GSA deal will share savings with vendors

The General Services Administration last week took a huge step to improve agencies' acceptance of share-in-savings contracting by awarding blanket purchase agreements worth up to $500 million to six contractors, industry and government sources confirmed.

Twenty-two agencies are authorized to use the contracts for a broad range of IT services, including the e-government initiatives.

Sources said the contracts provide agencies with a starting point to enter into these sometimes complicated agreements. The deal also streamlines the contracting process to save agencies time.

The BPAs standardize the terms used by share-in-savings contractors and identify a group of vendors that have performed well on other government contracts.

GSA chose Accenture LLP, CGI Group Inc. of Montreal, Computer Sciences Corp., IBM Corp., Science Applications International Corp. of San Diego and SRA International Inc. of Fairfax, Va.

The deal followed an effort by a contracting leadership group last month to encourage agencies to be more open with vendors in their work on share-in-savings contracts.

In a proposed rule issued in the Federal Register, the Federal Acquisition Councils emphasized the need for 'an open and collaborative environment' with industry and other agencies. The proposal encourages agencies to reveal baseline costs for a share-in-savings project and the cost of federal personnel, as well as the value of contracts that would have been awarded for it, such as procurement, management and maintenance.

By highlighting these areas, the councils seek to overcome the biggest obstacles to share-in-savings contracting, said Dave McClure, the Council for Excellence in Government's vice president for e-government.

'Industry needs the access before they can put together an effective business case and an offer,' McClure said.

In share-in-savings contracts, the vendor supplies some or all of the development funds and receives payment from the savings or revenue generated.

The proposed rule details the process by which agencies can use share-in-savings IT contracts. It would require them to develop a business case, use best value as the criterion for contracting decisions and base contracts on performance.

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