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Government Paid a Recruiting Firm $13.6 Million. It Hired 2 People

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When the labor market is tight, organizations often turn to recruiting firms to help find people to fill their open jobs. After President Donald Trump set forth new requirements for the southern border, US Customs and Border Protection had to fill thousands of jobs, so they partnered with a consulting company to get the job done, paying them $13.6 million.

Now, according to a report by NPR, a scathing report issued by the Office of the Inspector General shows that the consulting company is “nowhere near” finished with the work and “risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.”

The audit discovered that, as of October 1, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) provided Accenture Federal Services $13.6 million out of a $297 million contract. The company was tasked with recruiting and hiring 7,500 employees, ranging from Customs and Border Protection officers to Air and Marine Interdiction Agents.

After 10 months had passed – with the full contract being for five years – Accenture only ended up with “two accepted job offers.”

The inspector general is calling for immediate action in the report, which is titled, “Management Alert – CBP Needs to Address Serious Performance Issues on the Accenture Hiring Contract.”

In the report, the inspector general alleges that Accenture failed in developing an “efficient, innovative, and expertly run hiring process,” something that the firm promised to do when it was awarded the high-dollar contract. Instead, according to the probe, Accenture “relied heavily” on CBP’s current resources, hiring processes, and experts during all of its recruiting activities.

“We are concerned that CBP may have paid Accenture for services and tools not provided,” says the report. “Without addressing the issues we have identified, CBP risks wasting millions of taxpayer dollars on a hastily approved contract that is not meeting its proposed performance expectations.”

The report also asserts that CBP worked diligently to accommodate Accenture’s needs.

When it became clear that Accenture would not make a 90-day deadline for reaching the “full operation phase,” CBP offered a contract modification to give them a three-month extension. They also granted Accenture access to the CBP applicant tracking system when Accenture neglected to deploy one of their own.

By making the accommodations, CBP staff remained a “significant portion of the hiring operations.”

In a statement, a spokeswoman for Accenture said the company remains “focused on fulfilling our client’s expectations under our contract,” but declined to comment further.

Additionally, Henry Moak, a senior official with CBP, disputes the findings of the inspector general, claiming that Accenture successfully “created a hiring structure, tailored technology solutions to support and manage the hiring process,” adding that the company has “recruited thousands of new applicants.”

Moak also asserts that the contract modifications were at the request of CBP because the adjustments “offered better overall efficiency in our mutual hiring activities.”

However, CBP did ultimately agree with the OIG report’s recommendations, saying in a statement, “While we take some exception to the OIG’s characterization of the contract, we do agree the contract has been a challenge, primarily due to the innovative efforts by both parties and we are reviewing how best to use it moving forward.”