Modernizing the Federal Workforce

Transformation of the Federal Workforce

The current Administration says it is making progress towards transforming the federal workforce and framework that governs it. Over the summer, low-scoring agencies improved employee engagement and chose executives to lead upcoming workforce initiatives.

Development is slow but headed in the direction of preparing the federal workforce for “future” skills while addressing hiring and performance management frustrations. The goal is to have a simplified hiring process, while giving agencies more flexibility, in place by March of 2019. (On average it took 106 days to hire a new employee in 2017.)

Employee and Performance Engagement

During the summer, NIH piloted a tool for employee and performance engagement, the Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS). This tool has helped low-performing agencies find opportunities to improve employee engagement. OPM drafted guidance to help low-performing agencies improve the FEVS scores. In the future, all agencies will be asked to give OPM more detail on their plans to improve engagement.

Federal Workforce/ Private Sector Workforce

By April of 2019, results from a study of the federal government’s compensation package will be available to compare to the private sector.  Among other tasks, all supervisors and managers are scheduled to have performance management training, which will align the federal to the private sector workforce.

The goal of these new plans, measures, and tools is to prepare the federal workforce for future skills and address long-held performance management and hiring practices.

Please call EZGSA at 301-913-5000, if we can answer any questions.

Reverse Auction is Reversed!

GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) is decommissioning the ReverseAuctions (RA) platform on September 30, 2018. The RA platform will not be available for either the creation or management of auctions after this date. Auctions with end dates after October 1, 2018, will be allowed to conclude as scheduled, and GSA will maintain RA system access for users, allowing for the retrieval of auction related documents through December 31, 2018.

Note: FSSI OS3 vendors can continue to log in and bid on OS3 auctions.

 

Federal Travelers take note: GSA releases FY2019 Per Diem Rates

You knew it was coming …. GSA released the fiscal year (FY) 2019 travel per diem rates, which will take effect on October 1, 2018. GSA sets these rates for the Continental United States annually. Rates are based on local market costs of mid-priced hotels, lodging per diem rates provide caps, or maximum amounts, that can be reimbursed to federal employees for lodging and meals while on official travel.

For more information on FY 2019 travel per diem rates, please visit www.gsa.gov/perdiem.

 

 

FAS Boss Talks Shop

In a recent interview, Alan Thomas, the Federal Acquisition Service commissioner, promises that agency customer and industry partners are helping to drive the schedules’ modernization strategy. This includes making it easier to buy products and services, such as allowing agencies to combine products and services —  order level materials (OLMs) or other direct costs (ODCs) — under one buy. Although the impact will likely not be felt until 2019, vendors and buyers can take advantage of the change today, according to Thomas. The “one buy” option requires a contract modification and special item number addition.  

Another major change is the elimination of minimum purchase thresholds, which is extremely helpful for those needing only one of an item, and not 5 or 10.

The next fiscal year is likely to see major changes to the Schedules program. Thomas said FAS will possibly consolidate schedules down to one or a smaller set of Schedule contracts, in order to make it easier for customer purchasing. This will remove the difficulty of figuring out which schedule to buy from in perceived overlaps. Thomas wants to reduce confusion for agency customers and make it less burdensome for vendors who may be managing many schedules. Implementation of this change would not take place until late 2019 or possibly 2020.

Another change Thomas is looking to implement is the reduction in the number of contractors on schedules, beginning with those who have not had any sales in two or more years. Schedule holders, be aware: sell your products/services through the Schedule and claim these on your 72(a) to ensure you aren’t on the chopping block. 

Other major changes coming to schedules revolve around transparency and fee adjustments. Thomas said vendors must be able to see what agencies are buying through RFQs or task orders so they know whether the Schedules are being utilized.  Will the new e-Buy pilot provide that transparency? Who knows. And we wonder what making the fee structure consistent across Schedules will actually ‘look’ like.

Finally, GSA and VA are trying to improve their collaboration across similar contracts. Thomas said VA is looking at the technology that GSA uses to manage its Schedule program and global supply program for more control, visibility and greater efficiencies in its micro-purchase expenditures.

Mass Modification to Incorporate OLMs

Order-Level Materials Now Featured on Schedules

Image result for OLM gsa

The new GSAR incorporating OLMs into the Multiple Award Schedule program should simplify buying and selling procurement solutions through MAS.

Quick Recap: OLMs, or Order-Level Materials are supplies or services. Agencies acquire OLMs in direct support of a task or a delivery order on an existing Schedule contract or BPA. Types, quantities, and prices of OLMs are not known or established when contracts and BPAs are awarded.

What’s New: This authority adds flexibility to existing Schedules programs on other commercial IDIQ vehicles. It also saves time and money, decreases the number of new contracts, and decreases barriers posed by unanticipated needs.

Opting-in: To start providing OLMs, partners need to accept a mass modification which adds the terms and conditions to current contracts and verify subscriptions to the MAS Interact Group. When contractors opt in, they can compete for more orders and reduce additional bid and proposal costs.

The removal of some barriers to entry into the federal marketplace means that small business are better able to compete for orders.

As always, if you have questions, feel free to contact us at 301-913-5000 or admin@ezgsa.com