New contracts for government services?

GovExec reported yesterday on a recommendation that GSA create a new type of contract for services acquisitions, arguing that existing contracts are geared more towards buying goods. This will create a whole lot of change in government IT contracting, if it goes ahead, so I have to wonder what problem it aims to solve. Is there not enough competition for government IT contracts right now? Is the government not getting value for money? Or is the procurement process too slow? Or is it something else entirely? Before proposing a recommendation, I think the data needs to be examined to understand the problem we’re aiming to solve. 

Some of the other recommendations seem to make a lot of sense: 

  • GSA should conduct market research on a continual basis
  • At least three bids should be required for every procurement exceeding $100,000
  • Task order purchases and sole source acquisitions valued above $100,000 should be posted to FedBizOpps
  • Protest opportunities should be extended to task and delivery orders above $5 million

I’m particularly in favor of the idea of having more transparency about task orders. Ever tried to get good, deep data on a government-wide acquisition contract? Every single one has a different method of providing that information, if they provide it at all. Unless you have access to FedSources, INPUT, or a similar tool, you’re basically committed to a long time searching for the information.