Federal agencies “can unknowingly execute contract actions, including awarding a new contract, to contractors that have been suspended or debarred” because GSA does not always assure that such contractors are blocked, an IG report has said.
It said that GSA does not always timely update in its eTools–which consist of GSA Advantage!, GSA eLibrary, and GSA eBuy—and auditors found “several instances where excluded contractors were incorrectly listed on GSA’s eTools and one instance where an agency purchased services off a GSA Multiple Award Schedule contract from an excluded contractor.”
“Government customers rely on GSA’s eTools to conduct contractor and market research in order to locate and make purchases from eligible contractors throughout the country. Therefore, it is important that exclusion statuses are accurate to prevent suspended or debarred contractors from receiving government funds,” it said.
It also found that exclusion information for suspended and debarred contractors was not entered as required into the System for Award Management (SAM), where entities register to do business with the federal government and requires annual representations and certifications.
“We found that agencies are selecting the incorrect classification type, omitting the unique entity identifier, inputting incorrect contractor addresses, and omitting cross-reference data. This can prevent agencies from discovering the affiliations between entities with active exclusions and could lead to suspended and debarred contractors improperly receiving government awards,” the report said.
Management agreed with recommendations that GSA identify reasons for failures to update exclusion statuses of contractors and take steps to correct them including automatically checking daily to assure that such updates were registered.