Acquisition

Agencies want standard survey for acquisition feedback

Feedback

The Defense Department, the General Services Administration and NASA want to amend federal acquisition rules to set up a survey form that contractors could use to provide voluntary feedback on how well federal agencies handle their contracts and solicitations.

The agencies opened up a comment period July 26 to potentially amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to set up a standardized survey that allows contractors, whether or not they received a particular contract award, to rate an agency’s pre-award and debriefing processes.

The process was initially advanced in 2015 by Anne Rung, the then-administrator of the Office of Management and Budget’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). Rung, who now works for Amazon, had said the “Acquisition 360” review process would be the first feedback tool that would allow agencies to identify weaknesses in their acquisition processes, including pre-and post-award activities, as well as post-award debriefings.

The 2015 draft survey’s 15 questions cover the gamut of acquisition activity, from development processes, solicitation phase to award debriefings. The agencies said responses to that initial questionnaire helped form the Myth-busting 3 memo issued in January 2017 by acting OFPP Administrator Lesley Field.

Last November, Field said the 2015 Acquisition 360 pilot was being expanded, but it has been limited by Paperwork Reduction Act, which looks to lighten the paperwork burden the federal government puts on private businesses and citizens, as well as by formal procedures agencies must follow when they’re asking for public input.

Fields said OFPP was working through the issue and planned to scale up the program once vendors and agencies indicate the 15-question survey isn't a burden to complete.

Ultimately, she said, the goal is to make the review part of the federal acquisition process.

In their notice in late July, DOD, GSA and NASA solicited comments from the public, particularly federal government contractors, about potential benefits and burdens of voluntary feedback surveys. The agencies also want to add language that would encourage federal contacting officials to get feedback from their suppliers on their agency’s contract administration responsibilities.

Comments can be filed by mail at GSA, DOD or NASA, or through Regulations.gov, by Sept. 21.

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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