Suspension and Debarment Procedures Gao ID: NSIAD-87-37BR February 13, 1987

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the implementation of suspension and debarment procedures at selected major procuring agencies to determine whether procurement officials should: (1) take specific actions to strengthen the suspension and debarment process; (2) establish suspension and debarment procedures by statute; (3) assign suspension and debarment actions to the various boards of contract appeals; or (4) give explicit guidance to explain what types of business practices could subject businesses to suspension and debarment proceedings.

GAO found that: (1) none of the agencies had completely implemented effective procurement fraud coordination and oversight systems to ensure that they referred all appropriate fraud investigations for action and would not inadvertently award new contracts to ineligible contractors; (2) the General Services Administration (GSA) continued to have difficulty providing the Consolidated List of Suspended, Debarred, and Otherwise Ineligible Contractors on a timely basis, even though it published monthly updates; (3) existing regulations contained some deficiencies and loopholes, which could enable suspended or debarred contractors to directly or indirectly continue contracting with the government; and (4) provisions governing the continuation and termination of existing contracts needed clarification or change. In one particular case, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposed a firm for debarment, precluding it from contracting with HHS; however, the Department of Defense (DOD) continued to award it new contracts. GAO believes that: (1) each procuring agency should coordinate and monitor all procurement fraud investigations to ensure that all available remedies are considered; (2) a statute would not be in the government's best interest because it would unduly delay the suspension and debarment process; and (3) it would not be in the government's interest to add to the appeals boards' work loads to hear debarment and suspension cases.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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