Increasing competition is among federal panel's recommendations

At the heart of recommendations by a federal panel tasked with examining government procurement practices is addressing the woeful state of competition in the federal market.

The Acquisition Advisory Panel, established by Congress, issued a draft of its final report, which included the finding that nearly a third of the $360 billion in government acquisition spending is not competitively bid.

Of the contracts that are bid, 20 percent received only one proposal, the panel said in its report. The panel believes the lack of competition is a disservice to the government and the taxpayer.

The panel was charged by Congress with reviewing laws, regulations and policies governing procurement spending and making recommendations in several areas, including use of commercial practices in government acquisition, performance-based contracting and interagency contracting.

Among the recommendations are:
  • Enhance and encourage competition by improving requirements analysis and definition.
  • Increase the use of performance-based contracting by having the Office of Federal Procurement Policy provide more guidance on its use. Agencies also need tools to identify when performance-based contracts are appropriate and how to develop measurable performance standards.
  • Limit the use of time and material contracts.
  • Improve the acquisition workforce by first having OFPP create a single, governmentwide definition of the acquisition workforce. Barriers to hiring new acquisition workers should be identified and eliminated. Training needs also should be addressed.
  • Debrief losers of task order competitions worth more than $5 million. The information will improve competition on future task orders.
  • Establish a new IT services schedule that requires competition at the order level.

The panel is accepting comments on the draft until Jan. 5.

Nick Wakeman is the editor of Government Computer News' affiliate publication, Washington Technology.

About the Author

Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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