Open Dialogue on Improving Federal Procurement

The Chief Acquisition Officers Council (CAOC), in coordination with the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council), the Chief Information Officers Council (CIOC), the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), is conducting an open dialogue to discuss improvements to the federal acquisition process. To facilitate feedback, an online platform is being launched so that interested parties may submit ideas, respond to questions posed by moderators, and comment on other ideas - including those that they think are most promising and impactful. This dialogue is part of an ongoing effort to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the federal acquisition system by identifying impactful steps that can be taken by agencies to improve the way they do business with the best companies and enter into contracts that allow these companies to provide their best solutions for the taxpayer. 

The dialogue is organized into three tracks (campaigns), and the participants are invited to comment in any track based on their interests. The first track will focus on reporting and compliance requirements, and participants are invited to offer ideas on specific areas that are either outdated, overly cumbersome, or duplicative that would allow federal contractors and agencies to address reporting compliance requirements with less burden and greater efficiency. The second track will focus on procurement rules and practices, and participants are invited to offer ideas on changes to federal procurement rules that would open federal contracting to more innovative and cost effective solutions that are more aligned with commercial practices. The third track will focus on how to make it easier and less costly for small businesses, minority businesses, and new entrants to do business with the government. Through this online platform, ideas will be gathered and improvements proposed that can be accomplished through executive (regulatory, administrative, or management) or legislative actions. The dialogue will run for two weeks through Monday, May 5th. Information on the platform and the dates for participating in the dialogue can be accessed through https://cao.gov/ or https://cio.gov/, or directly at http://cxo.dialogue.cao.gov/.

 

House Small Business Committee Approves Bill to increase Agencies Small Business Contracting Goals

The House Small Business Committee has marked up and approved a six-pack of contracting reform bills, including legislation that would raise the current agency goals for steering work to small businesses.

The package approved Wednesday would particularly affect the construction industry, women, and disabled veterans. It includes a plan to raise agencies’ small-business prime contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and establish a 40 percent goal for small-business subcontractors.

“Greater small business involvement in federal contracting benefits companies and taxpayers alike,” said panel Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., who sponsored the bill outlining the new contracting goals. “Small firms are innovative, and increased competition often leads to savings for the taxpayers.”

A second Grave bill would “improve transparency and accountability” by discouraging bundling of contracts to give an advantage to large companies over small businesses. Bills sponsored by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., would restrict the government’s use of reverse auctions in awarding construction contracts and increase construction companies’ access to surety bonds for use in federal procurement work.

A bill sponsored by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., would transfer responsibility for verifying the status of disabled veteran-owned small businesses from the Veterans Affairs Department to the Small Business Administration. And two bills sponsored by Ranking Member Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., would boost the training and education services delivered by Small Business Development Centers and promote parity for women-owned small businesses by standardizing sole-source authorities in SBA’s procurement operations.

Article from Government Executive - March 2014