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Inspector General: DHS Should Improve Oversight of Suspension & Debarment Program

The Department of Homeland Security‘s inspector general has urged the department to boost oversight and accountability in the use of suspension and debarment powers to exclude certain entities from government contracts, grants and assistance.

DHS IG said in a report published Jan. 25 that DHS’ Suspension and Debarment Instruction is outdated and lacks necessary definitions, detailed requirements and methods for documenting decisions on administrative agreements.

Administrative agreements direct companies and organization to make improvements instead of facing suspension or debarment.

The report also revealed that DHS did not sufficiently document five of seven administrative agreements issued between fiscal year 2012 and February 2017.

DHS’ FY 2016 reporting of suspensions and debarments showed inaccurate data, which may have been caused partly by the lack of a centralized system to track suspension and debarment activities, DHS IG noted.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency did not upload information on debarments and administrative agreements to government-wide systems in a timely manner over an eight-month period, but has since conducted the required updates.

Auditors added that DHS recruitment issues may have a negative impact on suspension and debarment activities.

DHS IG urged department officials to update the Suspension and Debarment Instruction; establish a department-wide suspension and debarment tracking system; and require employees to promptly add information related to suspensions and debarments to government systems.

The report also recommended DHS to evaluate whether the department needs additional staff to handle suspension and debarment workload.

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