GSA puts contracting tool online

Seven Steps to Performance-Based Services Acquisition

The General Services Administration's Office of Acquisition Policy last week introduced a virtual performance-based contracting tool, developed as a teaching tool for this increasingly important method of acquisition.

The Web-based guide — "Seven Steps to Performance-Based Services Acquisition" — includes an introduction with an explanation of performance-based contracting written so that even employees who are not contracting officers can understand it. The guide then takes users through the seven steps:

* Establish the team.

* Describe the problem.

* Examine private-sector and public-sector solutions.

* Develop a performance work statement (PWS) or statement of objectives (SOO).

* Decide how to measure and manage performance.

* Select the right contractor.

* Manage performance.

Each of the steps contains several sub-steps, which include links to relevant policies and laws. When a particular approach or term is used, the guide also provides links to more thorough explanations, all compiled in the "seven steps library."

A links library points users to agency-specific sites on performance-based contracting.

The intent is to make the subject of performance-based acquisition accessible, according to the guide. It shifts the focus to collaborative teamwork that emphasizes performance, improvement and innovation, not simply contract compliance.

The Commerce Department first started working on the guide as an internal tool and is still the department running the guide. When the administration set several goals for the use of performance-based contracting last year, Commerce expanded the development team to include officials from GSA and the departments of Defense, Treasury and Agriculture, with the idea of making the tool available government-wide.

The Office of Management and Budget's Office of Federal Procurement Policy has encouraged agencies for many years to use performance-based contracting, especially for services acquisition. In March 2001, OMB set a goal to use performance-based contracting methods for at least 20 percent of large federal contracts.

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