OFPP to turn up heat on task-order competition

ORLANDO, Fla. — In a forthcoming memo, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy plans to outline clearer guidelines for agencies to follow when awarding task orders under multiple-award contracts, OFPP Administrator Paul Denett said.

The memo, which could be released as early as next week, is likely to require agencies to seek multiple bids on task orders that cross a certain dollar threshold, said Denett, speaking at the General Services Administration Expo here.

Too often, an agency will hand a task order to a vendor figuring that the competition for the original contract was sufficient, he said. But today's multimillion-dollar task orders need more scrutiny than that, he added.

He said the memo might mirror or closely follow similar guidance issued by the Defense Department.

In addition, OFPP will remind agencies that they must appoint a competition advocate who reports annually on competitive practices. OFPP plans to rank agencies based on those reports to highlight their efforts, Denett said.

He added that Congress already values such statistics, but lawmakers have twisted the data to make a point about agencies’ lack of competition.

Although they are correct when they say the amount of money awarded through noncompetitive contracts is rising, the number of competitive deals has increased, too. The misleading information “absolutely kills us,” Denett said.

Providing Capitol Hill with good information depends on agencies entering accurate data into the Federal Procurement Data System, he added.

Denett urged agencies to make sure their information is correct because accurate data is necessary to show lawmakers that the acquisition workforce is doing a good job.

“Without that, I submit, we can’t manage,” he said.

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