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Memorandum for Acquisition Officers From the President

Did you know?
According to the Office of Management and Budget, the Federal government in 2008 awarded more than $500 billion to over 160,000 contractors last year.

On March 4, 2009, President Barack Obama sent a memorandum to federal agencies that agencies must start identifying contracts that are wasteful, inefficient, or likely not to meet government needs. The memorandum was issued with the intention to improve acquisition practices in general and included three objectives:

  1. Strengthen the use of contractor performance information through new requirements in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR)
  2. Outline associated management responsibilities that agencies' Chief Acquisition Officers (CAOs) and Senior Procurement Executives (SPEs) must take to support robust implementation of these practices
  3. Establish a review process that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) will use to further improve contractor performance information

Effective February 1, 2010: The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) will conduct regular compliance assessments and quality reviews to make certain that agencies subject to the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act are submitting timely performance evaluations. Starting this year, OFPP anticipates releasing statistics on agency compliance to the public at www.acquisition.gov.


Inherently Governmental

Reading over the piles of government updates this month, Deb Carroll, Director of GBG, often came across the phrase "inherently governmental." She said, "I believe I have a good understanding of the term as I can define the words individually, but is that the meaning that is intended? When it comes to government terminology, words are not often what they appear to be. So I did some research that I hope will help you with the explanation as well."

An "inherently governmental function" is defined in the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act of 1998 (FAIR Act) as "a function that is so intimately related to the public interest as to require performance by Federal Government employees." It is mentioned numerous times in the Act and the current administration has even requested that agencies use only this definition. The Act itself was created with the purpose of providing a process for identifying the functions of the Federal Government that are not inherently governmental, and for other purposes.

The Act outlines what constitutes included and excluded functions, adding to what had been outlined in the earlier Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the Clinger-Cohen Act. According to these acts, inherently governmental functions include strategic planning; defining performance assessment; budgeting for strategic initiatives; establishing or approving standards, policies, procedures and guidelines; evaluating vendors for specific mission tasks, acting as a broker of vendor products and services, government consulting, defining security and data access policies, mediating disputes between private parties and defining common operating environments for interoperability.

Only the federal government would not include a clear definition of a phrase that is used throughout government publications. Hope this makes it easier for you than looking it up yourself!

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