recommended reading

The Cost of Better Data on Bundled Federal Contracts? $1 Million.

agsandrew/Shutterstock.com

A bill that would require agencies to do a better job of reporting when they combine what could be smaller contracts into a single solicitation would cost about $1 million over five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The 2014 Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act aims to improve how agencies report their consolidated and bundled contracts. Agencies consolidate contracts by including multiple requirements in a single solicitation, and if the resulting contract becomes unsuitable for small businesses to bid on -- because it’s too large or diverse, for instance  -- it's considered a bundled contract. Agencies are supposed to identify and then justify the move when they've either consolidated or bundled a contract.

CBO said it believed agency data on consolidated and bundled contracts is already available, but the analysis conceded that the Small Business Administration would require better software to retrieve that data from the Federal Procurement Data System. The software upgrade would cost about $1 million between 2014 and 2019, CBO said.

Small business advocates argue that the real problem is federal procurement officials are not properly reporting their consolidated contracts.

The vast majority of consolidated federal contracts -- more than 80 percent in 2011 and 2012 -- are awarded by the Defense Department and the General Services Administration, but the Government Accountability Office found in November 2013 that these agencies didn’t even know how many they had consolidated. “This is the result of contracts being misreported in the federal procurement data system,” GAO said at the time, adding that the agencies frequently called contracts consolidated when they were not and didn’t when they were.

Part of the reporting problem stems from recent changes in the requirements. Legislation passed in 2010 expanded the reporting requirements to all civilian agencies and lowered the threshold for bundling justification to contracts with an expected value of at least $2 million -- previously it was $6 million.

Defense, GSA and SBA all concurred with the recommendations in the GAO report, and those efforts are already underway. Defense agreed to update its acquisition policy to reflect the lower threshold for reporting and GSA said it would swiftly implement new rules.

Still, Rep. Sam Graves, R-Mo., introduced the Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act in the House earlier this year as part of a suite of small business-related legislation he hopes will be included in the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. The House Small Business Committee was able to get its legislation included in the 2012 and 2013 final NDAA bills.

“Improving small business opportunities for federal contracts is a triple play,” Graves told the House Armed Services Committee in April. “Small businesses win more contracts; workers win as the small businesses create jobs; and taxpayers win because small businesses bring competition, innovation and lower prices to save the government money and improve the health of the industrial base.”

(Image via agsandrew/Shutterstock.com)

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.