Report 94015 Summary - September 1995

State Departments: Many Do Not Comply With Consultant Contract Requirements

Results in Brief

Departments do not always adhere to the requirements of the California Public Contract Code and other state regulations that apply to consultant contracts. In fact, we found significant areas of noncompliance.

Our review of 19 state departments found that:

55 percent of the 1,688 consultant contracts awarded were sole source;

Not all consultant contracts provide adequate documentation to justify the cost of solesourcing;

Several departments' annual reports for consulting contracts failed to disclose required information, such as the type of bidding used or the justification for solesourcing;

Certain departments did not always adhere to legal requirements for consultant contracts, such as approval prior to commencement of work, reviewing credentials of potential contractors, and providing contractor evaluations after completion of work; and

Faithful performance bonds were not always obtained from contractors as required for certain electronic data processing (EDP) or telecommunication goods and service contracts.

Further, the Department of General Services (DGS) did not ensure that departments complete internal audits of their contracting programs and submit reports to DGS as required.

Finally, we found that California State University (CSU):

Specifically, we reviewed 19 state departments' annual reports of their consultant contracts and found that some failed to indicate the type of bidding used for certain contracts. The annual reports did not always meet the requirement to identify solesource contracts. In addition, 8 departments either did not submit a fiscal year 199394 annual report, as required, or submitted it late to DGS.

A total of 12 solesource contracts in our sample from 6 departments did not have adequate documentation to justify the contract costs. We also found that 23 contracts from 12 departments did not have the necessary approval before work began.

Eight departments failed to review prior evaluations of contractors before approving 22 contracts in our sample. Six departments did not prepare prompt postevaluations for 6 of the contracts reviewed. Two departments failed to obtain performance bonds from contractors when making progress payments on certain types of contracts for EDP or telecommunication goods and services.

Finally, DGS did not ensure that two departments met all of the conditions to retain the contracting authority that was delegated to them.

DGS is responsible for providing administrative oversight of state departments entering into consultant contracts to ensure they comply with applicable state laws and regulations. However, DGS is not responsible for providing this type of administrative oversight to CSU.

We reviewed four contracts at CSU that were not competitively bid. None of the contracts contained sufficient evidence to indicate that they were exempt from the competitive bidding requirements. Further, one of the four did not have the necessary approval before contract work began.


State departments should:

The Department of General Services should:

California State University should:

Agency Comments

In its response to this report, the DGS states that it has a firm commitment to provide efficient and effective oversight of the State's consultant contracting program. As a part of its continuing efforts to improve policies over this program, the DGS will take appropriate actions to address the issues presented in the report.

Twelve of the 19 departments whose contracts we reviewed also responded to this report. The Chancellor of the California State University also provided a response to the report. These departments and the California State University generally concur with the findings and recommendations of the report and have agreed to take corrective action.