Agencies are ramping up their suspension and debarment activities and creating internal controls and programs to help increase future efforts, according to a report by the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee.
Agencies have increased their total suspension and debarment actions substantially since 2009, according to the report released last month. In 2009 agencies proposed 750 debarments, while 2013 saw 2,220 proposals. Overall suspensions are still high at 887 although lower than the 928 in 2011.
Debarments are up from 669 in 2009 to 1,696 in 2013, down slightly from the 1,722 in fiscal 2012 but much higher than previous years.
Here are 11 things agencies are doing to boost the number of suspensions and debarment actions taken against contractors.
1. The Navy has actively pursued fact-based debarments of contractors who had been terminated for poor performance or had mischarged its contract costs.
2. The Defense Logistics Agency is using suspension and debarment as a tool in its fight against nonconforming or counterfeit parts entering the Defense Department supply chain.
3. The Army completed a revision of its regulations addressing procurement fraud to provide more guidance to Army lawyers outlining their responsibility when it comes to identifying fraud or performance issues and when to propose a suspension or debarment.
4. The Air Force is using data to better enhance contract transparency and to boost due process when it has to decide on a suspension or debarment.
5. The Small Business Administration helps other agencies determine whether a suspension or debarment is needed against a small business contractor.
6. NASA has increased is suspensions and debarments as part of a new program to help identify procurement fraud. Between 1996 and 2007 NASA debarred 18 contractors. From 2008 to 2013 NASA suspended or debarred 120 contractors.
7. The Interior Department has stepped up its investigation of contracts. Between 2001 to 2008 the agency took 20 suspension and debarment actions. From 2009 to 2013 it took 183 suspension and debarment actions.
8. The Treasury Department issued a directive in 2012 to enhance its suspension and debarment process and subsequently created an electronic case management system to help keep track of its actions.
9. The Health and Human Services Department established a suspension and debarment organization with three dedicated staff members. In 2012 it had only one action but rose to 52 actions in 2013.
10. The State Department created new processes in 2012 for tracking referrals and follow up activities for suspension and debarments. In fiscal 2012 State issued 50 actions — more than the previous three years combined. In fiscal 2013 it issued 96 actions.
11. The Commerce Department has developed a case referral process and created a suspension and debarment coordinator to make sure the agency stays on top of its actions.