OFPP to survey agencies on interagency contracting

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy early next week will begin surveying federal agencies on their use of interagency contracts, including the types and number of contracts departments are using.

OFPP will post the survey, recommended by the Services Acquisition Advisory Panel, on its Web site, officials said.

A SARA working group made a series of suggestions that the full panel accepted at a meeting yesterday. The Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 called for OFPP to create the panel to develop a series of recommendations on how to improve agency acquisition and procurement policies. The panel is made up of public- and private-sector experts.

Interagency contracting became a major initiative for OFPP in 2006 after the Government Accountability Office placed it on its high-risk list in 2005, and after a series of critical reports from the General Services Administration regarding OFPP's management of interagency contracting.

OFPP set up an interagency contracting working group of agency chief acquisition officers to decide whether new guidance is needed for interagency contracting, and will clarify the roles and responsibilities of agencies in regard to who should describe the requirements, negotiate the terms and conditions, and conduct contract oversight.

The SARA panel suggested that OFPP collect data on:
  • Available contracts

  • Trends in use by public and oversight organizations to monitor these contracts

  • Duplicative interagency or enterprisewide contracts or acquisition service functions.

Additionally, OFPP should issue policy or guidance to establish a uniform practice for supporting an agency's decision to establish and manage these contracts and functions. OFPP should conduct periodic reviews of agency compliance with the guidance.

The panel also recommended ways to increase small-business contracting, including clarifying contracting officers' discretion in selecting small business contracting methods, reserving full and open awards for small firms, and limiting competition under multiple award contracts to small companies.

The panel will continue to meet through July to address other acquisition issues, including performance-based contracting, commercial buying practices and the acquisition workforce.


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