The mission of the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) is to provide opportunities, technical assistance, and financial services to the small business community. OSDBU maintains 13 Centers nationwide that serve as stewards for OSDBU’s Bonding Education Program and the Women and Girls in Transportation Initiative. In addition, the Centers provide assistance to applicants seeking to participate in OSDBU’s Short Term Lending Program and offer free business coaching, technical workshops, and information on procurement opportunities. Given the important role the Centers play in helping the Department meet its mission, we initiated this audit to assess OSDBU’s oversight of its Centers. Accordingly, our audit objectives were to assess OSDBU’s (1) processes for establishing the Centers and (2) oversight of the Centers’ compliance with cooperative agreements and achievement of program objectives.
Overall, we found that OSDBU lacks a defined framework for establishing, renewing, and managing its Centers. In addition, OSDBU lacks effective processes for overseeing and managing Center performance and financial resources; we found $69,312 in questioned costs and $1,168,907 in funds put to better use. OSDBU concurred with our 10 recommendations to improve OSDBU’s management and oversight of its Centers.