DHS to scrutinize service contracts

The Homeland Security Department is conducting mandatory reviews of all new professional services contracts over $1 million in value, including renewals of existing contracts, officials announced. They want to ensure that the contracts are not  being awarded for inherently governmental functions, the jobs that only federal employees should perform.

The additional review "adds a new level of rigor to the DHS contracting process,” officials wrote.

The new procedure is among several initiatives to improve efficiency at the department that began in March.

Among the efficiency review initiatives, DHS is moving to acquire enterprise software licenses, track fleet usage electronically and redeploy refurbished IT equipment, said DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

Also, the department is conducting an assessment of all full-time and part-time employees and contractors to improve management.

Over the next 60 days, the department will begin increasing usage of blanket purchase agreements for office supplies, implementing energy efficiencies at DHS facilities and standardizing and consolidating employee trainings and orientations.

Cost savings achieved through the efficiency review initiatives in fiscal 2009 include:

--Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimates it will recover more than $1.7 million by reducing the number of conferences it holds, and using government facilities for them. ICE said it will save $93,000 by reducing printing and distribution of its annual report.

--The Transportation Security Administration will convert its workforce satisfaction survey to Web-based delivery use its in-house resources to create it, to save $111,000.

--Customs and Border Protection and ICE have introduced voluntary conversion of bi-weekly leave and earnings statements from paper to online, generating $250,000 in savings annually.

--Office of the Inspector General will reduce training and planning activities to save $66,000.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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