Agencies Could Use Improvement in Contracting Forecast Data

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According to an industry group study, most federal agencies aren’t sharing details about  their upcoming acquisitions needs as well as they could.

The federal government has room to improve in providing effective contracting forecasts to industry, according to the Professional Services Council, which represents some 400 companies that workt with federal agencies.

PSC’s second Federal Business Forecast Scorecard, which evaluated 60 agencies on 15 “key attributes” necessary for an effective forecast, found 28 of the agencies reviewed “needed improvement,” while five agencies—including the Air Force, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Agriculture Department—do not provide forecasts.

PSC rated 16 agencies as “good,” which represented an improvement from PSC’s 2019 forecast.

“PSC is pleased to see substantial improvement in several agencies even as we continue to encourage all federal agencies to refine the information made available to industry,” Alan Chvotkin, PSC executive vice president and counsel, said in a statement. “Clear project needs enable contractors to plan for the needed personnel and resources to compete successfully for U.S. government contracts, thus resulting in better proposals and shorter award decision timelines allowing programs to commence in timely fashion. The benefit to agencies is that companies can prepare better and earlier in the procurement lifecycle to perform on contracts. Agency needs are met, measurable results are achieved, and competition keeps costs down.”

PSC bases its scores on the following 15 attributes: electronically sortable information; date modified; frequency of updates; level of project description detail; dollar value; program point of contact email; program office and buying office; proper codes specified for each opportunity; small business set aside information; contract vehicle; anticipated solicitation release date; action/award type; anticipated award date and award period of performance.

Speaking at a July 13 event announcing the forecast, Chvotkin praised the Navy Information Systems Warfare Command as for making “among the most improvement” of any agencies. The Department of Homeland Security also made strides, with eight DHS components scoring in the “good” category compared to five achieving that rating in 2019.  The U.S. Agency for International Development and Education Department topped the ratings. Addressing the agencies that needed improvement, Chvotkin said they were “not failures, but in our judgment many of these agencies can do a lot more to address the attributes and make these more valuable to member companies.”

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