A new way to get a good deal
Justice is the latest agency to compete for its own work
Performance Work Statement
The Justice Department is looking for a new way to save money by creating a team of government and industry partners to bid on the department’s contract proposals.
Following the lead of several other agencies, Justice is the latest department to throw its hat into the Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-76 ring, which governs competitive sourcing. Justice has created a new team of federal employees called the Justice Award Winning Solutions (JAWS).
The team wants to win a contract to provide services that support parts of the department’s Office of the Chief Information Officer, according to a request for information.
Designated a most efficient organization by OMB, JAWS wants help developing a proposal to provide infrastructure, operational and security support services for parts of the office’s Operations Services Staff based on requirements outlined in a draft performance work statement.
Interested parties have until March 20 to submit their written responses.
Justice is following the Energy Department’s lead in using A-76 to create a public/private team to win a federal contract. In July 2005, DOE became the first to use such a partnership to win a competitive sourcing deal in which vendors compete against a federal team to deliver the most cost-effective deal.
“From our perspective, this has worked very well,” said Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement. “People have concerns about contractors working side by side with government workers. If you are going to conduct business today, that is the model you will see.”
Competitive sourcing has been around since the 1970s, but only since OMB revised Circular A-76 in 2003 have departments decided to take a serious look at how to save money using the plan.
It appears to be working, said Alan Chvotkin, senior vice president of the Professional Services Council. “Those numbers change when the dollar value of the opportunity goes up,” he said. But “when you are competing function to function, body to body, small numbers, little competition, overwhelmingly the government wins.”
Trey Hodgkins, director of defense programs at the Information Technology Association of America, said A-76 competitions in the past were bad for business because most of the contracts were won by in-house federal teams.
“From the industry’s perspective, it was becoming a disappointing situation,” Hodgkins said. “The reality has become that the risks far outweighed the assurances [that] you could win a contract.”
But now that an agency’s in-house team can partner with a contractor, the outcome has been different.
“The feedback is that everyone likes the arrangement,” Hodgkins said.