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Shopping for Training and Development Services Could Soon Get Easier

OPM and GSA release requests for proposals as part of an effort to streamline procurement through category management.

As part of the Obama administration’s effort to streamline procurement through category management, the Office of Personnel Management and the General Services Administration on Monday released requests for proposals from experts in training and human capital.

The two multiple award governmentwide contract vehicles are aimed at expanding agency access to industry partners that provide complex and tailored training and development, human capital strategy, and organizational performance improvement services aligned with the government’s Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework, GSA said in a release.

The procurements “are an excellent example of federal agencies partnering to develop new contract solutions that help them deliver on their mission,” said newly confirmed GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth. “The result is a reliable, flexible, and efficient way for federal agencies to obtain best-value solutions for their complex human capital and training service requirements.”

OPM will supervise spending on the contracting. “The partnership with GSA allows us to create a highly efficient, innovative, and flexible approach to providing human capital and training services,” acting OPM Director Beth Cobert said. “This acquisition solution ultimately will make it easier for federal agencies to get what they need in human capital services, when they need it.”

Category management, which is being pushed by the White House Office of Federal Procurement Policy, is an approach to bulk purchasing used by private sector giants such as Boeing and Macy’s as well as the government of the United Kingdom. “You take common areas of spending of all agencies and divide them into categories” such as information technology, security and protection, or transportation, and then build teams around them, OFPP Administrator Anne Rung said in April. About $270 billion of the $440 billion federal procurement budget goes toward common items.

The new contract vehicles will provide standards and metrics to assess and improve human capital management; use merit systems principles to assess results; and improve human capital management in compliance with civil service laws and regulations, the two agencies said.

Both vehicles will be attractive to contractors who are small businesses, OPM and GSA added, and both “are expected to maximize customized training and development, human capital strategy, and organizational performance improvement requirements for federal agencies.”

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