OMB releases A-76 draft revisions

Proposed revisions to Circular A-76

The Office of Management and Budget on Nov. 14 released its long-awaited draft revisions to Circular A-76, the policy that outlines how the public and private sectors compete for commercial-like government functions.

The draft takes a process that people in government and industry hate and changes it to a process that contracting officers are more familiar with, said Angela Styles, administrator for OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

"We are creating an easy, fair and well-understood process," Styles said.

Following recommendations from the General Accounting Office's Commercial Activities Panel, the new process is based on the Federal Acquisition Regulation, the policy for conducting commercial acquisitions.

Increasing competition between the public and private sectors to perform government services is a key part of the President's Management Agenda, and the Bush administration often cites the statistic that competition leads to a 30 percent cost savings, no matter who wins.

By using a process that agency acquisition employees are already familiar with, OMB expects that more competitions will happen and that agencies will end up getting better value for the services they need, Styles said.

"We want to focus our agencies on the missions of our agencies...and a key management tool for doing that is through public-private competition," she said.

While the draft still allows for the low-cost evaluations that A-76 originally was designed for, it also starts to use the FAR processes to manage best-value competitions. Information technology is one of the key areas in which this process will be used, Styles said.

One important change in the draft is to make federal offerors in a best-value competition just another offeror. If a federal proposal does not measure up to proposals from the private sector, a contracting officer can leave the federal offer out of the final decision, Styles said.

It also means that a winning public-sector offeror enters into a "binding performance agreement" that functions just like a contract, with base years and option years, an overseeing contracting officer, and the possibility that the option years will not be exercised if the performance is not up to par.

"If you're not performing, you're not going to get the option year, and [the function] will go back out for competition," Styles said.

Federal employee unions and industry representatives may still have concerns, but agency officials who are working to comply with the White House's competitive sourcing goals and management score cards "have been waiting with bated breath for this," Styles said.

"There are people banging down my door most days to get this new process," she said.

The draft will be available for comment for 30 days, although OMB does not yet have a goal for when the final circular will be finished, Styles said.

Featured

  • Congress
    Rep. Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) at the Hack the Capitol conference Sept. 20, 2018

    Jim Langevin's view from the Hill

    As chairman of of the Intelligence and Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee of the House Armed Services Committe and a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, Rhode Island Democrat Jim Langevin is one of the most influential voices on cybersecurity in Congress.

  • Comment
    Pilot Class. The author and Barbie Flowers are first row third and second from right, respectively.

    How VA is disrupting tech delivery

    A former Digital Service specialist at the Department of Veterans Affairs explains efforts to transition government from a legacy "project" approach to a more user-centered "product" method.

  • Cloud
    cloud migration

    DHS cloud push comes with complications

    A pressing data center closure schedule and an ensuing scramble to move applications means that some Homeland Security components might need more than one hop to get to the cloud.

Stay Connected

FCW INSIDER

Sign up for our newsletter.

I agree to this site's Privacy Policy.