Commerce posts contracting guide for agencies

Commerce posts contracting guide for agencies

To help agencies prepare to meet Bush administration performance goals, a team of federal procurement executives led by the Commerce Department is putting a comprehensive guide to performance-based contracting on the Web.

Final touches are still being made, but Seven Steps to Performance-based Services Acquisition is available at oamweb.osec.doc.gov/pbsc/index.html.

A completed version will be released after a six-month comment period, said Tina Burnette, head of Commerce's IT contracting office and leader of the team that developed the guide.

The manual presents a straightforward, commonsense approach to performance-based contracting techniques, which are still not widely understood or accepted in government, its authors said.

'It's a knowledge tool,' said Michael Sade, director of acquisition management and senior procurement executive at Commerce. 'This is the beginning of the dialogue' about performance-based contracting.

The Office of Management and Budget has directed agencies to use performance-based acquisition for at least 20 percent of their service-contracting business for awards of $25,000 or more in fiscal 2002. The goal will increase to 50 percent by 2005.

Procurement managers face difficult hurdles in meeting those goals, most notably resistance within their agencies, the authors of the guide said.

'This is all about culture change in government,' Sade said. 'Getting the buy-in is the biggest challenge in moving to performance-based contracting.'

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