The government panel that reviews federal rules and how they affect small businesses is manipulated by trade associations, a Nov. 12 Center for Effective Government report says. Three federal agencies are required to convene a small business review panel any time the govenrment plans to issue a rule that could have a significant economic impact on small businesses.
The Defense Department didn't follow an oversight rule for most of the cost-reimbursement contracts reviewed in a recent audit and could have overpaid for the acquisitions, says a Nov. 7 DoD inspector general report. The IG reviewed 604 contracts valued at $82.7 billion in total to see if they followed a Federal Acquisition Regulation rule finalized in 2012 that is meant to add layers to the oversight of cost-reimbursement contracts.
More than $1.9 million in acquisitions by the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board are at risk because the agency's managers did not approve them, says a recently released Environmental Protection Agency report.
The Defense Contract Audit Agency, which provides audit and financial advisory services to the Defense Department, hasn't advised contracting officers on proper cost and pricing data, according to a recently released report from DoD's inspector general.
Three Agriculture Department agencies failed to use preferred contracts in the procurement of professional services for about two-thirds of the funds assigned for such purchases from fiscal 2009 to 2013, the Government Accountability Office found. That amounts to about $783 million of the nearly $1.8 billion USDA set aside in that time frame for professional services contracts, according to GAO's report (pdf). USDA's Departmental Management, Food and Nutrition Service, and Forest Service account for about 70 percent of the department's total obligations for professional service contracts, but only about 37 percent of the funds were awarded via performance-based, firm-fixed-price contracts, the kinds that the
Taxpayers and small businesses are benefitting from the ReverseAuctions program, the General Services Administration said. In fiscal 2014, 85 percent of auctions awarded through the initiative went to small businesses even though 60 percent was set aside for them, and overall, reverse auctions generated 23 percent savings off standard contract price, an Oct. 21 blog post says.
Security clearance contractor USIS suffered another in a series of setbacks Monday when the Government Accountability Office partially upheld a bid protest that removes the company from a contract it was given by the Homeland Security Department. DHS had awarded a $210 million Field Office Support Services contract to USIS in July after the Office of Personnel Management said it wouldn't do business with the company anymore.
The Defense Department has cut contracting dollars by 16 percent in 2013 from the prior year as a result of sequestration, according to a recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. DoD's budget was cut by about 8 percent in 2013, from 2012, and spending on procurement took the brunt of the hit, the Oct. 15 report says.
Federal agencies aren't embracing combined technology and services the way the private sector is, says an Oct. 14 joint Market Connections/Professional Services Council survey. Only about 20 percent of federal procurement workers said they would be procuring monitoring, infrastructure, software, communications and training on a consumption-based as a service model in the next year, the survey says.
Federal Acquisition Regulations Council issued a final rule Monday that lays out how and when agencies should transition over to a standard identification system for federal contracts. Agencies have until Oct. 1 2017 to implement the new Procurement Instrument Identification numbering system. PIID will only affect new contracts after the effective date, the rule says.