The 2003 federal budget rates agencies on five different management criteria. In the category of "competitive sourcing," every agency gets a failing grade.
By Joel Russell
HISPANIC BUSINESS® magazine
As part of the FY 2003 federal budget, the Office of Management & Budget (OMB) has developed a management scorecard for government agencies. The scorecard ranks agencies on five criteria using a “traffic light” methodology: green for meeting the standards, yellow for meeting some but not all standards, and red for serious lapses. Among the 14 Cabinet-level departments in the federal bureaucracy, 10 receive all red marks (see table). A few agencies receive passing yellow marks in several categories, but all fail in “competitive sourcing.” In the context of the scorecard, competitive sourcing refers to outsourcing government jobs, not the procurement of goods and services. Under the plan, approximately one-quarter of all federal workers will have their jobs put out to bid. The main offices heading up the competitive-sourcing initiative are the OMB and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP). OFPP Deputy Associate Administrator Jack Kalavritinos has already met with all major agencies to identify which jobs are commercial enough for the private sector to handle. Opening up the federal bureaucracy to competition offers opportunities to minority firms, but “in the past, these [outsourcing] competitions have been fraught with controversy, given the likelihood of the lost jobs and suspicions by contractors about an uneven playing field with federal officials controlling the outcomes,” according to Federal Executive magazine. Officials agree on the need to set clear rules before the outsourcing begins. “I am concerned that OFPP has not examined whether the ‘efficient procurement model’ may have compromised competition, fairness, integrity, and transparency, including the promotion of small and disadvantaged businesses,” says OFPP Administrator Angela Styles, who took over the office in May 2001. “The challenge for … OFPP will be to balance the obvious benefits of increased efficiencies with the maintenance of fundamental concepts of competition, due process, and transparency.” For more information on competitive sourcing, contractors should visit the OFPP Web site (www.arnet.gov) and the online version of the federal budget at OMB (www.omb.gov).
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