THE INSPECTOR GENERAL
SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION
ACCURACY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY
CERTIFICATION OF FISCAL YEAR 2007 PROCUREMENT
DATA SUBMISSIONS TO FEDERAL PROCUREMENT
DATA SYSTEM - NEXT GENERATION
By conducting independent and objective audits, evaluations and investigations, we inspire public confidence in the integrity and security of SSA’s programs and operations and protect them against fraud, waste and abuse. We provide timely, useful and reliable information and advice to Administration officials, Congress and the public.
The Inspector General Act created independent audit and investigative units, called the Office of Inspector General (OIG). The mission of the OIG, as spelled out in the Act, is to:
Conduct and supervise independent and objective audits and investigations relating to agency programs and operations.
Promote economy, effectiveness, and efficiency within the agency.
Prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in agency programs and operations.
Review and make recommendations regarding existing and proposed legislation and regulations relating to agency programs and operations.
Keep the agency head and the Congress fully and currently informed of problems in agency programs and operations.
To ensure objectivity, the IG Act empowers the IG with:
Independence to determine what reviews to perform.
Access to all information necessary for the reviews.
Authority to publish findings and recommendations based on the reviews.
We strive for continual improvement in SSA’s programs, operations and management by proactively seeking new ways to prevent and deter fraud, waste and abuse. We commit to integrity and excellence by supporting an environment that provides a valuable public service while encouraging employee development and retention and fostering diversity and innovation.
Date: April 15, 2009 Refer To:
To: The Commissioner
From: Inspector General
Subject: Accuracy of the Social Security Administration’s Required Certification of Fiscal Year 2007 Procurement Data Submissions to Federal Procurement Data System -
Next Generation (A-15-08-28107)
The objective of our review was to determine the accuracy of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Required Certification of Fiscal Year (FY) 2007 Procurement Data Submissions to Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation (FPDS NG).
The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act) requires that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) maintain a single, searchable website, accessible by the public for free, that includes the following for each Federal award:
1. name of the entity receiving the award;
2. amount of the award;
3. information on the award, including transaction type, funding agency, etc;
4. location of the entity receiving the award; and
5. a unique identifier of the entity receiving the award.
Pursuant to the Transparency Act, OMB developed the website www.USAspending.gov. FPDS NG, which is managed by the General Services Administration, is one of the data sources for the information maintained on the www.USAspending.gov website. Each Executive department and agency is responsible for collecting and reporting procurement data to FPDS NG. To ensure the accuracy of information reported to the FPDS-NG, OMB requires that departments and agencies provide an annual certification to OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy.
SSA uses its Streamlined Acquisition System (SSASy) to report acquisition planning, requisitions, awards, and acquisition management information. Data from select fields in SSASy are electronically transmitted into the FPDS NG database. SSA employees manually enter information for other fields. SSA's SSASy Manual and Acquisition Handbook provide guidance and procedures for inputting information into SSASy and FPDS NG. Once an award is made, SSASy prompts SSA employees to enter the award information into FPDS NG. If there are technical problems, for example, FPDS NG is down, employees are required to enter the award information into FPDS NG at a later time. The Acquisition Handbook requires that other Office of Acquisition and Grants (OAG) employees reviewing SSA awards also review the data in FPDS-NG for accuracy and completeness.
Certain contracting officers and others who entered data directly into FPDS NG were required to certify to the Associate Commissioner, OAG, that they had entered all required awards into FPDS NG for FY 2007. In SSA’s Required Certification of FY 2007 Procurement Data Submissions to FPDS NG (FPDS-NG Certification), a senior SSA procurement executive certified to OMB that
1. reportable contract actions awarded during FY 2007 had been entered into FPDS NG as fully and accurately as reasonably possible;
2. data were submitted to FPDS NG no later than October 1, 2007;
3. certifications were collected from subordinate offices;
4. contract files were compared to data in FPDS NG;
5. business-size determinations were reviewed; and
6. other actions, such as FPDS NG training and data review, were taken.
SSA’s OAG provided us copies of the signed FPDS NG Certification it submitted to OMB, the data SSA used to support its FPDS NG Certification and other supporting documentation. In FY 2007, SSA made 9,266 awards totaling $804.3 million. Before certifying the accuracy of the contract data, SSA compared the information in SSASy to information in FPDS-NG. Of the 9,266 awards, OAG identified 197 that had been entered into SSASy, but not FPDS-NG, as of November 28, 2007. To determine whether SSA correctly certified procurement data in FPDS-NG, we reviewed all of the 197 awards, totaling $14.7 million, to determine whether they had been included in FPDS-NG. We also reviewed a sample of 45 of the remaining 9,069 awards.
RESULTS OF REVIEW
With the exception of minor discrepancies, we found that SSA properly recorded
$789.6 million of the FY 2007 awards totaling $804.3 million in FPDS-NG. The minor discrepancies resulted from untimely data reporting and data input errors. These inaccuracies represented 2 percent of the overall procurement awards.
