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Review of an NRCS IT-Related Contract

Inspection Report: 10801-0001-12
Published: 03/30/2020
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Fast Facts

As stated by [REDACTED]. In [REDACTED], the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) contracted with a vendor to [REDACTED].

NRCS’ Contract Requirements

NRCS’ objective for its [REDACTED]. The contract outlined these required deliverables, including a project schedule and a milestone plan, monthly Earned Value Management (EVM) reports, and identification of inherent risks with mitigation plans.

Realignment of NRCS into FPAC Mission Area

The start of work on NRCS’ IT contract commenced in [REDACTED]; however, in October 2018, USDA underwent a reorganization.  As part of this reorganization, the Farm Service Agency (FSA), NRCS, and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) were realigned into USDA’s new Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area.  As a result, the three agencies’ various administrative and management functions were combined to form the FPAC Business Center (BC).  Since October 2018, FPAC BC has provided administrative and management services to FSA, NRCS, and RMA.  Accordingly, FPAC BC took over responsibility for the management of NRCS’ IT-related contract. 

In [REDACTED], OIG received concerns regarding the contractor’s successful fulfillment of the deliverable requirements of the NRCS IT contract.  In [REDACTED], in response to these reported concerns, OIG initiated an inspection to determine whether the contractor successfully fulfilled the requirements of the contract.

 

OBJECTIVE

Determine the extent to which the contractor met the deliverable requirements.

WHAT OIG FOUND

In [REDACTED], the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) initiated a contract with a vendor to provide the agency with computer systems services.   [REDACTED] in October 2018, USDA underwent a reorganization.  As part of the reorganization, the Farm Service Agency (FSA), NRCS, and the Risk Management Agency (RMA) realigned into USDA’s new Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) mission area.  As a result, changes in contract-monitoring staff occurred and it was unclear whether the information technology (IT)-related functions covered by the contract were still relevant to the new organization.

In [REDACTED], the Office of Inspector General (OIG) received concerns regarding the contractor’s successful fulfillment of the deliverable requirements of the NRCS IT contract.  In [REDACTED], in response to these reported concerns, OIG initiated an inspection to determine whether the contractor successfully fulfilled the requirements of the contract.

We found that the contractor did not meet the deliverable requirements of NRCS’ IT contract.  This occurred due to both a poorly written performance work statement (PWS) and various contract oversight challenges posed by the reorganization and subsequent development of FPAC.  As a result, NRCS paid [REDACTED] for services that neither met its requirements nor resulted in any tangible benefit to the Government.

FPAC concurred with our finding and recommendation and we accepted management decision on the recommendation.

Redaction Notice

This inspection report contains sensitive information that has been redacted for public release, due to privacy concerns