Acquisition official: 'Don't chill the dialogue' with industry

The Federal Acquisition Regulation and the Obama administration's policies give contracting officers “a bit of cover” when they decide to interact with industry in the early phases of an acquisition, a senior procurement official said Dec. 1, according to a report in Government Executive.

During a panel discussion hosted by the Congressional Smart Contracting Caucus, Lesley Field, soon to be the acting administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said industry has a lot of information to aid agencies in their acquisitions.

Nevertheless, contracting officers often fear a misstep that causes a losing bidder to protest a contract award. Despite that, “there is no need to chill the dialogue,” she said.

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Reader comments

Mon, Dec 5, 2011 SPMayor Summit Point, WV

I am of the opinion a very important element in this whole dialogue is being overlooked - supervisors. I think supervisors are the ones most afraid of innovation, dialogue and risk. I have observed greater reluctance by 1st and 2nd level managers to embrace approaches that have some level of uncertainty associated with them. I think COs are less threatened by contractor actions than by the apparent unwillingness of their leadership to provide a sense of 'air cover' when something new or different is considered. My own personal experience suggests the less I, as a supervisor/manager/senior executive, worried about how such actions would impact me and my career the more my staff was willing to take risks and pursue and try new and innovative approaches to contracting.

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