We have witnessed a lot of contracting movement as a result of the Acquisition Advisory Panel's report in 2007. The contracting Councils have churned out rules for public comment, OFPP has been revising contracting policies, the Hill has been active in proposing legislation, and the contracting industry has been on the defensive.
The GAO has also been active releasing substantive contracting reports (with very boring titles) on the revolving door, outsourcing, and weaknesses at the Small Business Administration (see our blog post from yesterday for more on Fortune 500 companies receiving small biz money).
Another problem that has received some government and media attention is sole source contracting. The DHS IG, EPA IG, and most recently, DOD, have all released reports or policy memos that show poor internal controls, substandard market research, breakdowns in obtaining required prior concurrences and approvals, a lack of documentation, a "[f]ailure to use available pricing information or adequately document fair and reasonable price determinations," and other sole source-related problems.
Despite those concerns, the government last week patted itself on the back for awarding 64% of its contracts with some form of competition. Let's cheer mediocrity! What is the government doing to improve that number, to limit sole source contracts, to decrease the number of single bid contracts (see page 7 of 10), and to promote genuine competition?
As the private sector knows, competition is essential to getting great deals on the best goods and services. Uncle Sam has to do a better job at providing opportunities to small, medium, and large contractors to create an active market where taxpayers can be assured that the government is protecting our interests and meeting its mission.
-- Scott Amey