OMB: List outsource possibilities

A top-ranking Office of Management and Budget official told industry representatives last week that he plans to ask members of the President's Management Council this month to develop a list of duties performed by government that might be outsourced to the private sector.

The list, which is part of agencies' compliance with OMB Circular A-76, could cover functions from data center operations to special software development projects. Federal agencies and industry then would compete for the work.

The circular, which has been in effect since 1983, calls on agencies to limit performing commercial activities that may go beyond an agency's core mission. In recent years, as agencies have awarded contracts to other agencies to work on such tasks as data processing, industry has complained that the federal government has ignored the policy. Industry representatives this year renewed a push on Capitol Hill for legislation that would mandate outsourcing of government functions that were not "inherently governmental," which include services ranging from landscaping to data processing.

Speaking last week before a conference sponsored by the Professional Services Council (PSC) industry group, Edward DeSeve, OMB's acting deputy director for management, said the A-76 process is working, and he cited the Defense Department's outsourcing of 150,000 full-time positions in recent years as proof. "Why did they do it? To save money," said DeSeve, who pegged DOD's savings at $6.4 billion.

By listing inherently nongovernmental services that could be put up for competition, the government could get "the best deal for the taxpayer," DeSeve said. "We're going to make sure that [agencies] follow DOD's lead."

DeSeve expects agencies to have their lists completed by the end of October, after which industry can offer comments.

Nevertheless, industry and some members of Congress plan to push ahead with legislation to force agencies to give up work that is not considered governmental. "OMB is not in a position to enforce [A-76] even if they chose to," said Sen. Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.). Thomas is the sponsor of a Senate bill that would require federal organizations to compete with the private sector for inherently nongovernmental duties.

Some industry groups want changes in the bill. Bert Concklin, president of PSC, said his organization does not believe public/private competition is the solution but more of a stepping stone to complete outsourcing of all nongovernmental functions. If government competes with industry, it could create conflicts of interest.

Featured

  • Telecommunications
    Stock photo ID: 658810513 By asharkyu

    GSA extends EIS deadline to 2023

    Agencies are getting up to three more years on existing telecom contracts before having to shift to the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions vehicle.

  • Workforce
    Shutterstock image ID: 569172169 By Zenzen

    OMB looks to retrain feds to fill cyber needs

    The federal government is taking steps to fill high-demand, skills-gap positions in tech by retraining employees already working within agencies without a cyber or IT background.

  • Acquisition
    GSA Headquarters (Photo by Rena Schild/Shutterstock)

    GSA to consolidate multiple award schedules

    The General Services Administration plans to consolidate dozens of its buying schedules across product areas including IT and services to reduce duplication.

Stay Connected

FCW Update

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.