2023 PSC Acquisition Policy Survey
Released on June 22, 2023
Click here to download a pdf of the report.
THE 2023 SURVEY RECOMMENDS DECISION POINTS FOR FEDERAL LEADERSHIP:
Budget Challenges: Decision Points for Federal Leadership
- Agency respondents stated plainly the need for normalization of appropriations. Respondents say that both industry and the government have roles in pushing for a return to a normal appropriations process:
- “Industry must be more active in advocating, forcefully, for a return to a normal budgeting process. It will benefit all constituencies.”
- “We need a budget process to achieve a more agile procurement process.”
- “There must be a reset to normal budget cycle.”
- “we should never have shutdowns. Budgets should be passed timely as soon as possible. Vote for consistency to stabilize government,..and it will trickle down to better industry receipt in contracts."
Acquisition Strategies: Decision Points for Federal Leadership
- Survey respondents ranked most strategies/tools by most beneficial to successful acquisition outcomes. This year’s survey unpacks these priorities and how they interrelate. Decision points for federal leadership exist to address how best to align goals and grow the vendor base:
- Ways to grow vendor participation through multi-agency contract vehicles and incentivize continued vendor engagement in long-term contracts,
- Mature the narrative of Best-in-Class (e.g., terms and conditions, data) so agencies understand how best to fit their needs into the BIC architecture:
- ”People are buying contracts instead of companies.”
- “providing data is not Best-in-class; having great terms and conditions is Best-in-Class.”
- Align Best-in-Class, small business, and cross-cutting Small Disadvantaged Business goals without compromising integrity of any goal:
- “there are Best-in-Class and competition goals that have to be met and they all don’t go hand in hand.”
- Clarify—and make consistent across vehicles—allowable teaming arrangements to support mutually beneficial partnerships:
- ”A surge of joint ventures has occurred, but we cannot guarantee that any joint venture is helping small business.”
- Support small business growth beyond set-aside-status levels:
- “We create these terrific partnerships with small businesses, and they get familiar with our mission and they’re great partners. But because they’re so good and successful, they’ll graduate out of the small business program. With our aggressive small business goals, we lose access to that talent pool that we’ve worked hard to cultivate and build. For me and our offices, that’s frustrating that our small business are so successful and then can’t support us. At the macro level, the increased idea for and the hard cutoff for small businesses—we lose capabilities as a federal Agency and toss aside those businesses as they cross some threshold, and we have to start over.”
Acquisition Workforce – Decision Points for Federal Leadership
- Only five percent of respondents prefer in-office work. Most respondents said that adopting greater levels of remote work result in efficiencies and are critical to staff hiring and retention.
- “Zoom and Teams have increased effectiveness and efficiency…you can just pick up the phone and call folks… flexibility helps a lot. The quality of procurement staff has increased over time, we have been able to accommodate people who may not have wanted to move to DC, and have resulted in better talent and better collaboration.”
- Our workforce has grown since 2020. If we all are to come back to office, we won’t fit”.
- Our survey and interviews demonstrated surprising results – that while the government still has difficulty attracting a new generation of workers, employees leave mostly to other agencies and components, instead of to retirement, resignation, or private industry.
- Government hires need to be promoted quickly. Promotion takes training, and acquisition training takes time. Seventy-seven percent of officials found it difficult for agencies to hire or train employees with needed skills.
- “we turn to contractors for trained professionalism –especially for knowledge of legacy systems. This is reaching a crisis-level.”
- Decision points exist for federal leaders to better hire, train and retain professionals:
- Rethinking the workplace model to address needed shifts in agency cultures and mindset – and allowing common-sense use of remote work and thinking through second order effects, including but not limited to adequate budgeting for IT.
- Identifying and resolving bottlenecks in hiring and incentive processes that should be flexible to attract mid-level, generalist, and younger generations.
Communication and Collaboration with Industry—Decision Points for Leadership
- This survey found 67 percent of respondents believe that communication and collaboration with industry has gotten better over the last two years and 70 percent of respondents believe that communication and collaboration with industry will get better over the next 2-3 years.
- “I really appreciate when our contractor partners help connect us with other government Agencies to understand how they have handled situations. If left to our own devices, we often stay within our bubble. It helps and it is educational. It goes a long way with appreciation of the partners I work with.”
- You can just reach out. We meet with contractors we can trust.
- In ranking the most effective methods of communicating, Requests for Information (RFI) were top-rated.
- “I’m always going to tell you to respond to sources sought and Requests for Information. Almost all of what we do is driven by market research results. If you see us doing something stupid, say something. There are plenty of large businesses that contact me all the time. Do we really need to have 35 evaluation factors on a simple acquisition? No, 2-3 are enough.”
- Decision points exist for federal leaders and industry executives to enhance communication and collaboration with industry:
- Create partnership, rather than impersonal and infrequent relationships between contractors and contracting authorities
- Collaborate between industry and government to think through missions and execute concepts to completion
- To ask questions and present well-researched options for government consideration
- Be open, honest, flexible, and, frankly, nice to federal partners. It’s an often thankless job
Recording of the Report Release at the 2023 Federal Acquisition Conference