We obtained a data file of the FY 2007 awards in FPDS-NG as of March 2008 to ensure SSA had subsequently entered the missing 197 awards into FPDS NG. We found, as of March 2008, 14 awards, totaling $278,112, were still not entered into FPDS NG. All awards should have been entered by October 1, 2007. After our audit, 12 of the 14 missing contract actions were added to FPDS-NG.
SSASy prompts SSA employees to enter award information into FPDS NG. If there are technical problems, for example, FPDS NG is down, employees are required to enter the award information into FPDS NG at a later time. Although an SSA representative reviewed the November 28, 2007 data report and sent emails to the responsible Contracting Officers to ensure the 197 awards were entered into FPDS NG, we were unable to determine whether any steps were taken to ensure the required awards were entered into FPDS NG. The SSA representative has retired, and there was no auditable documentation showing what other steps the representative may have taken. The incomplete award data caused the information submitted to FPDS NG to be inaccurate, understating the number and dollars of awards.
Our comparison of the November 28, 2007 report and the March 2008 data also showed SSASy and FPDS-NG data were not always accurate. The
November 28, 2007 report for FY 2007 erroneously contained 63 awards, totaling $22,310 for awards made in FY 2006 and $4.3 million for awards made in FY 2008. We did not have any findings for the sample of 45 additional awards. SSA correctly entered the sampled awards in FPDS-NG. SSA provided supporting documentation for 44 of the sampled awards. Although SSA provided some supporting documentation for the remaining award, it was unable to locate all the documentation because of staff changes.
CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
With the exception of minor discrepancies that resulted from untimely data reporting and data input errors, the Agency accurately reported and certified contract information to OMB. We recommend SSA:
1. Remind staff of the policies and procedures for routine verification and correction of contract data.
2. Take steps to ensure contract data in SSASy and FPDS-NG are submitted timely and accurately.
3. Take steps to resolve the status and reporting of the two missing contract actions.
4. Continue to enhance the automatic data exchange between SSASy and FPDS NG as future versions of SSASy are developed.
AGENCY COMMENT AND OIG RESPONSE
SSA agreed with our recommendations. The Agency’s comments are included in Appendix C.
Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr.
APPENDIX A – Acronyms
APPENDIX B – Scope and Methodology
APPENDIX C – Agency Comments
APPENDIX D – OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
FPDS-NG Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation
FPDS NG Certification Required Certification of FY 2007 Procurement Data Submissions to FPDS NG
FY Fiscal Year
OAG Office of Acquisition and Grants
OIG Office of the Inspector General
OMB Office of Management and Budget
Pub. L. No. Public Law Number
SSA Social Security Administration
SSASy Streamlined Acquisition System
Transparency Act Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006
Scope and Methodology
We reviewed the accuracy of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Federal Procurement Data System - Next Generation (FPDS-NG) data submission certification.
To accomplish our objective, we:
• Reviewed applicable Federal laws and regulations as well as pertinent SSA policies and procedures.
• Interviewed SSA’s Office of Acquisition and Grants (OAG) staff to gain an understanding of the Required Certification of FY 2007 Procurement Submissions to FPDS-NG (FPDS-NG Certification).
• Obtained and reviewed a copy of the signed FPDS NG Certification SSA submitted to the Office of Management and Budget.
• Requested and received from OAG the data reports SSA used to support its FPDS NG Certification, as well as other supporting documentation. Our population consisted of 197 awards in the November 2007 data report of awards entered into SSASy but not FPDS-NG.
• Reviewed all 197 of the awards that were in the November 2007 exceptions data report.
• Reviewed a sample of 45 awards from the remaining 9,069 of the 9,266 awards that were in the March 2008 FPDS-NG data file.
We determined that the data report, provided by SSA for this audit, contained incomplete and inaccurate data. We base this determination on our interviews with OAG staff and our review of the documents supporting the FPDS NG Certification. We did not determine the completeness of the data extract provided by SSA.
We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objective. We believe the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objective.
We conducted our fieldwork in Baltimore, Maryland, between February and November 2008. The entity audited was OAG.
Date: March 31, 2009 Refer
Refer To: S1J-3
To: Patrick P. O'Carroll, Jr.
From: James A. Winn /s/
Chief of Staff
Subject: Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Draft Report, “Accuracy of the Social Security Administration’s Required Certification of Fiscal Year 2007 Procurement Data Submissions to Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation” (A-15-08-28107)--INFORMATION
Thank you for the opportunity to review and comment on the draft report. We appreciate the comprehensive work that the OIG auditing team did on this report. Our response to the report findings and recommendations is attached.
Please let me know if we can be of further assistance. Please direct staff inquiries to
Candace Skurnik, Director, Audit Management and Liaison Staff, at (410) 965-4636.
COMMENTS ON THE OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL DRAFT REPORT, “ACCURACY OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION’S REQUIRED CERTIFICATION OF FISCAL YEAR 2007 PROCUREMENT DATA SUBMISSIONS TO FEDERAL PROCUREMENT DATA SYSTEM – NEXT GENERATION” (A-15-08-28107)
Remind staff of the policies and procedures for routine verification and correction of contract data.
