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.
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.