Two of the agencies participating in a Small Business Administration innovation program opted to open the program to small businesses that are majority-owned by venture capital firms, says a Nov. 20 Government Accountability Office report. The Health and Human Services Department and the Energy Department opted to open part of their Small Business Innovation Research programs to small businesses that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital or similar firms, allowing such companies to apply for and receive SBIR awards, the report says.
The 2013 government shutdown impacted operations at three agencies the Government Accountability Office reviewed including closures of clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health, a recently released Oct. 15 GAO report says. GAO reviewed programs at the Health and Human Services Department, Energy Department and Transportation Department and found the October 2013 lapse in appropriations significantly hindered some programs at those agencies.
A contractor working at the Energy Department's Sandia Laboratories sought help from federal officials to receive a no-bid contract extension at the lab worth about $2.4 billion, a Nov. 7 DOE inspector general report says. The report (pdf) says Sandia Corporation, a subsidiary of Lockheed Martin that runs the lab, campaigned aggressively to convince then Energy Secretary Steven Chu to extend it's contract without any competition.
Contract management at the Energy Department continues to be a significant challenge, says an Oct. 7 DOE inspector general report. The DOE is the most contractor-dependent civilian agency in the federal government. It awards contracts, grants and other financial assistance to industrial companies, small businesses, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations.
An internal investigation found that a manager at an Energy Department office used employees and federal equipment to carry out personal tasks. In a report dated Sept. 30, DOE's inspector general states that it substantiated several claims that a site office manager committed various ethical violations.
Performance information's effect on federal managers' decision-making has remained largely unchanged in six years, according to a new report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Between 2007 and 2013, the government's overall score for using such information went from 3.46 to 3.41, the Sept. 26 report (pdf) says. It's based on the latest performance information index, which GAO uses to monitor implementation of the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 at.
The Interior Department and CIA are among several federal entities praised for their ability to engage citizens on Twitter in a new guide for good government tweeting published by the social media platform. In the handbook (pdf), Twitter credits the DOI with an account that is responsive to Twitter users.
Costs have ballooned for the Energy Department's International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor, nearly tripling since the project started in 2006, a June 5 Government Accountability Office report says. DOE estimated cost for the U.S. portion of ITER has grown by almost $3 billion, and its estimated completion date has slipped by 20 years, the report says.
The General Services Administration plans to use industry-created, open source technology to save energy and reduce costs governmentwide. In the private sector, Green Button allows commercial and residential users to download their energy usage and offers tools for saving money on electricity costs. It serves nearly 100 million people.
The Energy Department doesn't always share its research results with the public and the DOE's auditor says the problem isn't new. "The failure to obtain and disseminate the results of department-funded research has been a long standing problem that the Office of Inspector General has previously brought to management's attention," The DOE inspector general says in a May 22 report.