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The Biden administration unveiled a new plan to find contract savings and better performance for the federal government.
Dubbed the Better Contracting Initiative, the policy from the Office of Management and Budget continues the White House’s push for agencies to gain value from enterprise acquisition practices.
“While federal agencies have unique needs and purchase highly-customized items, such as fighter jets and space telescopes, most of the goods and services purchased by agencies are common commercial items that most agencies use – such as IT hardware and software, facilities maintenance, and package delivery services,” an OMB statement said.
The BCI strategy calls for the federal to apply four steps to their acquisition practices :
- Using data to get lower prices and better contract terms
This step will include a new, centralized OMB data management strategy that includes acquisition data from across the government to help improve cost analysis and market intelligence.
- Utilizing common software licenses
Noting that prices can “vary up to 20 percent for the same software across agencies,” the BCI strategy will task the General Services Administration with negotiating a government-wide IT software license agreement “with a large software provider,” with the goal of notching a 25% efficiency gain by avoiding agencies researching and negotiating individual contracts
- Guidance for high-priority acquisition requirements
OMB will issue guidance to agencies “to use a proven methodology to pinpoint requirements” for top acquisitions and includes agency facilitators that will run workshops to help procurement teams develop performance-based requirements. GSA will also be tasked with helping develop acquisition workshops.
- Offering better value for sole-source or high-risk acquisitions
OMB said it will help deploy special tools to assist agencies in more difficult procurements with fewer vendor options. The agency pointed to the Defense Department’s success in using peer reviews from independent procurement teams and pricing experts to help agencies find better value. Agencies may also use hybrid acquisition strategies where they mitigate their risk by deploying cost-reimbursement, labor-hour or fixed-price contracts.