OMB shifts contract emphasis from past to present performance

klunney@govexec.com

In an effort to improve federal contract management, the Office of Management and Budget later this month will issue guidelines urging federal agencies to offer contractors continuous feedback.

While many federal contracts already have built-in performance evaluations throughout the life of agreements, OMB's new guidelines on evaluating contractors' performance will emphasize the importance of checking in with contractors at key milestones. The guidelines will be issued by the end of the month, said Deidre Lee, the outgoing administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

In recent years, federal procurement officials have emphasized the importance of checking on contractors' past performance. Virtually all contracts include evaluations once the contracts are completed, but officials would like to see more frequent, ongoing interaction between agencies and contractors.

Contracting experts say candid communication throughout the life cycle of a contract creates an environment where both sides can ask questions, share views, and most importantly, clear up misconceptions and conflicting expectations on a case-by case basis-enhancing the quality of the finished product as well as heading off costly-and preventable-mistakes.

Eben Townes, a senior vice president at Chantilly, Va.-based Acquisition Solutions Inc., said a greater focus on present performance-rather than an overemphasis on evaluating past performance-is more conducive to the notion of forming partnerships between government and industry. More frequent and more open dialogue between participating parties helps both sides meet contract goals, he said. He noted that expectations between agencies and contractors can differ, and most contractors would like to know immediately, rather than after the contract term has ended, whether they are doing an A-plus job.

Bert M. Concklin, president of the Professional Services Council, praised the trend toward present peformance evaluation, noting that encouraging-not requiring-agencies to participate in these practices is the way to go. "It's a good idea to stress it [present performance] for source selection and for day-to-day management of the contractor relationship, but regulatory rules would further complicate things. I believe Dee Lee is of a similar temperament and more inclined to give people the tools they need through policy guidance rather than to write laws."

OMB is not planning any regulatory changes, federal officials said.

When asked to cite any possible drawbacks to emphasizing present performance, Les Davison, acting deputy associate administrator in the Office of Acquisition Policy at the General Services Administration, said, "It is one of those motherhood and apple pie things: you can't say anything bad about it."

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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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