Federal Officials See Improved Acquisition Outlook Despite Challenges
PSC and Grant Thornton Public Sector Release Ninth Biennial Acquisition Policy Survey 

July 18, 2018

Arlington, Va. (July 18, 2018)– Despite ongoing challenges, there is growing optimism about improvements in the federal acquisition arena, according to a new study released today by the Professional Services Council (PSC) and Grant Thornton Public Sector. The ninth biennial Acquisition Policy Survey—the only comprehensive survey of federal acquisition professionals—found that budget instability, hiring difficulties, and regulatory constraints continue to pose challenges. However, respondents were markedly positive about the overall state of acquisition workforce skills—including the ability to execute complex IT acquisitions—the value of communication taking place within agencies and with the private sector, and other elements of the acquisition process.

“This study is reflective of both the current acquisition environment, as well as the lessons we’ve learned over time,” said PSC executive vice president and counsel Alan Chvotkin. “Many of the government respondents have been in the acquisition space for many years and feel confident in their work.”

The survey reflected interviews with 65 officials from across the federal acquisition enterprise and examined how they view the current skill levels, trends, and other issues impacting their ability to do their job.

“This survey gives us a true sense of how policies are impacting decisions across the procurement landscape,” said Eric Heffernan, principal, Grant Thornton Public Sector. “Compared with past years, a real sense of optimism was evident in many areas of this year’s survey.”

The survey covered five areas: Workforce, Budget, Communication and Collaboration, Innovation, and Oversight and Compliance. Among the survey’s key findings:
90% of respondents ranked acquisition workforce capability as the most important factor impacting acquisition outcomes; 75% described the hiring process as difficult.
More than 60% of respondents said budget conditions had deteriorated since 2016 and many did not know what to expect in the future.
Nearly 80% ranked internal and external communication and collaboration as critically important, and most expect improvements over the next two years.
Less than half of respondents viewed innovation as important to successful acquisitions but expressed optimism for improvement in the next two years;
Oversight and compliance were rated lowest in terms of importance to acquisition outcomes, but among the highest when applied to current performance. 

PSC and Grant Thornton will discuss the report at PSC’s media roundtable and luncheon today at 12:30 p.m. EST. RSVP to PSC Media Relations Director Ashlei Stevens at stevens@pscouncil.org. 


Media Contacts:
Ashlei Stevens, PSC
Media Relations Director                                                                           

Carling Spelhaug, Grant Thornton
External Communications Manager
About PSC: PSC is the voice of the government technology and professional services industry. PSC’s nearly 400-member companies represent small, medium and large businesses that provide federal agencies with services of all kinds, including information technology, engineering, logistics, facilities management, operations and maintenance, consulting, international development, scientific, social, environmental services, and more. Together, the trade association’s members employ hundreds of thousands of Americans in all 50 states. Follow PSC on Twitter @PSCSpeaks. To learn more, visit www.pscouncil.org.

About Grant Thornton Public Sector
Grant Thornton Public Sector helps executives and managers at all levels of government maximize their performance and efficiency in the face of ever-tightening budgets and increased demand for services. Grant Thornton Public Sector gives clients creative, cost-effective solutions that enhance their acquisition, financial, human capital, information technology, data analytics and performance management. 

About Grant Thornton LLP
Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton, which has revenues in excess of $1.7 billion and operates 59 offices, works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations. 

“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see grantthornton.com for further details.