Wednesday, May 27, 2015

DCAA Still Pushing for More Access to Employees

Yesterday we discussed an item appearing in DCAA's fiscal year 2014 Report to Congress - the Agency's desire to expand its subpoena authority to include commercial pricing or pricing based on "other than certified cost or pricing data". Today we want to look at another wish list item appearing in that report - more access to contractor employees.

DCAA strongly believes that having access to contractor employees to conduct interviews and observations is critical to ensure the high level of assurance required by GAGAS (Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards). Although access to employees for such purposes is not generally considered a significant problem, DCAA continues to find contractors arguing that the Agency's access to records does not include access to employees.

FAR 52.215-2(d) specifically gives the GAO (Government Accountability Office) rights to interview any officer or employee; however, FAR does not specifically give DCAA this right. DCAA has submitted legislative proposals to support its right of access to contractor employees and to avoid any future confusion on DCAA's ability to interview those employees. This legislative change would ensure DCAA has access to employees, which allows DCAA to conduct audits in accordance with GAGAS.

The legislative proposal was not incorporated into the FY15 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) because, as the House Armed Services Committee explained, the Agency already has authority to interview contractor employees during the course of an audit if such an interview is required to complete the audit. While DCAA agrees with that assessment, some contractors still argue that the US Code and FAR specifically gives the Comptroller General (i.e. GAO) the right to interview employees and because there is no corresponding reference to DCAA, that DCAA does not have such rights.

Therefore, DCAA still believes a change to the statute is still necessary to clarify its right to interview contractor employees. DCAA is now monitoring denials of access to employees in order to fortify its position on the next NDAA go round.

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