In April 2014, the National Dialogue was launched by the Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) Council in conjunction with the FAR Council, the Chief Information Officers Council, the General Services Administration and OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy. With the use of social media, the National Dialogue collected feedback from the public about the rules, requirements and procedures that create barriers to the Federal market and ideas about how to improve the system. The website, “Open Dialogue on Improving Federal Procurement” can be found here. According to the website, the intent of the dialogue was to provide an opportunity for the public to discuss potential improvements to the Federal contracting process—think of it as a social media Myth-Busters effort! The dialogue was divided into three campaigns:
- Campaign 1: Reporting and compliance requirements
- Campaign 2: Procurement Rules and practices
- Campaign 3: Participation by small and minority business, new entrants, and non-traditional government contractors
For each of these campaigns, the public was invited to provide insight, ideas and feedback on potential improvements that could be accomplished through executive action (regulatory, administrative or management) as well as through legislation. The public recommendations for improvements were posted under each campaign with the corresponding opportunity to vote/endorse individual recommendations.
In May, OMB posted the final results of the National Dialogue on Federal procurement. The Coalition for Government Procurement’s (“the Coalition’s”) reform recommendations topped the list of ideas to improve the Federal acquisition system and increase access to the Federal market. The following Coalition recommendations made the final top 10 list in the National Dialogue, based on the number of votes received:
- Reduce Extensive Data Collection Requirements
- Remove the Price Reductions Clause and Reform Pricing for the Multiple Award Schedules
- Address Burdensome Ordering Procedures for Blanket Purchasing Agreements (BPAs)
- Reduce Contract Duplication
- Increase Clarity of Intellectual Property (IP) Rights- GSA Schedules
- Implement Other Direct Costs-GSA Schedules
- Reduce Restrictive Experience Requirements- GSA Schedules
The results of the National Dialogue are a strong statement for improving the GSA Schedules program. Collectively these recommendations would transform the GSA Schedules program into an innovation portal for government customers and commercial firms; a streamlined, efficient and effective marketplace where customer agencies could access the latest commercial technologies, services and products. The Coalition’s reform recommendations will reduce barriers to entry into the Federal market thereby increasing competition, reducing cost, and promoting access to commercial innovation for government customers.
Significantly, the Coalition’s recommendations can all be accomplished through executive action. OMB and the CAO Council are expected to review the results of the National Dialogue and determine the next steps to remove barriers and burdens in Federal procurement. The Coalition looks forward to the implementation of the top recommendations received in the dialogue, which will lead to a more efficient and effective acquisition system for agencies and the American taxpayer.