Panel sees benefits of performance-based contracting

SAN ANTONIO — The Acquisition Advisory Panel will send 10 preliminary recommendations to the Office of Management and Budget in August about performance-based acquisitions, a General Services Administration official said today.

Roger Waldron, GSA’s acting deputy chief acquisition officer, said the advisory panel, of which he is a member, approved the preliminary recommendations in March. OMB and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, however, do not have to approve the recommendations.

Waldron spoke today at the GSA Expo in San Antonio.

Panel members said they believe OMB should eliminate the governmentwide quota that requires performance-based contracts to account for 40 percent of all agency acquisitions. Instead, the expectations should be agency-specific.

They said OFPP should issue more guidance about the contracting method. Panel members found that many agencies fail to use performance-based acquisitions because they don’t know when to use it.

The panel also recommended publishing a best practices guide on standards, modifying the Federal Acquisition Regulation to identify a baseline performance for the method. The guide would also improve how agencies manage and monitor performance after a contract’s award.

Panel members said they believe OFPP should give more guidance on appropriate incentives, more training for contracting office technical representatives and more data from the Acquisition Performance Assessment Rating Tool. OFPP should also conduct a study of performance-based contracting’s challenges.

The panel said OFPP should revise the seven steps to performance-based acquisitions to reflect the panel’s recommendations.

Performance-based acquisition includes strategies and techniques focused on contracting with the end results in sight. Mirroring commercial practices, performance-based acquisitions offer incentives to contractors and benefits government with better prices and better performance from contractors.

Focusing on the desired outcome will determine the best way to get the job done, said GSA procurement analyst Michael Jackson at the expo.

Jackson said there was no information on whether OMB or OFPP will accept the recommendations.

Performance-based acquisitions require a shift in agencies’ thinking about contracting, he said, and added that the shift has been slow.

“It’s harder…but worth the results,” Jackson said, comparing it with the now widely used one-size-fits-all approach to contracting.

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