Too Dependent on Contractors? Minimum Standards for Responsible Governance
Journal of Contract Management, Vol. 8, p. 9-25, 2008
18 Pages Posted: 5 Sep 2008 Last revised: 29 May 2012
Date Written: Summer 2008
While acknowledging that there are many benefits, challenges, and risks involved in outsourcing, this article asserts that failed implementation, rather than outsourcing policy, explains the government's current (mis)management of its contractors. This article explores the minimum standards for responsible governance following more than 15 years of ill-conceived and inadequate investment in the federal government's acquisition workforce, followed by a governmentwide failure to respond to a dramatic increase in procurement activity. These trends have led to a buying and contract management regime animated by triage, with insufficient resources available for contract administration, management, and oversight. The old adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" rings true. Accordingly, a prospective investment in upgrading the number, skills, incentives, and morale of government purchasing officials would reap huge long-term dividends for the taxpayers.
Keywords: public procurement, outsourcing, privatization, government contract law, acquisition workforce
JEL Classification: H42, H57, K12, K23, L33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation