The Small Business Administration’s (SBA) office of inspector general has issued a report on eight performance and management challenges facing SBA in fiscal year 2022.
The first two challenges outlined in the report are the susceptibility of SBA’s economic relief programs like the Paycheck Protection Program to fraud risks and vulnerabilities and the reliability of contracting goal achievements being undermined by inaccurate procurement data and eligibility concerns in small business contracting initiatives.
SBA said it implemented fraud and eligibility controls and made corrective actions to help mitigate fraud in PPP, including the development and implementation of Master Review Plan outlining guidelines for loan and forgiveness reviews; creation and execution of SBA and contractor’s fraud risk management policy and framework; adoption of machine learning to focus on areas of higher risk; and launch of training and outreach efforts.
Other performance challenge areas that need improvement are information technology investment system development and security controls; risk management and oversight practices; management of Section 8(a) business development program; identification of improper payments in loan programs; grants management system; and disaster assistance program.
For the IT aspect, SBA has made progress in the protection of personal identifiable information and automated security control testing but still needs improvement in risk management and configuration management controls. The agency should also update its hardware and software inventories and authorizations to operate for IT systems.