Agencies improving contracting forecasts

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Federal agencies continue to improve their contracting forecast data, but some still need improvement, according the Professional Services Council's latest Federal Business Forecast Scorecard.

“This isn’t to rank agencies,” PSC’s Executive Vice President and Counsel Alan Chvotkin said during the council’s July 13 acquisition webcast that previewed the forecast. The study, he said, was to illuminate the agencies’ contracting forecasts to help contractors and agencies alike.

“Clear project needs enable contractors to plan for the needed personnel and resources to compete successfully for U.S. government contracts, thus resulting in better proposals and shorter award decision timelines allowing programs to commence in timely fashion,” Chvotkin said.

“The benefit to agencies is that companies can prepare better and earlier in the procurement lifecycle to perform on contracts. Agency needs are met, measurable results are achieved, and competition keeps costs down,” he added.

The study examined procurement forecasts from 60 federal agencies. PSC did its initial forecast in 2019, using data from only 45 agencies, scoring then using 15 “key attributes,” such as identified action/award type, anticipated solicitation date and set-aside status. PSC said the best forecasts set clear project and award descriptions, dollar estimates and information that could be used to inform contractors’ potential investments in proposals and costs associated.

The Naval Information Warfare Systems Command (NAVWAR), formerly SPAWAR, showed the most improvement over its 2019 evaluation, according to PSC. The agency’s logical, thorough forecast, it said, provides in-depth, easily navigated information on its plans.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Education continued their top ratings in the 2020 survey from 2019. The Department of Homeland Security brought three more of its components up to PSC’s “good” category from 2019’s five, the council said.

However, almost a third of the 60 agencies reviewed -- 28 -- were ranked as “needing improvement.”

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, 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 [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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