We agree. We will remind staff in an upcoming March 2009 Acquisition Update (newsletter) of the criticality of reviewing and verifying the data in the Federal Procurement Data System –Next Generation (FPDS-NG). We will also remind them to take timely action on any necessary data corrections.
Take steps to ensure contract data in the Social Security Administration’s Streamlined Acquisition System (SSASy) and FPDS-NG are submitted timely and accurately.
We agree. We will continue to remind managers to review reports of SSASy awards that we have not completed in FPDS-NG and encourage them to take appropriate action for the awards on the list. We conducted a random review of fiscal year (FY) 2008 SSASy awards for accuracy and completeness. This review was one of the bases for our validation of FY 2008 FPDS-NG data. We will conduct this review on an annual basis.
Errors during the FPDS-NG validation process result in untimely reporting of some transactions. The errors require either software fixes to SSASy or manual intervention from FPDS-NG. These corrective measures take time because we are dependent on two separate contractors for the corrections. Ultimately, we make the corrections and then enter the data.
Take steps to resolve the status and reporting of the two missing contract actions.
We agree. We resolved these actions by submitting the two missing contract actions to FPDS-NG. We have no remaining FY 2007 actions to report to FPDS-NG.
Continue to enhance the automatic data exchange between SSASy and FPDS NG as future versions of SSASy are developed.
We agree. The SSASy application is a commercial off-the-shelf application that we update through the vendor's support contract and we maintain synchronization with FPDS-NG as new versions of FPDS-NG are developed.
OIG Contacts and Staff Acknowledgments
Vicki Vetter, Director, Financial Audit Division
In addition to those named above:
Jackie Patel, Auditor-in-Charge
Brennan Kraje, Statistician
Kim Beauchamp, Writer-Editor
For additional copies of this report, please visit our web site at www.socialsecurity.gov/oig or contact the Office of the Inspector General’s Public Affairs Staff Assistant at (410) 965-4518. Refer to Common Identification Number
Commissioner of Social Security
Office of Management and Budget, Income Maintenance Branch
Chairman and Ranking Member, Committee on Ways and Means
Chief of Staff, Committee on Ways and Means
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Social Security
Majority and Minority Staff Director, Subcommittee on Social Security
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on the Budget, House of Representatives
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Appropriations, House of Representatives
Chairman and Ranking Minority, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations,
House of Representatives
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. Senate
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Committee on Finance
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Subcommittee on Social Security Pensions and Family Policy
Chairman and Ranking Minority Member, Senate Special Committee on Aging
Social Security Advisory Board
Overview of the Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) is comprised of an Office of Audit (OA), Office of Investigations (OI), Office of the Counsel to the Inspector General (OCIG), Office of External Relations (OER), and Office of Technology and Resource Management (OTRM). To ensure compliance with policies and procedures, internal controls, and professional standards, the OIG also has a comprehensive Professional Responsibility and Quality Assurance program.
Office of Audit
OA conducts financial and performance audits of the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) programs and operations and makes recommendations to ensure program objectives are achieved effectively and efficiently. Financial audits assess whether SSA’s financial statements fairly present SSA’s financial position, results of operations, and cash flow. Performance audits review the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of SSA’s programs and operations. OA also conducts short-term management reviews and program evaluations on issues of concern to SSA, Congress, and the general public.
Office of Investigations
OI conducts investigations related to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement in SSA programs and operations. This includes wrongdoing by applicants, beneficiaries, contractors, third parties, or SSA employees performing their official duties. This office serves as liaison to the Department of Justice on all matters relating to the investigation of SSA programs and personnel. OI also conducts joint investigations with other Federal, State, and local law enforcement agencies.
Office of the Counsel to the Inspector General
OCIG provides independent legal advice and counsel to the IG on various matters, including statutes, regulations, legislation, and policy directives. OCIG also advises the IG on investigative procedures and techniques, as well as on legal implications and conclusions to be drawn from audit and investigative material. Also, OCIG administers the Civil Monetary Penalty program.
Office of External Relations
OER manages OIG’s external and public affairs programs, and serves as the principal advisor on news releases and in providing information to the various news reporting services. OER develops OIG’s media and public information policies, directs OIG’s external and public affairs programs, and serves as the primary contact for those seeking information about OIG. OER prepares OIG publications, speeches, and presentations to internal and external organizations, and responds to Congressional correspondence.
Office of Technology and Resource Management
OTRM supports OIG by providing information management and systems security. OTRM also coordinates OIG’s budget, procurement, telecommunications, facilities, and human resources. In addition, OTRM is the focal point for OIG’s strategic planning function, and the development and monitoring of performance measures. In addition, OTRM receives and assigns for action allegations of criminal and administrative violations of Social Security laws, identifies fugitives receiving benefit payments from SSA, and provides technological assistance to investigations.