ELC: Feds, industry leaders hash out partnership ideas

Editor's note:This story was updated at 4:40 p.m. Nov. 3. Please go to Corrections & Clarifications to see what has changed.

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — There is no shortage of ideas in the federal information technology community about how to improve the partnership between government and industry.

A lot of ideas were presented Oct. 30 at the Executive Leadership Conference, sponsored by the American Council for Technology/Industry Advisory Council. In democratic fashion, industry and government leaders voted on their favorite suggestions and then handed the results to Paul Denett, Office of Federal Procurement Policy administrator, who sat in the front row listening to the discussion.

By overwhelming support, the audience voted to recommend improving the partnership between industry and government by fostering better communication between both parties to a contract.

“It’s all about the dialogue,” said Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Jim Williams, a member of the panel who suggested most of the recommendations to Denett. The panel convened at the conference in Williamsburg, Va.

The audience also told government officials to build into their contracts measures and metrics to hold private contractors accountable for doing their job. Attendees suggested that industry do more to help government when unforeseen problems arise with contracts. When industry recognizes dilemmas or sees solutions that will benefit the government, they should point them out, even if it decreases the contractor’s profit margin.

Afterward, Denett said he had taken the latter suggestions to heart, but said the industry-government partnership was simply common sense.

Williams said he believes government procurement officials need a strategic vision for the future of the acquisition system’s future. He also said the onus for building that vision rests with Denett.

Denett, standing to address the audience and panel, agreed. The last strategic vision was from 2001 and he signed it when he was vice chairman of the Governmentwide Procurement Executive Council and a senior procurement executive in the Office of the Secretary at the Interior Department.

He said as OFPP administrator he will work on a fresh, vintage strategy that will stretch beyond the Bush administration’s tenure.

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