IT rules

President Bush and his administration have inherited the laws and policies started under the Clinton administration. Here's a quick look at where some of the major reforms stand now.

What: The Government Performance and Results Act requires agencies to submit annual performance plans and reports that connect their program and/or systems to their intended results.

When: 1993

Status: Agencies submitted their first set of performance reports under GPRA in 2000, reflecting actions taken in fiscal 1999. The first set of reports received mixed reviews, with most agreeing that agencies are still working on linking programs to performance and measuring the correct results.

What: The Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act endorsed commercial-style competition and easing procurement through the use of multiple-award contracts. It also eliminated the maximum-order limitation on multiple-award schedule contracts and allowed the use of governmentwide acquisition contracts established by individual agencies. The act endorsed electronic procurement as the preferred method of doing business and created a statutory preference for commercial items.

When: 1994

Status: Agencies have been able to procure commercial products and services, including information technology, much faster and easier. This has enabled them to begin using technology before it goes out of date in an increasingly advanced market. Multiple-award schedule contracts, such as the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service schedules, have become some of the most popular vehicles for small purchases.

What: The Federal Acquisition Reform Act increased contracting officers' discretion in determining competition when awarding contracts. It also increased the value of the contracts that can be awarded under the Simplified Acquisition Procedures outlined in the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act to up to $5 million. It was later combined with the Information Technology Management Reform Act to become the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996.

When: 1995

Status: There has been concern in Congress and the private sector that faster procurements have meant less competition, especially for small, minority-owned and disadvantaged businesses. Several committees are considering amendments to the legislation.

What: The Information Technology Management Reform Act outlined basic commercial-style IT management practices for agencies, including IT capital planning and investment and system life-cycle management. The act created the position of agency chief information officer and repealed the Brooks Act, ending GSA's exclusive authority and allowing any agency to procure IT products and services. It also eliminated the jurisdiction of GSA's Board of Contract Appeals over IT procurement protests. It was combined with the Federal Acquisition Reform Act to become the Clinger-Cohen Act.

When: 1996

Status: Agencies have been slowly moving forward with implementing the practices outlined in ITMRA, including developing guidance and tools through the CIO Council. The Office of Management and Budget late last year folded the principles of Clinger-Cohen into its Circular A-130, the standing regulation that outlines IT management across government.

What: The Government Paperwork Elimination Act requires agencies to provide citizens with the option of accessing federal programs and services electronically — via the Internet, by phone, on a kiosk or through another medium — whenever possible by October 2003. It also provides authorization for the use of electronic signatures on electronic transactions in place of written signatures on paper transactions.

When: 1998

Status: Agencies submitted their plans with schedules for implementing the act and an inventory of which current and planned systems the act will affect. There is now a searchable database of this inventory at www.policyworks.gov/intergov/InventoryPage.cfm.

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