SARA Panel wants better reporting

The Acquisition Advisory Panel said Aug. 11 it has made recommendations focused on data collection and transparency in the competitive process.

The panel said it wants to conduct studies concerning interagency data on awards of contracts, grants and agreements through a Web-accessible database that the public can search, according to a press release.

It also recommended requiring that the reports the Federal Data Procurement System-Next Generation creates for the panel should be made available for scrutiny, and it wants to correct reporting flaws. Moreover, officials need to reiterate how important it is that workers use good data to get accurate information for the reports, the panel said.

The Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 created the panel, which is often called the SARA Panel. Its recommendations concern the purchase of commercial services.

The panel also discussed a joint statement from a group of trade associations that condemned its changes to procurement rules. The trade groups believe the panel’s suggestions would erase 10 years of procurement reforms.

Panel chairwoman Marcia Madsen said the group’s comments were in agreement with the panel’s approach to strengthening competition.

The trade groups say the proposed changes “would add time and expense to government agencies’ efforts to buy private-sector solutions and support, and would make the procurement process less flexible.”

The result of the proposals would be a procurement process that is less efficient, effective and fair, according to the group’s statement.

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