By Steve Kelman

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The Lectern: How can agencies save money in contract spending?

By November 2 (providing a decent interval after the end-of-fiscal-year contracting workload rush), agencies must provide the Office of Management and Budget with their plans for saving 3.5 percent in fiscal 2010 contracting spending and another 3.5 percent in fiscal 2011.

I actually think this is not a bad idea at all -- it is a performance target, not a set of prescriptions every agency must follow. With luck, it will spur some creative juices from the contracting community. And agencies will respond, I hope, by getting a better bang for the contracting buck, not mainly by doing less with less (cutting out activities that are contracted, though there may be occasions where this makes sense), or, dishonestly, by bringing activities in-house and counting gross savings rather than any net savings.

In the spirit of getting creative juices going, I wrote a column recently in Federal Computer Week on this topic. I would ask blog readers to take a look (you can read it here), but more importantly, please use this blog as a place to share ideas about techniques agencies can use to getting better bang for the contracting buck. Let's have an informal dialogue on this, and, as I said, let's get our creative juices as a community flowing. There's a trillion dollar deficit out there -- largely being caused by an effort to jumpstart the economy -- and we all have a responsibility to try to help.

PS. I thought the dialogue on last Thursday's post on civil service pay increases (read the blog post here) was interesting, though I noticed that nobody took up the issue of the procurement lawyer who is part of a unit on government contract law and white collar crime.

Posted by Steve Kelman on Sep 08, 2009 at 12:08 PM


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