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What is the first thing you do when you start answering a federal government request for proposal (RFP)? For many, it is go to the Statement of Work, or Section C of the document. However, I advise to begin with the evaluation criteria, usually found in Section M. Why? Because the art of writing a winning proposal involves understanding how the evaluation will be conducted, what are the factors the government evaluators will be looking for, and those important differentiators that will result in your win themes. Here is a great article on using the evaluation criteria as the driver of your response.
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This is the first article in a series during which we will look at the most common types of public sector procurement fraud. And here is a secret. They are not very different from the most common in private sector procurement. There are perhaps some angles that apply particularly when we have a very regulated and structured process, as we often do in public procurement. But the basic principles are similar everywhere goods and services are being purchased and supplied. Today, we offer a "fraud classification" model, based broadly on when during the overall procurement process the fraud takes place. We will give just a simple and short description of each...
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Even in times of austerity, the public sector still recruits procurement people. Some will come from other public sector roles, whilst others will be looking to make the transition from the private sector into the government world. So based on personal experience, as an interviewee, a CPO looking to recruit, and an independent interviewer and selection panel member for senior roles, here are four tips. They are mainly aimed at people looking to move from the private sector, but we hope they also contain some worthwhile points for anyone, even internal public sector candidates. Do your research on the organisation There is no excuse these...
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The following is a legacy piece from our archives: We listed our six challenges for public procurement in 2015 at the beginning of the month. Here they are again. Challenge no.1; Implementation of New Directives Challenge no.2; Austerity continues Challenge no.3; Social issues Challenge no. 4; Value and Innovation Challenge no.5; The Fight against corruption Challenge no.6; Capability and competence Today, let’s look at austerity – not something that’s a lot of fun to consider, but important for the context in which public procurement operates. Whilst every country in Europe is facing somewhat...
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This is our weekly European public procurement news roundup, reporting on how more than a trillion Euros of taxpayer money is being spent. MEPs Ratify EU Trade Deal with Canada MEPs have now voted to back the controversial EU-Canada trade deal called CETA. The agreement removes about 99% of tariffs and it is projected to come into force, provisionally, as early as April. Crowds protested and attempted to block access to the European parliament building in Strasbourg ahead of the vote, which culminated with 408 votes for and 254 against, with 33 abstentions. Critics argue the deal will erode labour laws and environmental standards and give multinational...
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Regular blog readers will hardly be surprised to learn that I am an advocate for innovation in the procurement system, and in government management in general. This does not reflect a view that all innovations are good things. Some innovations could probably have been predicted not to work in advance (and thus probably never should have been tried). For others, trying the innovation was a justified risk to take, but after the fact we can clearly conclude that it turned out not to work. Nonetheless, I characterize myself as a cheerleader for innovation for two reasons. One is that if we believe -- as I suspect most observers do -- there is a performance...
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CIO Says "Four Horsemen of Federal IT" Create Obstacles The General Services Administration (GSA) has renamed its Office of Integrated Technology Service to the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC), to better reflect the agency's focus on category management. In a new blog post, ITC Assistant Commissioner Mary Davie said the rebranding is to focus the agency more on providing acquisition expertise to agencies. "Helping agencies find the best solutions using our technological and acquisition expertise regardless of where they reside, rather than advocating for any specific GSA contract solution," wrote Davie. "Yes, you read this correctly....
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CIO Says "Four Horsemen of Federal IT" Create Obstacles The General Services Administration (GSA) has renamed its Office of Integrated Technology Service to the Office of Information Technology Category (ITC), to better reflect the agency's focus on category management. In a new blog post, ITC Assistant Commissioner Mary Davie said the rebranding is to focus the agency more on providing acquisition expertise to agencies. "Helping agencies find the best solutions using our technological and acquisition expertise regardless of where they reside, rather than advocating for any specific GSA contract solution," wrote Davie. "Yes, you read this correctly....
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With 2016 being one of the most active years for federal IT contracts, 2017 is shaping up to be one the most competitive. Several large, high-ceiling, government-wide acquisition contracting vehicles (GWACs) hit the street last calendar year, with approximately $200 billion in IT contracts, spread across 300 various opportunities, according to the contracting experts at Deltek. Deltek’s data analysis indicates that industry should be able to compete on approximately 1,400 federal IT opportunities in 2017, with a combined value of approximately $100 billion—or about half of last year’s total. However, one of the most active agencies...
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Category management is more than just setting up categories, appointing lead buyers to category managers, and then calling it category management. This article discusses the need to have an integrated category management function into the procurement function, and how to be successful by increasing economies of scale, and lowering procurement costs. Good roadmap for federal government efforts, perhaps? Integrated Category Management – The Apple of Procurement’s Eye
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Continuing from Part 1 yesterday on how public purchasers can do things differently to help promote human rights in the supply chain – an LUPC initiative suggests the tender stage is Not where to start. To carry out due diligence properly, the buyer needs to be in a close working relationship with the supplier. There’s neither the time nor resources to do this with a whole group of bidders in a tender process, it’s just not practical. And anyway, with supply chains constantly on the move, the exercise would be out of date before the contract can be awarded. Moreover, to make effective use of limited resources, public purchasers need...
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OIG and 18F Spar Over Security The General Services Administration's (GSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) claimed in a new report issued today that 18F, the agency's digital startup, "routinely disregarded and circumvented fundamental security policies and guidelines." The OIG took issue with the outfit's use of unapproved software, such as the social media tool Hootsuite. But 18F staffers were unconvinced by the charges. This, from Nextgov: "An 18F staffer who requested anonymity to discuss the report freely told Nextgov the inspector general had not uncovered any genuine security vulnerabilities in 18F systems or processes, only failures to strictly...
