Commercial Activities Panel:

Improving the Sourcing Decisions of the Federal Government

GAO-02-866T: Published: Jun 26, 2002. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 2002.

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The Commercial Activities Panel is a congressionally mandated panel to study, and make recommendations for improving, the policies and procedures governing the transfer of commercial activities from government to contractor personnel. The growing controversy surrounding competitions under the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76 to determine whether the government should obtain commercially available goods and services from the public or private sectors led to the establishment of this Panel. In establishing the Panel, several steps were taken to ensure representation from all major stakeholders as well as to ensure a fair and balanced process. To ensure a broad range of views on the Panel, a Federal Register notice was used to seek suggestions for the Panel's composition. As the Panel began its work, it recognized the need for a set of principles for sourcing decisions. These principles provide for an assessment of what does or does not work in the current A-76 process and provide a framework for identifying needed changes. Many of the Panel's recommendations can be accomplished administratively under existing law, and the Panel recommends that they be implemented as soon as practical. The Panel also recognizes that some of the recommendations would require changes in statutes or regulations that could take some time. Any legislative changes should be comprehensive and considered to achieve a reasonable balance.

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