Today marks the last Friday before the Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Awards Dinner and our Fall Conference. We are really looking forward to both the events. On October 26th the EIP Awards Dinner will feature Bill Gormley, Chairman of The Coalition for Government Procurement, delivering the Keynote Address entitled “A Time for Trust” reflecting on the importance of trust in successful business relationships including successful government contracts. Dan Gordon, Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy, will provide remarks on the Myth-Busters and improving acquisition outcomes for government, industry and ultimately, the American taxpayer. Steve Kempf, Commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service, will also deliver remarks on the importance of partnership between government and industry. Most importantly, the EIP Awards Dinner honors individuals and organizations that have made a difference in delivering best value to the taxpayer whether through public service or performance of a contract.

On October 27-28th, the Fall Conference, Myth-Busters, Partnership and Challenges, will focus on government and industry dialogue regarding key procurement issues and initiatives. The Honorable Gerry Connolly, Representative from Virginia’s 11th Congressional District, will kick off the conference with the Keynote Address. Dan Gordon and Steve Kempf will also be discussing key policy and contracting initiatives. This year the Conference features panels addressing Strategic Sourcing, Pricing Policies and Procedures, Audits, Sustainability, and th e9/11 Procurement Environment. All the panels include both speakers from government and industry. Our goal for the panels and the attendees is to have an enriching “Myth-Busters” conversation on these key topic areas.

If you haven’t registered for the events, there is still time! These events promise to provide thoughtful, informative and engaging discussions on the contracting and compliance issues of the day.

This month the Comments of the Week have focused on contract duplication. Contract duplication comes in two basic forms, horizontal duplication (too many programs or contracts for the same or similar services or products) and vertical duplication (too many layers within a contracting program). Contact duplication involves government-wide contracts, agency specific contracts, Blanket Purchase Agreements, and multiple agency contracts (MACs). Given the proliferation of contracts, perhaps it is time for a “time-out” to look at what contracts already exist and whether they meet the government’s needs. Further, if it is determined that an existing contract vehicle does not fully address the government’s needs, the first question should be “how can it be improved to meet current needs?” before consideration is given to creating another new acquisition plan and new contract(s).

GSA’s development of a business case addressing the viability of the proposed Integrations contract vehicle also provides a wonderful opportunity to examine the relevant multiple award schedules (e.g. IT Schedule 70, MOBIS, PES, and FABS) and identify potential improvements that would increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the schedules for government customers and contractors. Two areas that should be considered: (1) addressing “other direct costs;” and (2) reinvigorating the Consolidated Schedule program. These two areas have great potential for savings through increased competition, efficiency and effectiveness for the schedules program. It could be a win-win for government and the contractors with the ultimate winner being the American taxpayer.