Yesterday Bill Gormley, Chairman of The Coalition for Government Procurement, and I attended the White House Forum on Accountability in Federal Contracting. The Forum is part of the White House Campaign to Cut Waste. Jeffery Zients, U.S. Chief Performance Officer and OMB’s Deputy Director for Management and Dan Gordon, OMB’s Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy hosted the Forum. Deputy Director Zients and Administrator Gordon announced an initiative to reduce spending on management support services contracts by $6 billion from a projected FY 2012 spend of $40 billion to $34 billion. The focus will be on 15 Product & Service Codes including cost benefit analysis-B505, policy review/development service-R406 and systems engineering services-R497. For a complete list of the codes, please see the Friday Flash article #2 below. It was clear from comments made at the Forum that the Administration will be watching to ensure agencies do not shift work to other Product & Service Codes not included in the initiative.

The Campaign to Cut Waste and the Forum represent a strategic opportunity for GSA and its government wide contract vehicles. During the Forum I had the opportunity to ask Administrator Gordon if the Administration was going to address contract duplication as part of its cost savings efforts. The response was interesting. Administrator Gordon made a strong statement of concern regarding contract duplication. He indicated that OMB has shifted policy guidance to favor use of pre-existing contracts rather than creating new contracts for the same or similar requirements. In addition, we learned that OMB will be coming out with a new business case development policy for future acquisitions which will reinforce the requirement that agencies consider pre-existing contracts first before new contracts. The Coalition strongly supports the Administration’s efforts to reign in unnecessary, duplicative contract vehicles. Contract duplication increases government procurement, contract administration and operational costs. It also increases contractor overhead, bid and proposal costs and contract administration costs. The result is increased costs for the American taxpayer. Efficient and effective use of pre-existing contracts, in particular the GSA Schedules and GWACs, are critical to reducing the cost burden associated with contract duplication. Indeed, during the Forum Administrator Gordon acknowledged GSA Administrator Martha Johnson’s leadership and the positive role GSA plays in meeting the Administration’s procurement goals.

GSA is in the right place at the right time. GSA can play a leading role in tackling the challenge of contract duplication. Streamlined task order competitions via the GSA schedules and GWACs are an effective tool to meet agency mission requirements while reducing transactional costs for both government and industry. For example, Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) using the GSA schedule are a vital tool for agencies in leveraging service and product requirements.

GSA has a wonderful opportunity—the challenge will be to ensure that its contract vehicles and BPAs are structured to effectively meet customer agency needs while providing contractors with sound business opportunities. Use of GSA’s various contract vehicles are a proven win-win for government and industry. The ultimate winner is the taxpayer.

This week the Friday Flash is jam packed with information regarding upcoming Coalition events—please read through the entire Flash. You don’t want to miss out on anything!