What is a Contractor Self Assessment, really (part 2)?
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This blog posted is contributed by Alex Barenblitt, CPPM, MBA. Alex leads the consulting practice for E-ISG Asset Intelligence on Government Property Management Business Processes
This is the second of two Blog entries on the topic of Contractor Self Assessment (CSA)? In the previous blog, I explained what they are, why they are done and the benefits of doing them. In part 2 of this topic, I want to explain the typical scope and outcome of a CSA.
First of all, who can and should do a CSA? I believe it really needs to be conducted in an unbiased manner. This means you want the staff conducting the CSA to be different, not influenced by the staff administering and managing the Property on a day-to-day basis. If you have an internal Audit function, these individuals can be trained to conduct the CSA. Alternatively, if you have multiple sites, the staff that administers and manages Property at one site can conduct the CSA at another site, so long as there is no undue influence on the staff from site to site.
If neither of these approaches is available or realistic, you should consider engaging a subcontractor or consultant to perform an independent CSA. This approach assures independence of the process and findings. If you choose this approach, either in addition to or in lieu of using unbiased employees at your organization, be sure the subcontractor or consultant has the necessary credentials and training to perform a comprehensive CSA. Look for individuals that have either NPMA (www.npma.org) certification credentials (Certified Professional Property Administrator – CPPA or Consulting Fellow – CF), or similar Defense Acquisition University (www.DAU.mil) training. Keep in mind that Government Property Management is a specific discipline. Many very well-qualified financial auditors and consultants frequently do not have this specialized training.
So what a CSA should include? A comprehensive CSA will start with an Assessment (or Audit) Plan, which will include the objectives, the parameters (locations, contracts, programs… to be included), and the methodologies to be used. This plan will also detail personnel to be used, record and physical access required, and the findings report format, as well as the destination detail for the findings report.
- A typical CSA will include a review of all policies, procedures and processes of the complete lifecycle of Government Property of all types in the custody of the Contractor – from acquisition, receipt and identification, record initiation, storage, use/consumption, maintenance and calibration, as applicable, to shipping, relief of stewardship and disposition, as applicable. The question to be answered in this part of the CSA is: if the procedures and policies are followed, will the required results be achieved?
- After the policies and procedures are reviewed for content and completeness to achieve the 10 Government Property Management System Outcomes, the CSA will verify whether staff training is effective and complete. This is often accomplished via interviews with Property Administration Staff. This part of the CSA is to determine whether the procedures are understood and followed.
- Of course a CSA should include some form of inventory accuracy test. The methodology to be used for this examination is included in the Assessment/Audit Plan, as mentioned above. This can include any one or combination of inventory approaches, from location audits to item audits, to cycle counting and “A-B-C” audits, random, statistical sampling (single or double sampling) audits, to judgment or purposeful audits, and when appropriate, a full wall-to-wall audit.
- The findings from each of these reviews and assessments are then consolidated into the form of a report that summarizes each section of the CSA process and the results. This report should include a summary of methodologies used, exhibits that include the policies, procedures and policies, the detailed listing of inventory population examined and the subset inventory used to check inventory accuracy. The CSA findings report should include the Auditor’s assessment on the adequacy of the Property Management System, as a whole, and as appropriate, the Auditor’s professional opinion on a level of risk associated with each of the findings.
If there are significant areas of risk identified, the CSA report should provide descriptions of specific areas of risks found, and recommended corrective steps, with time frames for completion if desired.
A Contractor Self Assessment, or CSA, is an important tool for government contractors to keep themselves informed about the adequacy of their Government Property Management systems. It serves as an early warning system to identify areas of risk before significant problems arise. It provides valuable information to both the Contractor and Government Oversight Authorities, in order to improve the management of Government Property. It also can result in reducing the frequency of costly Government Oversight Assessments/Audits, and also exposes opportunities for cost savings, to the benefit of the Contractor and the Government.
At E-ISG Asset Intelligence, we have a Government Property Management Business Processes Consulting practice, led by Alex Barenblitt. Alex is a certified CPPM and holds an MBA degree. He has many years of experiences in working with government contractors who support Department of Defense and other civilian agencies. Alex and his team can be engaged to provide independent third party assessment, help to respond to the Correct Action Request from government auditors and train the internal staff on policy and procedures. To inquire more about the consulting services, you can call us at 1-866-845-2416