Policy changes 'clean house'

The changes to federal procurement policy that the Bush administration plans to release in the next month could significantly affect how agencies acquire information technology products and services and must be carefully examined, experts say.

The long-awaited draft revisions to the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76, which sets the rules for comparing the cost of government services with those of the private sector, should be issued any day now, Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said Sept. 19.

The revisions come from an interagency task force and are expected to support many of the recommendations from the Commercial Activities Panel, a group of public- and private-sector representatives. Those recommendations, published earlier this year, include basing the competition process more on the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), which is used to ensure best-value procurement of commercial products and services.

"I think we've cleaned house," Styles said at the Homeland Security Tech Expo in Washington, D.C. The changes will "ensure that public/private-sector competition in the government is vigorous."

Government officials have been tight-lipped about the revisions, so the October release in the Federal Register will likely be the first time people outside government will get to see the changes.

But certain basic tests can determine whether the revisions will be what the panel called for, said Stan Soloway, a panel member and president of the Professional Services Council.

These include whether all bidders for a service — from industry and the government — are evaluated on the same criteria and granted the same protest rights, said Soloway, also former deputy undersecretary for acquisition reform at the Defense Department.

In the end, the changes should not prescribe an overly detailed process, or the FAR's value will be lost, he said. "The key here is not to be prescriptive, because the FAR provides you with the general process in regard to best value."

The A-76 process is the easiest way for agencies to comply with the competitive sourcing goals defined in the President's Management Agenda. By the end of fiscal 2003, each agency must put out for bid at least 15 percent of the government functions deemed to be commercial-like activities.

OFPP working groups also have been focusing on other issues, including competition for small businesses under the contract-bundling process and new guidelines for developing and managing performance-based service contracts.

Some lawmakers and many in the small-business community are concerned that contract bundling could hinder the ability of small businesses to compete for contracts they otherwise would be more likely to win.

OFPP has been developing recommendations for President Bush about potentially unbundling existing contracts, and those recommendations are "close to ready," Styles said. One of the last steps is to have final talks with DOD to ensure agreement across the board, she added.

However, DOD, which does the most bundling, released its internal guidance in this area less than a year ago, Soloway pointed out. Officials may do more harm than good if they try to change the basics of contract bundling now, he said.

"It's no surprise that you've seen no behavioral change in the community," he said. "They've only gotten the rules in the last few months."

Performance-based service contracting is on the rise, as agencies move toward awarding more service contracts and outsourcing more back-office functions.

The performance-based service contracting recommendations are in the final review stage within OFPP. It's unclear whether agencies will see them before their release for public comment.

The revisions can only help, because the current recommendations are almost 10 years old, said Chip Mather, senior vice president of Acquisition Solutions Inc. and a former Air Force procurement executive. "I see only good coming out of it," he said.

***

Rethinking policy

Bush administration officials are considering three changes to federal procurement policy:

* Revisions to Circular A-76 — Expected to include many of the changes recommended by the Commercial Activities Panel earlier this year, including basing the competition process more closely on the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

* Guidelines for contract bundling — Will seek to increase the chances for small businesses to win contracts, possibly by limiting contract bundling or unbundling existing contracts.

* Recommendations for performance-based service contracting — Will direct agencies in how to use this increasingly important contracting method, which focuses on solutions provided by the private sector.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.