OFPP issues assessment for acquisitions

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy today issued governmentwide guidelines for agencies to evaluate and improve their acquisition operations.

Agencies will have a standardized approach for assessing their acquisition activities and then integrating their assessments with existing contract processes and practices, according to OFPP’s new guidance.

The guidance is based on Office of Management and Budget Circular A-123, a document for internal agency reviews. Although agencies won’t have to implement the new acquisition guidance in fiscal 2008, OMB is requiring it in fiscal 2009. Paul Denett, OFPP's  administrator, is requiring agencies to submit implementation plans to OFPP by the end of July.

The guidance gives agencies an assessment template to ensure their reviews address the areas that most significantly influence the acquisition process. The four areas are organizational alignment and leadership, policies and practices, human capital, and information management and stewardship.

“These analyses will give our acquisition officials and other agency stakeholders a clearer picture of what they must do to have the best acquisition structure, controls and staffing to support agency missions in a timely and cost-effective manner,” Denett said. “This is holistic. It looks at A to Z.”

The template provides a series of critical questions, cautions and successful practices to help officials identify performance gaps in the four areas, he said. For example, in the guidance regarding human capital, OFPP asks agencies if they have performance expectations for senior leaders and managers to foster collaboration in and across organizational boundaries and demonstrate a commitment to lead and facilitate change.  

Agencies are required to integrate their assessments with internal control and reporting processes established under Circular A-123. The circular provides guidance and standards for monitoring, correcting and reporting on internal control.


“Use of the template and Circular A-123 will result in better assessments of strengths and weaknesses in acquisition organizations,” Denett said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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