|Small Business Research Programs: Additional Actions Needed to Implement Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Prevention Requirements|
The 11 agencies participating in the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs have varied in their implementation of the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements developed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) after the programs were reauthorized in 2011. SBA, which oversees the programs, amended the SBIR and STTR policy directives in 2012, as required by the reauthorization act, to include 10 minimum requirements to help agencies prevent potential fraud, waste, and abuse in the programs. GAO found that the extent to which the agencies have fully implemented each of the requirements in the directives varies. For example, all 11 agencies have fully implemented 2 requirements, more than half of the agencies have fully implemented 6 other requirements, and 1 and 3 agencies, respectively, have fully implemented the remaining 2 requirements. Officials from 9 agencies told GAO they have implemented other activities beyond the minimum requirements included in the directives, such as conducting site visits to small businesses to confirm that the necessary facilities exist for technical research and development work. Although SBA issued the policy directives, it has taken few actions to oversee agencies' efforts to implement the requirements. SBA officials said they checked on the implementation of one of the requirements, but did not know whether the participating agencies were implementing the other requirements because they had not confirmed this information. Without confirming that each participating agency is implementing the fraud, waste, and abuse prevention requirements in the policy directives, SBA does not have reasonable assurance that each agency has a system in place to reduce its' vulnerability to fraud, waste, and abuse.