Audit: Georgia agencies should improve prepaid card vendor monitoring

(The Center Square) – Georgia’s Department of Human Services and Department of Labor should improve their monitoring systems for prepaid card vendors, a new state audit concluded.

The findings are from the Georgia Department of Audits & Accounts, which “found neither agency sufficiently monitored its vendor to ensure performance met contractual expectations.”

“While its contract includes specific performance standards, DHS has not ensured the vendor addressed deficiencies when they occurred,” the audit concluded. “GDOL’s contract did not include sufficient terms or required reporting necessary to establish an adequate monitoring system.”

According to the audit, the state distributed many government benefits via prepaid cards through a contract with an external vendor during the COVID-19 pandemic. The audit explored the two departments and how well they monitored the prepaid card vendors as they administered some of the largest government benefit programs using prepaid cards, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families.

The audit found Department of Human Services’ contract terms “clearly communicate” expectations and established a system for monitoring and addressing poor performance. While the agency assigned staff to monitor the contract, the data used to monitor did not always align with the contract’s performance standard requirements.

“Georgia DHS sincerely appreciates our partnership with Georgia DOAA to better serve our clients, and we will work to incorporate the audit’s recommendations into daily procedures and future contract cycles,” the agency said in a statement to The Center Square.

Further audit findings show that Department of Labor’s contract does not include provisions for a “sufficient contract monitoring system” or “measurable performance standards” that “clearly communicate agency expectations or required reporting that would demonstrate compliance with these standards.”

“GDOL has also not assigned staff to assess performance prior to renewing the contract,” the audit found. “As a result, it has continued to renew the contract without understanding whether the vendor performed satisfactorily.”

The Center Square sought and was unable to reach the Department of Labor for comment.

By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor

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