GAO: Plan needed to implement acquisition panel's recommendations

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy needs to develop a strategy to implement and oversee recommended improvements to federal acquisition practices, according to a Government Accountability Office report released this week.

The upgrades to how the federal government acquires the $400 billion in goods and services it buys every year came from a panel formed in 2005, as required by the 2003 Services Acquisition Reform Act, which created a workforce training fund, chief acquisition officer positions and additional acquisition rules. The law was aimed at improving the management of service contracts -- administrative, management and information technology support -- which now account for 60 percent of total procurement dollars and draw increased scrutiny from the Hill.

In July 2007, the Services Acquisition Advisory Panel issued 89 recommendations to improve acquisition, which included instigating commercial practices, performance-based acquisition, interagency contracting, changes to the federal acquisition workforce, establishing the appropriate role of contractors supporting government, improving federal procurement data and dealing better with small businesses. The panel emphasized clearly defining contract requirements, which encourages competition because the work is more easily understood. Other recommendations included establishing unambiguous performance requirements and measurable standards as well as recognizing the inherent risks in interagency contracts and reducing the government's reliance on them.

In its report (GAO-08-160), GAO found that the panel's proposals were "largely consistent with the agency's past work and recommendations." But it urged the OFPP to "develop an oversight strategy or plan with milestones and reporting requirements to help it ensure the implementation of the SARA panel recommendations and to gauge how they improve federal acquisition."

According to the report, "Without an overall strategy or plan, it's unclear how OFPP will gauge the successes and shortcomings in how the panel recommendations will improve federal acquisitions."

Of the 89 recommendations, OFPP has taken issue with only two: a clause that would allow protests for all task and delivery orders worth more than $5 million awarded under multiple award contracts and changing the title of the contracting officer technical representative to contracting officer performance representative. OFPP said the threshold for the bid protest should be higher and that changing the title would not add value.

OFPP officials told GAO that because they agree with almost all of the recommendations, they already had begun implementing some, while others are pending or under consideration. The proposals can be implemented by legislative action, changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations, the issuance or revision of policies by OFPP or federal agency action. OFPP estimated that about a third could be addressed through legislative actions and pending FAR cases. OFPP must address the remaining ones.

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 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • 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.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

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

    Download

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