OMB’s Latest Guidance on Reforming Federal Procurement Practices

On October 27, 2009, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued updated guidance on its efforts to reform government procurement. Following the President’s March 4 Memorandum setting forth the Administration’s goals to reform federal procurement practices, this most recent guidance provides insight on how to (1) increase the capacity and capability of the civilian agency acquisition workforce, and (2) increase competition and structure contracts for attaining the best results.

The OMB’s plan on increasing the capacity and capability of the civilian agency acquisition workforce identifies the need for workforce growth and provides the following tools toward achieving this growth:

  1. A comprehensive annual workforce planning process to be managed by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP), in consultation with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), through FY 2014;
  2. A blueprint for increasing the use of intern programs and other training and development initiatives; and
  3. A five-year action plan to improve workforce development efforts and the workforce management infrastructure.

Acknowledging that in order for these reforms to be successful each agency must make human capital planning an integral part of its strategic planning process, this guidance requires that federal civilian agencies develop an annual human capital plan. This pan is to include strategies and goals for increasing the capacity and capability of the agency’s workforce as well as hiring and training requirements tailored to the needs of the particular agency.

The OMB’s plan on increasing competition and structuring contracts for the best results requires agencies to consider their success in each of the following areas of procurement:

  1. Maximizing competition;
  2. Mitigating risk when using noncompetitive or cost-reimbursement contracts; and
  3. Creating opportunities to transition to competitive contracts.

Analyzing an agency’s response to the above categories will enable the OFPP to determine how successful the agency has been at increasing competition and structuring contracts since the March 4 Memorandum. Having evaluated an agency’s success in these areas, OFPP will work with procurement officers to identify best practices, create corrective action plans, and implement new techniques and strategies.

Visit the OMB website,, for the full text of this guidance.

For additional information, contact the attorneys at Eckland & Blando.