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Audit Report: IG-0898

November 20, 2013

Contract Awards to Small Businesses Under the Mentor-Protégé Program

The goal of the Department of Energy's Mentor-Protégé Program is to provide an opportunity for eligible small businesses to receive developmental assistance in business and technical areas.  The Department utilizes the Program to increase the participation of small businesses as prime contractors, as well as subcontractors to prime contractors.  During calendar years 2010, 2011 and 2012, the Department had over 100 mentor-protégé agreements in place. 

Our audit disclosed that the Department had not always effectively managed the Program.  Specifically, we identified 13 protégés that, prior to entering the program, appeared to possess the capabilities typically developed by small businesses through participation in the Program.    Additionally, we identified six mentor-protégé agreements with durations that appeared excessive.  Further, we identified four protégés that successfully graduated from the Program at one Department site and subsequently entered into mentor-protégé agreements at other sites.

These issues occurred because the Department did not have an adequate control structure in place for effective oversight of the Program.  Specifically, the Department lacked sufficient policies to assist mentors in the solicitation and selection of protégés, did not monitor the progress of each protégé throughout the duration of the agreement, and did not maintain an adequate tracking system to accurately account for all protégés.  Management concurred with the report's recommendations and identified planned actions that are responsive to our recommendations.

Topic: Management & Administration