Watchdog: Accountability

IG: Flaw in GSA's awards program allows large businesses to get awards, contracts

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Watchdog,Watchdog Blog,Kelly Cohen,GSA,Inspectors General,Waste and Fraud,Accountability,Small Business Administration,Government Contractors

Flaws in the Small Business Administration allow large businesses to get awards and contracts really meant for small businesses, the agency's inspector general found.

The Oct. 31 audit was an update on 11 management and performances challenges the SBA is attempting to fix.

The SBA's inspector general found a loophole with the General Services Administration Multiple Awards Schedule contracts, which currently allows a business to seek awards for multiple different little tasks as a small business, despite being a big one when all the tasks are combined.

More specifically, the SBA has made no progress on establishing better criteria that effectively measures the "economic disadvantage" of businesses applying for assistance.

"Companies that were 'business successes' were allowed to remain in the program and continue to receive 8(a) contracts, causing fewer companies to receive most of the 8(a) contract dollars and many to receive none," the IG found.

The IG also found that the SBA's computer security program has weaknesses allowing for "significant risks to the agency." There has been no progress on the IG's recommendation to put new system software controls in place.

The agency has made "substantial progress" in bringing in effective human capital strategies to help it carry out its mission "successfully and become a high-performing organization," according to the IG.

The inspector general's office also found that the SBA has limited oversight of the businesses it has loaned billions of dollars to. SBA has made limited progress in making sure lenders can properly take care of any loan issues.

View the full audit here.

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