Department of Veterans Affairs: Available Data Not Sufficiently Reliable to Describe Use of Consulting Services

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Because data were not readily available to identify how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses consulting services and what is known about their costs, this report discusses the limitations on data concerning consulting services and provides information on some of the uses of consultant contracts. Two primary factors limited GAO's ability to identify a list of consulting contracts that was sufficiently accurate and complete for identifying the types and costs of consulting services used by VA. First, there is no consistently used definition for consultant or consulting ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. July 30, 2013.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "Because data were not readily available to identify how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) uses consulting services and what is known about their costs, this report discusses the limitations on data concerning consulting services and provides information on some of the uses of consultant contracts. Two primary factors limited GAO's ability to identify a list of consulting contracts that was sufficiently accurate and complete for identifying the types and costs of consulting services used by VA. First, there is no consistently used definition for consultant or consulting services across VA that GAO could apply for our intended purposes. Second, there are data limitations associated with identifying consulting services at VA. Since there is no means for contracting officers to track obligations for consulting services in the Federal Procurement Data System-New Generation, GAO used North American Industrial Classification Codes (NAICS) to identify contracts that could be for consulting. However, GAO could not use the NAICS codes to consistently identify consulting contracts because a single NAICS code can be used to classify both consulting and nonconsulting services and VA contracting officers sometimes reported that they had applied the wrong NAICS code to contracts. Nevertheless, VA offices were able to provide information on how they used consulting services and identified contracts among those in our sample that they considered to be consulting services. For contracts that VA officials considered to be for consulting, VA procured a variety of services, including program evaluations, engineering and support services, and gathering data to support decision making."

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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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  • July 30, 2013

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Department of Veterans Affairs: Available Data Not Sufficiently Reliable to Describe Use of Consulting Services, text, July 30, 2013; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc298522/: accessed September 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.