OMB to guide agencies on financial management LOB

The Office of Management and Budget will furnish guidance by the end of this month or in early January 2006 to help agencies determine how they should select a federal provider of financial-management services, an Office of Management and Budget official said yesterday.

The guidance aims to encourage agencies to participate in the financial management Line of Business initiative. Under the Lines of Business Consolidation initiative, when agencies have to replace existing financial systems they would be required to consider federal and industry financial-management centers of excellence.

OMB has designated four agencies as financial-management centers of excellence: the General Services Administration, the Transportation Department, the Interior Department’s National Business Center and the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Public Debt.

“If they’re going to select a [federal] center of excellence, agencies want to know how they should do that,” said Jeff Koch, OMB’s e-government portfolio manager, at a presentation sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council in Washington.

OMB, which has received such requests, can supply an example to the individual agency or pair it up with another agency for direction, he said.

The guidance will advise agencies on how to structure a request for proposals to allow competition on a level playing field between private and public offerors.

“When agencies put out a request for proposals for commercial entities, that competition is governed by the FAR [Federal Acquisition Regulations], but the FAR doesn’t apply to federal agencies competing among themselves,” he said.

The government will not decide who in industry is a center of excellence, but through the competitive process who meets the agencies' requirements at the best value.

The Labor Department has released an RFP for a service provider to help Labor become a center of excellence under the financial management Line of Business.

Labor expects to award the contract, which would have a one-year base period and four one-year options, by Dec. 31, 2006. Proposals are due Dec. 15.

The provider would operate the Labor Executive Accountability Program (LEAP), an Oracle-based core financial-management system the agency hopes will provide a more analytical view of how it spends its money. LEAP is still under development.

The provider, which will host, manage, support, operate, maintain and enhance Labor’s financial-management system, can be a federal agency Center of Excellence, an industry contractor or a public-private partnership. As a Center of Excellence, the winning offeror may potentially host other users in the future, the posting added.

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