September 4, 2013

The Department of Energy's Management of Contractor Responsibility Determinations

From January 2010 to January 2012, the Department of Energy's Office of Headquarters Procurement Services (Headquarters Procurement) and the National Nuclear Security Administration's Office of Acquisition Management in the Albuquerque Complex (Albuquerque Procurement) awarded contracts totaling approximately $6 billion to 1,315 contractors included in our review. 

We determined that Headquarters Procurement and Albuquerque Procurement did have processes and procedures in place to restrict contracts awards to entities with tax delinquencies and those deemed non-responsible.   However, we identified opportunities in which these processes and procedures could be improved.  For example, we identified instances in which required offeror representations and certifications were either not completed or were not up-to-date at the time of contract award.  Additionally, important procurement documentation used in determining a bidder's responsibility was not always included in the official contract files, as required by Department policies and procedures.

The problems we identified occurred, in part, because Headquarters Procurement and Albuquerque Procurement management did not ensure that procurement personnel consistently implemented controls designed to determine whether a contractor was responsible.  In addition, management did not always ensure that the official contract files were properly maintained. 

We provided a recommendation. Department and NNSA management concurred with our recommendations to address the weaknesses we observed in the contractor self-certification process.  Management's corrective actions, taken and planned, are responsive to our recommendations.  

TOPIC:  Management & Administration