SSA employees win A-76 study

Circular A-76

Thirty-six Social Security Administration employees retained their software testing and validation jobs after a study determined that a contractor could not do the work at a lower cost.

It was the first study conducted at SSA under the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76, which outlines a process for determining if commercial activities of federal agencies should be outsourced to the private sector. OMB is pressuring agencies to move ahead with competitive sourcing studies.

"It is no surprise to me that SSA has proven it is capable of providing the most efficient service with the best value," SSA Commissioner Jo Anne Barnhart said in a statement.

Because fewer than 65 jobs were at stake, SSA used a simplified method for the study. The cost of the software validation unit was compared to the costs of four existing contracts for similar services. The SSA in-house unit was about one-third less expensive than the least costly contract service, spokesman Andy Hardwick said.

Under the streamlined A-76 process, the SSA unit did not have to trim its operations to be competitive. No one lost a job in the process, Hardwick said.

The agency has two more A-76 studies under way, one for the help desk in the Office of Systems and one for facilities maintenance in the Office of Finance, Assessment and Management, he said. Both studies are due to be completed in June 2004.

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