WT Business Beat

By Nick Wakeman

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Nick Wakeman

Agency spending forecasts offer mixed bag

The Professional Services Council’s new Federal Business Forecast Scorecard offers a mixed bag for industry and for government agencies.

Overall scores are pretty bad with only 16 agencies receiving a Green or Good ranking. That’s more than last year’s 11. But there was an increase to 24 of the agencies that received a Red or Needs Improvement scores. That’s six more than the 18 who received those scores last year.

Then there’s my favorite category called “Where’s the Forecast?” with the acronym WTC. PSC dinged the Air Force, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and three divisions of the Agriculture Department -- AMS International, Food & Nutrition and Research.

PSC looked at 60 agencies that are required to development business forecasts on their spending plans by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. The forecast is a tool for improving communication with industry by providing more transparency into agency spending plans.

Among those winning praise from PSC were the Naval Information Warfare Systems Command, which the trade group said provided a “straight-forward thorough forecast.”

PSC's report gives industry a chance to vent on who doing a good job and who isn’t with their business forecast filings, but is also intended as a roadmap for government. Part of what PSC asked in its survey is what industry wants in these filings.

With that in mind, PSC offers a list of 15 key attributes and for the most part they are logical and just common sense. This includes posting the date a forecast is modified and regular updates to the forecasts.

Other attributes include dollar values, points of contact, better project descriptions, NAICS codes and incumbents.

They also want to know what the planned contract vehicle is and the anticipated solicitation release date as well as estimated award date and the period of performance.

My favorite is the very first attribute that PSC lists -- electronically sortable information. Agencies should have their forecasts available in an Excel format. It would be easier to search and organize in a way that each company could find useful and meaningful. PDFs are a challenge because they are “often disorganized and undersized, complicating the user’s ability to utilize it efficiently,” PSC writes.

PDFs also indicate that the agency isn’t updating their forecasts regularly.

Posted by Nick Wakeman on Jul 14, 2020 at 9:59 AM

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