Coming report: A-76 continues to produce savings

On the 50th anniversary of OMB Circular A-76, the administration plans to report that the program is stronger than ever.

For fiscal 2004, federal agencies saved about $1.35 billion on 12,000 competitions between agencies and the private sector for federal positions, according to a soon-to-be released OMB report about the controversial program.

"It is hard to argue that this is not generating efficiencies without the need for a massive reduction in force," said David Safavian, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. "The 2003 report said we had less than 500 RIFs, about a 3 percent rate. I don't know what 2004 numbers will be yet. In 2004, we had a greater savings rate despite the fact we had fewer competitions."

Safavian added that this report shows agency progress in running competitions and using A-76 as a management tool.

For the second straight year, OMB found significant cost avoidance and savings by competing positions with the private sector. In 2003, OMB found agencies saved $1.1 billion on 18,000 competitions. In the two years since agencies other than the Defense Department started regularly using A-76, Safavian said the government has saved $2.45 billion, and feds won almost 90 percent of all competitions last year.

"Federal employees are doing a better job with the competitions and submitting more aggressive bids," he said. "But we also have to make sure there is no systemic problems that gives one side or the other an unfair advantage."

The Center for Naval Analysis, an Alexandra, Va., nonprofit research group, is studying why federal employees' win rates have increased so significantly, Safavian said.

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