The OIG performed this audit to assess VA’s compliance with executive orders, federal regulations, and VA requirements for vetting contractor employees to serve on VA contracts. If contractor employees are not vetted before working for VA, they may endanger veterans and VA employees, as well as the efficiency and integrity of VA services, government property, and VA information. The audit team found VA officials had a high rate of noncompliance. The team found that 94 percent of contract files reviewed did not include position designations establishing the investigative requirements for the contract. In addition, 90 percent did not include language to communicate vetting requirements to the contractor. Ultimately, 75 percent of employees under the contracts reviewed did not have a fingerprint check, and about 79 percent did not have a formal background investigation. Noncompliance stemmed from differences among offices concerning roles and responsibilities for the suitability program and from incorrect guidance. The Office of Human Resources and Administration/Operations, Security, and Preparedness (HRA/OSP) and the Office of Information and Technology (OIT) had outdated and conflicting or inaccurate policies on the subject. Also, the Office of Acquisition, Logistics, and Construction (OALC) directed its staff to the wrong policies. Because of long-standing disagreements between HRA/OSP and OALC concerning roles and responsibilities for personnel security, the OIG recommended the VA Deputy Secretary mediate their efforts to collaborate on developing and publishing updates to the policies and procedures for vetting contractors. The OIG further recommended the assistant secretary for HRA/OSP conduct compliance inspections at the St. Cloud VA Medical Center in Minnesota, where the OIG team found 52 percent of contractor employees (none of whom were vetted) had criminal records. The OIG also recommended OALC direct acquisition professionals to the correct policies for vetting contractor employees.
Thursday, February 8, 2024
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Report updated under NDAA 5274: