Audit of the Department of Family and Support Services’ Strategic Contracting

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted an audit of the Department of Family and Support Services’ (DFSS) Strategic Contracting process for selecting delegate agencies. The objective of the audit was to determine whether DFSS’ contracting processes align with outcomes-based goals, and also in line with the Department’s Commitment to Outcomes, of which its Strategic Contracting process is a part.

OIG concluded that DFSS’ Strategic Planning and Impact division’s involvement in developing requests for proposal (RFPs) and evaluation tools—critical steps in the Strategic Contracting process—helps align those steps with the Commitment to Outcomes. However, OIG also determined that there is room for improvement. The division could provide more guidance for the evaluation of RFP applications. In addition, RFPs, evaluation tools, and contracts could be improved if the division ensured the inclusion of the Commitment to Outcomes’ key elements.

DFSS developed RFPs, tools for evaluating RFP applications, and contracts that largely align with the Commitment to Outcomes, but the Department could strengthen its process by ensuring the inclusion of key elements that match the Commitment to Outcomes. Moreover, RFP application evaluators inconsistently applied scoring guidance.

OIG recommends that DFSS develop procedures to ensure that it includes the key elements of the Commitment to Outcomes in all future RFPs, evaluation tools, and contracts, and that evaluators consistently score applications according to the Department’s scoring guidance. OIG also recommends that DFSS ensure that all divisions share an understanding of outcomes-based goals, outcome metrics, and the key elements of the Commitment to Outcomes. To assist in fulfilling these recommendations, the Strategic Planning and Impact division could provide additional guidance across the phases of the Strategic Contracting process.

In response to OIG’s audit findings and recommendations, DFSS stated that it would continue to provide guidance and training on the Commitment to Outcomes to program divisions through the Strategic Planning and Impact division. The Department will also continue to provide guidance and procedures to help divisions include relevant and appropriate elements in RFPs, evaluation tools, and related contracts. Finally, DFSS stated that it will improve the scoring guidance it provides to evaluators.