According to Bloomberg data, the value of federal contracts awarded using simplified acquisition procedures rose 5.5% to a 10-year high of $21 billion in fiscal 2016. The rise in usage of simplified acquisition follows rule changes made to encourage its use, including raising the threshold for commercial purchases. According to Bloomberg, contracts using simplified acquisition procedures accounted for 4.4% of the $475 billion in discretionary spending obligated in fiscal 2016.
Coalition for Government Procurement President Roger Waldron writes about how the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program could be improved, arguing that its pricing policies are decades out of date. Waldron discusses the ins and outs of the program in the context of President-Elect Donald Trump’s call for the federal government to drive down costs of pharmaceuticals. Some $11 billion of the $14 billion in purchases in the VA’s MAS program are on pharmaceuticals. Waldron also claims the program operates under “a significant number of non-commercial terms and conditions, and burdensome evaluation and award processes.”
State IT and Procurement Officials Join Forces
A meeting organized by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) and the National Association of State Procurement Officials (NASPO) has resulted in an action plan to help modernize procurement practices to match the needs of IT departments. The action plan includes CPOs and CIOs working closely together, early in the process, and centralizing the governance structure to help facilitate collaboration.