Federal agencies fall far short of the private sector in buying commodity products and services through consolidated contracts that gain lower pricing in exchange for high-volume ordering – a technique known as strategic sourcing – find the Government Accountability Office.
Office of Management and Budget-led "AcqStat" meetings with agencies to discuss acquisition processes were held sporadically in 2010 and 2011, with the majority of meetings not occurring until the past few months, long after OMB officials began touting them as an oversight means.
A move by the FAR Council to standardize past performance evaluations is laudable, but I suspect problems with past performance as an evaluation factor will persist. Partly that's because it can...
A proposed rule change to the Federal Acquisition Regulation would standardize past performance evaluation factors and rating categories above the simplified acquisition threshold . Genesis of the proposed rule , printed Sept. 6 in the Federal Register , stems from language in the fiscal 2012 national defense authorization bill which requires the FAR Council to craft standards for the timeliness and completeness of past performance database submissions.
When the Air Force received in June a waiver for its Enhanced Polar System satellite communications effort from a Defense Department requirement that major defense acquisition programs undertake competitive prototypes, it did so without a complete cost-benefit analysis, says the Government Accountability Office.
It's not unusual for Energy Department civil servants to try to influence contractor hiring decisions, says the Energy office of inspector general. This can be an especially difficult issue at Energy, where approximately 80 percent of the workforce is contractors and federal officials often want certain individuals as contractors until they can be brought in as civil servants. However, DOE acquisition regulations (especially DOE Acquisition Guide 37.114 [.pdf]) says involvement "clouds the traditional and appropriate allocation of contract performance and cost risks between the government and the contractor."
The writers of federal regulations controlling procurements say a clause telling contracting officers when to set aside research and development contracts worth more than the simplified acquisition threshold needs clarification.
Officials running human capital training and recruitment programs at the Veterans Affairs Department paid too much in interagency contracting fees to the Office of Personnel Management and used questionable assumptions to calculate return on investment, the VA office of inspector general says. VA officials said they thought OPM's service fees were reasonable, but "they could not provide us with sufficient documentation to demonstrate that a cost assessment was conducted as part of the best procurement approach determination."
Chief acquisition officer responsibilities vary widely from agency to agency, indicating confusion around CAOs' primary duties, finds the Government Accountability Office. "Few CAOs have acquisition management as their primary duty" and are instead focused on financial, information and human capital management, according to a July 26 report (.pdf) from GAO.
In a July 11 memo (.pdf) Richard Ginman, director of defense procurement and acquisition policy, and Andre Gudger, director of the office of small business programs, say that unless contracting officers have a reasonable expectation that they won't get offers from two responsible small firms, then they should set-aside for small businesses acquisitions worth between the two thresholds.