Review of GWAC plans sought

Accenture study

Rep. Tom Davis has asked the General Accounting Office to review plans to overhaul the structure of two agencies that offer governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs).

Davis wants to know how the Federal Technology Service and Federal Supply Service would operate under the General Services Administration's planned reorganization, according to Melissa Wojciak, staff director of the Government Reform Committee's Technology and Procurement Policy Subcommittee. Davis (R-Va.) is chairman of the subcommittee.

"The congressman doesn't believe that simply saying there are too many GWACs is the right answer," Wojciak said. "Mr. Davis would like a better understanding of where there are redundancies and how services — contract vehicles that each service offers — can be packaged to serve agencies."

GSA has been evaluating whether its current information technology vehicles offer the best value and whether FTS and FSS have overlapping services, creating inefficiencies and driving prices up.

"There is confusion about what should go to FTS and what should go to FSS... and if there are more efficient ways to serve their customer base," Wojciak said. She said Davis also is concerned that the reorganization would not touch FTS' telecommunications vehicle — one of its main contract offerings.

GSA was supposed to come up with a new proposal by Dec. 17, but Davis' request for a GAO review may delay it. GSA officials declined to comment on the plan.

In fiscal 2001, FSS provided agencies with $22 billion worth of products and services, including $11 billion related to information technology. In that same period, FTS provided $6 billion in products and services relating to telecommunications, IT systems, information security and integrated technology.

A study released in April by Accenture found that FSS and FTS have overlapping services in IT sales and marketing and IT contract offerings.

"The GSA model basically works," the study said. "GSA essentially has the right mix of products and services necessary to serve federal customers. However, there are opportunities to improve service to customers and to address inefficiencies that increase costs for industry partners."

The report recommended combining and realigning several areas, including market research, marketing, sales and contract development, and maintenance.

"There's always going to be a good role for GWAC contracts to play in government. No one wants to see there be a single point of entry to the federal market, not contractors, not buyers," said Larry Allen, executive director of the Coalition for Government Procurement, a Washington, D.C., industry group.

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