Watchdog wants everyone on the same page about multi-agency contracting

Defense Department file photo

The Defense Department needs to modernize its procurement procedures to take better advantage of interagency contracting, a Government Accountability Office report found.

At a time when savings from multi-agency purchases of goods and services are key goals of the Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration, GAO has been monitoring several agencies’ internal regulations, policy and guidance for compliance with changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

“This is particularly important for DoD, where the inconsistency we found in how its organizations addressed the best procurement approach determination appears to be due to the lack of updated policies and guidance,” GAO wrote.

The watchdog placed management of multi-agency contracting on its high-risk list in 2005. Auditors examined multi-agency contracting procedures at Defense, GSA and the Interior Department -- the agencies most involved in providing and using multi-agency contracting -- as well as policies issued by OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy. GSA, they found, has yet to make its information on achieving better pricing readily available to customers, and the Pentagon is still completing a policy review.

GAO recommended that Defense and GSA “take steps to update policies and guidance to ensure that recent interagency contracting policy changes are consistently implemented.”

The agencies largely agreed, and the Defense Department’s director of procurement and acquisition policy appointed a working group to prepare new guidance.

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