GSA Actions To Improve Multiple Award Schedule Program

Gao ID: 112214 May 1, 1980

GAO has issued several reports dealing with the General Services Administration's (GSA) Multiple Award Schedule Program. The most recent report pointed out that: the multiple awards schedules did not provide assurance that the Government is obtaining the lowest possible prices; most of the four million items could be purchased competitively; GSA did not know what the agencies were buying under the schedules program; there were many items of a questionable nature available for purchase; there were too many suppliers of similar items; and the program, overall, could not be managed effectively. GAO recommended that GSA develop criteria for determining which items should be procured competitively and which should be purchased by using multiple awards and for those relatively few items which should remain on multiple awards, GSA should improve the contracting process. GSA agreed with the recommendations but has not as yet significantly reduced the number of multiple award items nor their resultant sales. Progress has been slow in market research, deletion or restriction of schedules, commercial item description development, or management information systems development. Progress has been more evident in the areas of training and internal audit. GSA has created a task force charged with eliminating or restricting 12 multiple award schedule items and conducting test purchases in 13 item categories using competitive methods. Other major tasks given to the task force include the recruitment of an industry consultant for advice on production and marketing factors, the development of procurement strategy, and monitoring results. GAO believes that its recommendations are still valid and that the current GSA plans are responsive to these recommendations. Congressional oversight is necessary to make sure that GSA completes the needed program reforms in a timely manner.

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