Contract Reform: DOE Has Made Progress, but Actions Needed to Ensure Initiatives Have Improved Results

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A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Energy (DOE), the largest civilian contracting agency in the federal government, relies primarily on contractors to operate its sites and carry out its diverse missions, such as maintaining the nuclear weapons stockpile, cleaning up radioactive and hazardous wastes, and performing research. Although federal law generally requires federal agencies to use competition in selecting a contractor, until the mid-1990s, DOE contracts for the management and operation of its sites generally fit within an exception that allowed for the use of noncompetitive procedures. Since 1996, ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. September 13, 2002.

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Description

A letter report issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Energy (DOE), the largest civilian contracting agency in the federal government, relies primarily on contractors to operate its sites and carry out its diverse missions, such as maintaining the nuclear weapons stockpile, cleaning up radioactive and hazardous wastes, and performing research. Although federal law generally requires federal agencies to use competition in selecting a contractor, until the mid-1990s, DOE contracts for the management and operation of its sites generally fit within an exception that allowed for the use of noncompetitive procedures. Since 1996, DOE has made progress toward implementing contract reform initiative in three key areas--developing alternative contracting approaches, increasing competition, and using performance-based contracts. However, DOE continues to encounter challenges in implementing these initiatives. Although DOE has made strides in implementing contract reform initiatives, it is difficult to determine whether contractors' performance has improved because objective performance information is scarce. Over the past 8 years, DOE has primarily gauged progress by measuring its implementation of the reforms, such as the number of contracts competed each year, and by reviewing individual contract performance incentives. DOE faces a fundamental challenge to ensuring the effectiveness of its contract reform initiatives--developing an approach to managing its initiatives and sustaining improvements that would incorporate the best management practices of high-performing organizations. These practices include four key elements: (1) clearly defined goals; (2) an implementation strategy that sets milestones and establishes responsibility; (3) results-oriented outcome measures, established early in the process; and (4) systematic use of results-oriented data to evaluate the effectiveness of the initiative and make additional changes where warranted."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • September 13, 2002

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  • June 11, 2014, 5:03 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Contract Reform: DOE Has Made Progress, but Actions Needed to Ensure Initiatives Have Improved Results, report, September 13, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc293625/: accessed December 14, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.