Improving in-sourced jobs

Although competition should improve performance levels for work deemed not inherently governmental, many people are still concerned about the remaining services.

Part of the effort to improve agencies' performance is the Bush administration's proposed performance fund, which would provide a source for bonuses for high-performing employees, said Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

That fund would provide a good incentive, but agencies simply do not have the systems in place to adequately track performance, said David Walker, comptroller general at the General Accounting Office and chairman of the Commercial Activities Panel, which developed the recommendations for how to revise the competition guidance in OMB Circular A-76.

He suggested taking the $100 million proposed for the fund in fiscal 2004 and spreading it across several programs to raise agency capabilities:

* To provide technical and personnel assistance for overseeing and participating in competitions.

* To promote "high-performing organizations," the structure proposed by the panel to raise performance across all of government.

* To help agencies develop workforce systems that can track and measure performance.

"I think that there would be many, many winners by taking this approach," Walker said.

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