What’s going on?
The government has many ways to measure contractors, especially as agencies rely more heavily on their work. Congress and the Bush administration have introduced measures to watch what companies are doing.
Here are the latest developments:
- Lawmakers have introduced several bills that deal with contractor performance. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) both proposed creating a Web-based database to post information about contractors’ fines and penalties related to federal contracting. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) proposed a bill to expand the information posted on USAspending.gov, a government-run public Web site. The proposal would disclose contractor performance data.
- Earned value management, a management tool, is gaining ground in federal contracting as a metric for assessing contractor performance. Although officials have found EVM is not always used properly, it is a valuable addition to federal managers’ toolkits in assessing whether programs are meeting cost and schedule projections, experts say.
- President Bush’s performance rating initiative, the Program Assessment Rating Tool, is entering its anticipated final weeks on ExpectMore.gov.
Some experts say they hope it gets a second life in a modified form under the next president. Procurement experts praise the emphasis the tool has brought to performance metrics, but many see it as a political hot potato.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.