Since the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued its Recommendations to Strengthen the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ Oversight of Federal Contractors’ Nondiscrimination Compliance in July 2016, OFCCP has taken steps to implement its recommendations. And now, the GAO has issued a progress report evaluating OFCCP’s actions toward the 2016 recommendations.
The GAO’s progress report provides insight into both OFCCP’s past and future actions that often occur outside of public view. Looking backward, the GAO concluded that OFCCP has successfully implemented changes to address the following recommendations:
- Make changes to the current scheduling list distribution process so that it addresses changes in human capital and does not rely exclusively on geographic location.
- Review outreach and compliance assistance efforts and identify options for improving information provided to federal contractors and workers to enhance their understanding of nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements to ensure equal employment opportunities for protected workers.
- Assess existing contractor guidance for clarity to ensure that contractors have information that helps them better understand their responsibilities regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements to ensure equal employment opportunities for protected workers
Yet, the GAO found that OFCCP fell short in meeting three other of its 2016 recommendations:
- Make changes to the contractor scheduling list development process so that compliance efforts focus on those contractors with the greatest risk of not following equal employment opportunities and affirmative action requirements.
- Develop a mechanism to monitor affirmative action plan from covered federal contractors on a regular basis. Such a mechanism could include electronically collected AAPs and contractor certification of annual updates.
- Provide timely and uniform training to new staff, as well as provide continued training opportunities to assist compliance officers in maintaining a level of competence to help ensure quality and consistency of evaluations across regions and district offices.
The report also includes additional guidance for OFCCP to continue its implementation of the 2016 recommendations. For example, to continue to refine its selection methodology to reduce the impact of its prior methodology and to evaluate how the Voluntary Enterprise-wide Review Program (VERP) may impact the pool of contractors for selection.
But perhaps most surprising is the disclosure in the report that OFCCP is poised to issue a request that OMB approve that contractors submit their AAPs annually to OFCCP. According to the GAO,
OFCCP has contracted with an information technology vendor to develop a web-based portal to allow contractors to upload their AAPs electronically for convenience, increased compliance, and for OFCCP review.
According to the report, the Agency intends to announce this technology by September 30, 2019. The report also states
OFCCP has developed the necessary information collection request to obtain approval from OMB to collect all contractors’ AAPs annually. The agency anticipates that OMB approval will be timely to align with completion of the AAP portal.
The details of this are still unknown, but September 30 is fast approaching, as those of you with EEO-1 Component 2 filing obligations are well aware. We will be sure to provide updates as we learn more.