New "competition corps" would make outsourcing easier, says report

The Office of Management and Budget should create a "competition corps" of managers versed in federal outsourcing rules to help agencies run hundreds of new public-private job competitions, according to a new report.

The notion of a "competition corps" is one of 37 ideas for fixing the public-private job competition process to come from the Reason Public Policy Institute and the Performance Institute, two think thanks that study government management and that jointly produced the report. They also support providing training for employees slated to go through a job competition, adding a competitive sourcing strategy to agencies' strategic plans, and holding the winners of job competitions to strict performance targets.

A "competition corps" would provide an experienced pool of managers that could help agencies manage job competitions called for by the Bush administration. Most civilian agencies have little experience with the job competition process outlined in OMB Circular A-76, a factor that has slowed compliance with the administration's competitive sourcing initiative. OMB has told agencies to compete or outsource 15 percent of their commercial jobs by October 2003, although it has acknowledged that some agencies may fall short of this target.

"A key reason why competitive sourcing initiatives have taken a long time and substantial cost to implement has been the lack of qualified, competent competitive sourcing managers within individual agencies," according to the report, "Designing a Performance-Based Competitive Sourcing Process for the Federal Government."

Some agencies have made procurement executives responsible for complying with the OMB plan, while others, such as the Interior Department, have created a special office to lead their competitive sourcing efforts. Agencies have been quick to tap officials in their organizations who have experience in outsourcing to work on the competitive sourcing initiative. The IRS, for example, picked Bert Concklin, an executive with its multi-billion dollar modernization project who has an extensive background in privatization issues, to lead its competitive sourcing office.

But below the headquarters level, employees with little background in the A-76 process are running many competitions, typically with support from contractors. A "competition corps" would create an experienced group of A-76 experts who could help with this process, the report said.

The report also urged OMB to recognize the difference between activities and avoid creating a "one-size-fits-all" competition process. For example, a competition involving food service jobs should be handled differently than a competition over information technology services, according to the report.

The winners of public-private competitions should also be forced to maintain detailed cost and performance data to make them more accountable to the government. "The losing bidder of a competition should have the right to review the performance and cost achievement of the winner over the life of the contract by examining agency data," the report said.

Accurate cost data is one of the most contentious issues in the job competition process. Contractors say the process fails to capture the overhead costs of the in-house bid, giving in-house employees an advantage. Federal employee unions argue the government often ends up losing money through outsourcing because contractors increase costs after they win A-76 competitions and start performing the work.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.