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Friday, April 28, 2006

OMB: Competition key to consolidating financial systems

"Public-private competitions will become compulsory for federal agencies outsourcing their financial management systems under the Bush administration's lines of business initiative, the Office of Management and Budget said this week in a response to questions from a lawmaker.

OMB is leading an effort to shut down agencies' back-office information technology systems and move the work to a handful of designated federal entities or the private sector. Financial management systems are one such targeted area; others include human resources systems and cybersecurity.

Private sector competition for agency IT work is an important way of keeping prices low and service satisfactory at cross-government service centers, OMB has said. In written responses to questions asked by Rep. Todd Platts, R-Pa., during a March 15 House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance and Accountability hearing, OMB said that competition must occur according to the dictates of Circular A-76, which governs the administration's competitive sourcing initiative to open thousands of federal jobs considered commercial in nature to bids from contractors.

OMB plans on releasing agency draft planning and implementation guidance for public comment May 12; Government Executive obtained a preliminary version.

The General Services Administration, which is the lead agency managing the financial management line of business, already has released those documents to 12 selected private sector companies. GSA invited some companies that had responded to an initial request for information on financial management OMB released in 2004 to submit preliminary comments on advance copies of the guidance. "

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