding against waste and boosting accountability,” said Sen. McCaskill, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial & Contracting Oversight. “Improvements to the available databases aren’t as effective as they need to be if officials aren’t submitting reviews, so there’s obviously still a lot of room for improvement.”