GSA schedules a place for HR line of business

Agencies should expect more provider choices by the summer

In a move that underscores how the Human Resources Line of Business is maturing, the General Services Administration will establish a place on its HR schedule for commercial shared-services providers.

GSA plans to release a statement of objectives next month, and name private-sector providers by the summer.

Under an agreement with the Office of Personnel Management, GSA plans to expand the existing 738x schedule, said Norm Enger, OPM’s director of the Human Resources Line of Business Program Management Office.

The schedule already comprises contractors for human resources services and investigative and reporting services for Equal Employment Opportunity compliance.
“Plans are to complete the selection of private-sector HR LOB shared-services centers by summer 2007,” he said.

The Federal Acquisition Service will administer the procurement.

“OPM will facilitate the competition, while GSA will manage the schedule,” said another federal official familiar with the initiative, who requested anonymity.
The Human Resources Line of Business, led by OPM, is designed to improve business processes, standardize services and reduce costs.

“The MOU is a big piece,” said Karen Evans, the Office of Management and Budget’s administrator for e-government and IT, at a recent event on the FM LOB in Washington. “It [was] trying to sort out the roles and responsibilities for OPM and GSA.”

The schedule also could provide an approach for other lines of business, such as for financial management.

The HR LOB is more advanced than other consolidation initiatives. Requirements are standard and documented, leaving agencies with few other needs, said Jeff Koch, OMB’s Internal Efficiency and Effectiveness e-government portfolio manager.

“The HR LOB had the most mature and complete enterprise architecture of any of our initiatives and is a good example for people to look at because they make it real,” he said in a separate interview with GCN (see story, Page 34).

As the GSA schedule become available, agencies also will have more choices instead of going through a more complicated RFP process.

Under the HR LOB schedule, vendors will perform services to certain governmental minimum standards, said Robert Lam, an executive director at Accenture LLP of Reston, Va.

GSA will release a statement of objectives in early February as a heads-up to industry and an RFP in mid to late March, said John Sindelar, GSA’s soon-to-be-retired associate administrator of the Office of Governmentwide Policy.

OMB has named five agencies to provide shared services: the Treasury, Defense and Health and Human Services departments, the Interior Department’s National Business Center and the Agriculture Department’s National Finance Center.

“We’re seeing a lot of activity in this area [HR LOB],” Lam said.

For example, the Labor Department recently released an RFP for a public or private shared-services provider to replace its current HR and payroll systems with integrated applications.

Unlike the HR LOB, federal officials still are trying to figure out the best way of proceeding with the Financial Management Line of Business.

“It could very well be similar to HR LOB. I’m not sure that the FM LOB acquisitions plan has been documented or brought to fruition. It’s not quite as far along as the HR LOB,” Lam said.

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