In late June or in July, agencies will be able to get free help preparing to contract for support in meeting staffing reductions ordered by the Office of Management and Budget in its April Memorandum 17-22 on reforming government.
The offer came early this month in a message to and phone call with chief human capital, learning and acquisition officers and procurement executives and officials named by agencies to be accountable for the 17-22 reform initiative. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Personnel Management, General Services Administration and Defense Acquisition University are teaming up to help agencies meet the requirements of 17-22, which include producing a full workforce reduction plan for delivery in September along with fiscal 2019 budget submissions.
The several-agency 17-22 assistance effort will produce interagency outreach events providing hands-on guidance in a Defense Department practice–Services Acquisition Workshops (SAWs)–for improving contracts for services.
Defense requires the use of Services Acquisition Workshops for all such procurements worth $1 billion or more and recommends them for all services buys valued at $100 million and up. The workshops embed facilitators with the multifunctional integrated project teams chartered to run services acquisitions. The idea is to assist those teams in accomplishing DoD’s seven steps to services acquisition, especially developing requirements for services that are clear, precise, understandable, accurate and can be used to build effective solicitations for performance-based contracts. Performance-basing means that the government refrains from specifying how companies are to perform the work and instead focuses on articulating the outcomes buyers seek and crafting contractor performance metrics and incentives to elicit those results.
The 17-22 assistance seeks to help agencies come up with performance-based contracts for training and development, human capital strategy services and organizational performance improvement. The support events are intended to help agencies purchase services using the government-wide Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCaTS) contracts, which have been designated as best-in-class by the government-wide Human Capital Category Manager under the category management initiative launched in 2014 by OFPP. The initiative seeks to improve management of more than $270 billion in 10 categories of common spending across government, including professional services, information technology, facilities, construction and more.
Tiffany Hixson, Category Executive for Professional Services and GSA Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner for the Northwest and Arctic Region said she hopes to see SAWs used across civilian agencies as well as the Defense Department for significant services acquisitions. Hixson spoke at the June 13 Acquisition Excellence Conference sponsored by the American Council for Technology (ACT) and Industry Advisory Council (IAC).