25 recommendations for improving acquisition
The Acquisition Panel approved 25 recommendations to improve how the government buys services and tracks procurement data. These suggestions will be submitted to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the fall in the panel's final report.IT services recommendations
Ways to improve procurement data collected in the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation
- The General Services Administration should establish a new IT schedule for professional services under which prices for each order are established by competition and not based on posed rates.
- Section 803 of the 2002 Defense Department Authorization Act should be expanded governmentwide to increase competition for multiple-award contract orders. The act requires agencies to obtain at least three bids on all task and delivery orders.
- Establish agency centers of excellence in requirements analysis and development. These COEs would have advance approval of the statement of work for any complex service.
- Have GSA develop a database of publicly available market research on services acquisitions by government and commercial buyers.
- Strengthen competition for procurements in excess of $5 million for orders under multiple-award contracts by requiring the agency to provide a clear statement of work, a reasonable response period for receipt of proposals, significant factors they expect to consider in evaluating proposals, a written statement documenting the reason the award was made and a debriefing for unsuccessful vendors.
- Improve the transparency of the ordering process by providing a public notice for information purposes within 10 days of a sole-source task or delivery order worth more than $100,000.
- Enforce policies limiting time and materials contracting; convert, when possible, time and materials contracts to performance-based contracts; don't award time and materials contracts unless the government can ensure effective oversight.
- Clarify regulations on when the government can obtain additional data for commercial-item contracts.
- Have GSA establish a market research organization to analyze publicly available data on government and commercial services transactions and make it available to the public.
- Change the current Federal Acquisition Regulations definition of a standalone commercial service to reflect the statutory definition that lets noncommercial services be treated as commercial ones.
- OFPP should ensure FPDS-NG corrects competition rules immediately. This would make sure agencies are entering the right data into the system, whether the contract had multiple bids or came from a multiple-award contract.
- OFPP should ensure validations apply to all agencies equally. Some panel members found DOD and civilian agencies collect FPDS-NG data differently.
- OFPP should hire a vendor to perform an independent validation and verification on all the validation rules to make sure they are working properly.
- Congress should revise the OFPP Act to assign to the head of the executive agency responsibility for timely and accurate data reporting to FPDS-NG or successor system.
- Agencies should ensure their workforces are trained to accurately report contract data.
- The training should address the purpose and objectives of data reporting to include improving trust through transparency and providing a tool for sound policy-making and strategic decision-making.
- The Office of Management and Budget should establish within 90 days of this report a standard operating procedure that ensures sufficient and appropriate agency personnel are made available for testing changes in FPDS-NG.
- Agency internal reviews should include a sampling of files to compare FPDS-NG data to official contract/order files.
- OFPP's interagency contracting group should address data entry responsibility as part of the creation and continuation process for interagency and enterprisewide contracts.
- GAO should audit the quality of FPDS-NG data as well as agency compliance in providing accurate and timely data. Competition at the order level should be able to answer the questions: Who is buying? How much? What type of multiple-award contract are you using? If not buying competitively, what exception applies? And other considerations such as pricing arrangements, socio-economic status, number of offers received and the fee to use the contract also apply. All of these should be considered when designing the report.
- The FPDS-NG report provided to the panel that shows the dollar transactions by agency and the type of interagency vehicle should be made public.
- OFPP should devise a method and study the cost benefits to implement additional data reporting requirements to sufficiently perform strategic sourcing and market research within and across agencies.
- OFPP should seek agency and industry perspective to determine if the United Nations Standard Product Service Codes classification or some other is feasible as a new data element if the scope of the data collection is expanded.
- OMB must ensure agencies provide sufficient funds to ensure FPDS-NG are financed as a shared service based on levels agreed to by the CAO Council, and move from voluntary to specific appropriations to support the objectives of the system.
- Within a year, OMB should conduct feasibility and funding studies to integrate data on awards of grants, cooperative agreements, interagency support service agreements and other transactions into a single Web database, which would be searchable by the public.