Fedwire Briefs

Gore directs agencies to use IT

The Clinton administration last week issued two executive memorandums directing federal agencies to use information technology to offer better access to services and information.

Vice President Al Gore announced the "E-Government Directive," which instructs agencies to use IT to make government information and services more accessible to the public. That includes speeding the creation of a single online portal for accessing government information; making forms for the top 500 government services available online by December 2000; and assigning agency heads public e-mail addresses.

The second memo, the "E-Society Directive," requires agencies to use IT to help improve the lives and education of U.S. citizens. This directive is focused on long-term goals, such as using technology to make it easier for parents to evaluate the performance of schools, and providing more distance-learning opportunities for people balancing work and family.

A new kind of contracting school

The first class of students graduated this month from a two-week program designed to train senior federal managers on the nuances of performance and management, rather than the nuts and bolts of the contracting process.

The General Services Administration and the CIO Council developed the Strategic and Tactical Advocates for Results program, which is designed to help managers understand new requirements such as return on investment, capital planning, performance management and investment review boards that are laid out in new laws such as the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996.

Councils propose FAR changes

Two federal acquisition councils proposed changing the Federal Acquisition Regulation to create more opportunities for all vendors. The changes would instruct contracting officers to give all bidders a fair shot at contracts worth more than $2,500 and would clarify when contracting officers should not use multiple-award contracts or identify preferred companies for contract awards.

Small businesses are expected to benefit from the changes, which were proposed Dec. 15 by the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council. Congress may be the impetus for the changes because it ordered revisions in the FAR in the 2000 Defense Authorization Act.

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