Lax oversight in the U.S. Postal Service's Enterprise Technology Services Program prevents the agency from tracking or measuring the operation's results, according to an inspector general's report.

The enterprise services program, created in 2009, awards four information technology service contracts — otherwise known as task orders — as a means of encouraging competition and innovation among its suppliers.

A task order is a request for an individual purchase that is part of a larger contract.

But a July 18 report by the agency inspector general says the Postal Service has no way of knowing how to make sure competition always exists in the program.

According to the report, what the post office claims is a competitive process in fact results in competitive bidding only 37 percent of the time. The IG's office does not know why 59 percent of the winning bidders won a total of $71.5 million. In addition, only 14 percent — or $5.7 million — of the task orders awarded that were deemed appropriate were actually reported as such to management.

Sixty-two of the 301 task orders called into question were for $1 million or more.

The IG said the Postal Service's responses to the IG's recommendations will help solve the problems.