Procurement

OFPP to issue acquisition lab guidance

compass innovation

Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Anne Rung wants all federal agencies to have places where their contracting personnel can experiment with new acquisition ideas and fail without fear.

By the end of summer, she said, OFPP is set to issue guidance for all federal agencies to implement their own version of the Department of Health and Human Services Buyers Club procurement initiative.

Buyers Club gives HHS the space to try more agile procurement techniques, such as concept papers and statements of objectives, instead of traditional contracts and statements of work, allowing faster and hopefully better outcomes, Rung said in remarks at the Professional Services Councils ACQTECH conference in Fairfax, Va.

In pushing out guidance advising other agencies on how to form their own versions of the innovative acquisition lab, Rung said the "idea would be to outline principles" for other agencies to set up the experimental acquisition spaces. She said HHS brought together expertise from financial, legal and other agency operations that hadn't really talked to one another in an acquisition environment.

Without such spaces, there is a tendency to "roll back" and retreat from promising but failed acquisitions. "We're not going to get anywhere if we do that," Rung said.

PSC President Stan Soloway asked Rung how a vendor working with an ultimately risky or failed acquisition effort in the labs would be reported in, for example, the Contractor Performance Assessment System.

Rung said she would like to brainstorm with industry on how to report such efforts to reflect the effort was in an innovation lab.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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