Survey: Agencies lag in procurement practices

Government is lagging behind best procurement practices in private industry, according to a new survey by a Washington-based consulting firm.

While companies have long embraced strategic sourcing, or bulk buying, as a way to leverage buying power and save money, only select government agencies have embraced the strategy. Similarly, agencies have been slow to adopt interagency contracts, strategic partnerships with suppliers, and awards based on good performance, all of which can save money and improve the quality of purchases, said Bruce McConnell, president of Government Futures, which conducted the survey.

Unlike other reports that have reached similar conclusions, this survey also asked 100 government and industry leaders to predict the future. Respondents said they believed that by 2012, most agencies would rely on close relationships with select buyers for commodity purchases and that at least half of federal agencies would have adopted strategic sourcing techniques.

If these predictions are correct, federal procurement practices will start to more closely resemble the commercial practices of the 1990s in about five years.

In many ways, that's too late, says McConnell. By 2012, there will likely be newer best practices, he says.

McConnell says Government Futures is starting to look at how agencies could move more quickly to adopt best practices. One factor holding them back is current laws, he says.

Through Government Futures' Web site, McConnell plans to launch a detailed discussion of potential statutory changes for the new Congress. He says recommended changes will include regulations to make it easier to establish public-private partnerships, interagency collaboration and incentives in contracts such as rewards for good work and punishments for bad work. Only about 2 percent of government contracts currently use incentives, he says.

Transparency in contracting can help ensure that public-private partnerships don't develop a dark side, McConnell said. When the public and oversight community can track where money is going and to whom, the risk of illegal or unethical activity is reduced, he said.

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

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

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.


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