Reinventing Federal Procurement

NPR Recommendations

PROC01 Reframe Acquisition Policy
PROC02 Build an Innovative Procurement Workforce
PROC03 Encourage More Procurement Innovation
PROC04 Establish New Simplified Acquisition Threshold and Procedures
PROC05 Reform Labor Laws and Transform the Labor Department Into an Efficient Partner for Meeting Public Policy Goals
PROC06 Amend Protest Rules
PROC07 Enhance Programs for Small Business and Small Disadvantaged Business Concerns
PROC08 Reform Information Technology Procurement
PROC09 Lower Costs and Reduce Bureaucracy in Small Purchases Through the Use of Purchase Cards
PROC10 Ensure Customer Focus in Procurement
PROC11 Improve Procurement Ethics Laws
PROC12 Allow for Expanded Choice and Cooperation in the Use of Supply Schedules
PROC13 Foster Reliance on the Commercial Marketplace
PROC14 Expand Electronic Commerce for Federal Acquisition
PROC15 Encourage Best Value Procurement
PROC16 Promote Excellence in Vendor Performance
PROC17 Authorize a Two-Phase Competitive Source Selection Process
PROC18 Authorize Multi-Year Contracts
PROC19 Conform Certain Statutory Requirements for Civilian Agencies to Those of Defense Agencies
PROC20 Streamline Buying for the Environment

Progress to Date

The Administration continues to make substantial progress in improving the procurement process. In April 1996, the Federal Acquisition Reform Act (FARA) and the Information Technology Management Reform Act (ITMRA) passed with bipartisan congressional support and the full support of the Administration (both are contained in Public Law 104-106). These laws will enable the federal procurement system to emulate many of the most successful buying practices used in the commercial marketplace. Building on the important reforms made by the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 (Public Law 103-355) which focused largely on the purchase of commercial items and smaller dollar buys (those under $100,000) FARA and ITMRA are reforming the way the government makes larger dollar purchases and acquires information technology.

In particular, these laws streamline the contract award process by allowing contracting officials after reviewing initial proposals to reduce the number of suppliers with whom they must negotiate. They authorize the use of simplified source selection procedures for commercial item acquisitions up to $5 million. They permit agencies to manage their own information technology investments, and they repeal unique and time-consuming approval procedures that were required by the Brooks Act as well as the intrusive and disruptive protest process authorized by that act. In addition, these laws authorize OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) to initiate pilot programs immediately and grant the statutory waivers needed to test innovative procurement concepts.

Several related administrative initiatives are under way to make the procurement system more responsive to government customer needs, reduce bureaucracy, and seize the opportunities provided by advances in information technology. For example, a final rule to incorporate a statement of guiding principles in the Federal Acquisition Regulation was published in July 1995. A Guide to Best Practices for Performance-Based Service Contracting was developed and issued by OFPP in April 1996 to encourage greater use of performance-based service contracting. The guide is designed to assist agencies in defining their requirements in terms of performance standards rather than in terms of how the work is to be done. This practice has significantly reduced the cost of large service contracts.

OFPP is also encouraging agencies to consider use of oral presentations in lieu of detailed written proposals to streamline the negotiation process and reduce costs associated with preparing and evaluating proposals. These types of reforms, in combination with the additional flexibilities authorized by FARA and ITMRA, are enabling government buyers to maximize the return on taxpayer dollars.

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the General Services Administration (GSA) are developing acquisition workforce education and training materials and opportunities to encourage innovation among the acquisition workforce. In addition, OFPP in a joint partnership with NPR, GSA, DOD, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the nonprofit Council for Excellence in Government has developed the Acquisition Reform Network. This Internet Web site provides both public and private sectors with access to federal acquisition information, including a reference material tool kit, an electronic conferencing forum, training packages, descriptions of acquisition best practices, and acquisition opportunity links. Also, the Administration is strongly committed to streamlining procurement through electronic commerce and is heavily involved in promoting electronic dissemination via mechanisms such as electronic catalogs, purchase cards, and the Acquisition Reform Network.

In addition, the President's Management Council led efforts to provide a performance management focus to the procurement system. A council subgroup shared knowledge and innovative practices across government and developed a set of procurement performance measures that will shift the system from a focus on process to a focus on outcomes. Agencies have agreed to develop performance measurement plans by October 1996 and to begin using them to measure quality, timeliness, price, and productivity of the procurement system.

Navigation Bar For NPR site Back To The NPR Main Page Search the NPR Site NPR Initiatives Links to Other Reinvention Web Sites Reinvention Tools Frequently Asked Questions NPR Speeches NPR News Releases