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FCW : January 2016
Anne Rung — the intelligent, person- able administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy — is the government’s senior procurement pol- icy official. On the job for a little over a year, she counts among her proud- est achievements an innovative digi- tal training effort and the new policy for IT commodity buying that tweaks the balance between getting volume discounts and giving agency manag- ers the freedom to order exactly what they want. I would like to propose a signature initiative for Rung for the final year of the Obama administration. I sug- gest she reverse the failure spiral that has devastated the government’s effort to factor in contractors’ past perfor- mance when making new contract awards. The way to do that: repeal the ability of contractors disappointed with their past-performance rating to have the decision reviewed at a higher level in the contracting organization. If Rung is willing to take this on, it has the potential to be a game changer for government contracting. Why is it so important for the gov- ernment to consider past performance when making new contract awards? For a market economy to work, cus- tomers must be able to use their buy- ing decisions to reward suppliers that have treated them well in the past (by buying a product or service again) and punishing those that haven’t (by look- ing elsewhere the next time). In our everyday lives, we apply this principle constantly: If a barber or hairdresser cut your hair well the last time, you are more likely to return to the same place for a subsequent trim. Still waiting for a revolution Yet until the 1990s, taking past per- formance into account when making new decisions about where to award BY STEVE KELMAN OFPP Administrator Anne Rung has the opportunity to truly improve contractor performance by eliminating the appeals process for reviews Making past performance matter TheLectern If a hairdresser cut your hair well the last time, you’re more likely to return for a subsequent trim. Why should government contracts be any different? 28 January 2016 FCW.COM SHUTTERSTOCK 0116fcw_028-029.indd 28 12/21/15 2:02 PM
November and December 2015