OFPP to study interagency contracting

HERSHEY, Pa. -- The Office of Federal Procurement Policy will make interagency contracting a key issue in 2006, along with strategic sourcing, said Robert Burton, OFPP's associate administrator.

Burton said he is organizing a working group that will coordinate with the Services Acquisition Reform Act panel that OFPP created earlier this year. Interagency contracting, in which agencies use contracts held by other agencies, is potentially rewarding to the government but also risky.

"It makes a lot of sense, no doubt about it," Burton said, speaking at the Industry Advisory Council's Executive Leadership Conference, under way in Hershey, Pa. "But there's no question there are weaknesses."

OFPP created the SARA panel earlier this year to examine interagency contracting and other issues. To avoid duplicated effort, the working group that Burton is forming will serve to implement the panel's recommendations. He said he wants the panel to meet by the end of this year and to be in full swing by 2006.

"This is going to be one of our highest priorities in 2006," he said.

OFPP is working with the Defense Acquisition University and the Federal Acquisition Institute to develop training modules for interagency contracting, he said.

Interagency contracting is an element of strategic sourcing, which is another OFPP priority, he said. A May memo put new emphasis on strategic sourcing--broadly defined as finding ways to make the most of the government's buying power--although it is not a new idea.

Agencies submitted suggestions for commodities that could be bought at better value, as requested in the May memo, Burton said. OFPP is examining its submissions to identify possibilities for governmentwide initiatives.

"We're putting a renewed focus on it," he said. "We're asking agencies to institutionalize strategic sourcing for the first time."

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