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What are the differences between procurement in the public and the private sectors? That is something I have often been asked at conferences and events, and in private conversations, over the years. Sometimes the question is focused on differences in process, or the regulations and policy “rules” that govern procurement, or on the skills and knowledge either needed or generally possessed by people in each sector. It is not an easy question to answer. Making generalisations is dangerous – there would be huge differences between procurement in a large international food manufacturer, and in a purely national IT services company, yet both...
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Last summer, the US government laid out the ground rules for a policy requiring the release of source code for federally-funded websites, apps, and other software projects. The new rules, called the Federal Source Code policy , include a mandate for federal agencies to open source at least 20% of the code they develop over the next three years. These changes, as spelled out in the policy, promise to overhaul how the government interacts with vendors on technology projects. For a great synopsis on the policy, and what it means to sell software to the federal government with the policy, click here.
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The issues facing mid-tier companies are complex, as they are too big to be small, and too small to compete with large firms and the top federal government contractors. Although selling the firm is an option, many firms may not want to partake in M&A activity and remain viable players in the market. Bloomberg Government released a report titled, Mid-Tier Paradox, Too Small to Compete, Too Big to Survive , in which they studied mid-tier successes in federal contracting. It is worth a read, as some of the strategies outlined include agency and legislative support options such as: Extending flexible teaming arrangements to mid-sized companies...
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Andy Davies, Director of London Universities Purchasing Consortium (LUPC), is passionate about what public purchasers can reasonably do to support and address the issues around human exploitation in the supply chain. He and his team have come up with, what some may consider, a controversial idea – and we would greatly appreciate thoughts from the wider public sector. On 24 March this year, the UK House of Commons gives a second reading of a Private Member’s Bill to amend the Modern Slavery Act 2015, such that the same responsibilities for transparency in supply chains befall public authorities as currently apply to 12,000 UK businesses. This...
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Legislators Introduce Two New Bills on Contracting Preferences Lawmakers have introduced two new bills that would open up two new groups of businesses to receive preferences when bidding on federal contracts. The first bill, the RETAIN Act, was introduced by Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), and would modify the U.S. Code for both civilian and defense contracts, "adding a preference for contractors that promise to retain jobs in the United States." The second bill, a bipartisan effort from Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), is called the Boosting Rates of American Veterans Employment (BRAVE) Act. The bill would extend the Department of Veterans Affairs'...
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Lawmakers have introduced two new bills in the House and the Senate, each aimed at giving separate groups preference in federal contracting. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) has proposed the RETAIN Act, which would modify the U.S. Code for both civilian and defense contracts, "adding a preference for contractors that promise to retain jobs in the United States." According to a press release about the bill, to be eligible for the preference, bidding companies and their subcontractors would have to submit a certification that they would not relocate jobs to another country during the period of performance of the contract. A company would also have to certify that it...
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Hi everyone, I wanted to let the community know about an opportunity for procurement professionals who consider themselves experts in FAA's Acquisition Management System . Qualified candidates would need to feel confident writing SOWs, developing IGCE’s, crafting acquisition strategies, and helping customers define requirements, all in accordance with AMS. If you're interested, please connect with me and I'll share the PD. Or feel free to ask any questions in our discussion forum and we'll get them answered by the prospective employer. -Frank
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Think Big, Start Small with Agile Former General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator Dan Tangherlini writes a guide to implementing agile practices in acquisition. Tangherlini urges organizations to "start small," by focusing on small programs or programs that can be broken up into smaller components. He also writes that while risk may be a concern when it comes to moving quickly, "The biggest risk is delay. Allowing failing or underperforming systems to remain in place is the biggest risk a program can take…. Simple and focused implementations using commercially available products are the smartest and safest way to make big improvements...
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Investment in Mid-tier Advocacy provides year-long visibility and exposure across targeted industry and thought leadership areas, reaching the largest number of people over the greatest period of time. Payment plans are available. Check out the different sponsorship opportunities for Mid-Tier Advocacy. Read More ... Download
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In March 2015, GSA released the Alliant 2 Draft Request for Proposal. This contract’s estimated value is $65 Billion dollar represents approximately 8% of the Federal IT budget over ten years and provides leading edge and advanced Information Technology Services to Federal agencies and the DoD. Mid-Tier Advocacy, Inc. raises issues with the $65 billion Alliant 2 contract from the General Services Administration. Read More ... Download
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Mid-tier government contractors are too big to be small – and are thus ineligible for mandated government contract quotas – and too small to be big, missing the benefits of scale that drives both business development reach and operational cost efficiencies. This report was produced by Citizen's Bank . Read More ... Download
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Section 809 is from the National Defense Authorization Act. The National Defense Authorization Act’s purpose is to “authorize appropriations for military activities of the Department of Defense, for military construction, and for defense activities of the Department of Energy, to prescribe military personnel strengths, and for other purposes.” [1] The Department of Defense recently launched the panel with the sole purpose to advise and streamline acquisition regulations and a focus on five target areas. These target areas are “to establish and administer appropriate buyer and seller relationships in the procurement system; Improve...
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In this report, researchers spoke with numerous participants in the federal government's small-business set-aside program to learn what works, what doesn't work, and what makes the investment to chase federal contracts worthwhile. The following document is a part of Public Spend Forum's Mid-Tier Advocacy Community, and requires membership. Read More ...
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