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Competitive Sourcing Congressional Report

Enclosure 2


OPM will compete an estimated 309 full time equivalents during Fiscal Year 2005.

Integration of OPM's Human Capital and Competitive Sourcing Initiatives

OPM's competitive sourcing initiative is closely linked to and complements the Human Capital (HC) initiative under the President's Management Agenda. Where appropriate, we use competitive sourcing to ensure that the best human capital assets are acquired, deployed, and maintained as efficiently and effectively as possible. In practice, we view competitive sourcing as a tool to address core competency gaps that are identified through OPM's workforce planning review and analysis. Additionally, other instances, such as intermittent work; skill deficiencies; high turn over; or hard to fill positions are identified as conditions that may be addressed through competitive sourcing.

OPM's Fiscal Year 2004 FAIR Act Inventory Work Group members were instructed to consider as part of their review of their commercial activities how competitive sourcing could be used to address current or anticipated competency gaps caused by retirements or other loss of staff expertise. The Work Group members were provided with a copy of the Plan for the Strategic Management of OPM's Human Capital to consider as they completed their review of the commercial activities to determine which were appropriate for competition. The information contained in the Plan guided Work Group deliberations and helped ensure that competitive sourcing activities align with goals and objectives stated in OPM's HC Plan and support organizations in meeting their responsibilities.

OPM appointed a Human Resource (HR) Advisor from the Division for Management and Chief Financial Offier's Center for Human Capital Management Services for each competition conducted during Fiscal Year 2004 and will again do so for all Fiscal Year 2005 competitions. The HR Advisor provided information to all employees included in the competition on all human resource considerations, including potential reductions in force. The HR advisor and contracting personnel met with employees included in each competition to provide them with information regarding the procedures, time frames, and potential impact of the results of the competitions. Employees are given the opportunity to ask any questions they have regarding the potential impact each competition may have on them.

We have also engaged the labor organizations in the entire process of conducting competitive sourcing studies. We have conducted training on the A-76 process for both AFGE Locals and have involved Local leadership in some of the competitions as part of the MEO team. This effort has resulted in a better understanding of the competitive sourcing process and has helped foster a better relationship between the parties through better understanding of the process.

OPM is also implementing and considering a number of options to respond to a reduction of positions as a result of competitive sourcing:

  1. We will determine as part of the preliminary planning process leading to each competition the need to request Voluntary Early Retirement (VERA) and Voluntary Separation Incentive Payment (VSIP) authorities. Having these authorities will help us to make any necessary staff reductions associated with implementing the Government's most efficient organization (MEO) or staff reductions resulting from the Government losing a competition. Any requests will require OPM and OMB approval. The requests for these authorities will be requested well in advance of completing a competition.
  2. If positions are eliminated as a result of losing a competition, employees would receive priority consideration under OPM's Career Transition Assistance Program (CTAP).

If an OPM activity faces a reduction in force as a result of losing a competition, the Center for Human Capital Management Services will deploy staff to work with the organization's impacted staff to discuss their benefit options, coaching on resume writing, reviewing their Official Personnel Files and other activities to assist impacted personnel in planning their actions to address any impending reduction in force.

OPM developed a template and timeline of steps to be taken to implement a competitive sourcing decision if there will be a reduction of personnel to implement an MEO or a total elimination of a function due to a private sector firm winning the competition. This timeline covers everything from identifying the need and requesting VSIP authority to offer buyouts to lessen the number of personnel that might be affected by a reduction in force, to freezing the positions involved in the competition and conducting a VERA/VSIP offering and/or conducting a reduction in force during the transition period from decision to implementation.

A recent streamlined competition afforded OPM the opportunity to test many facets of the Strategic Human Capital Plan and the linkage with the competitive sourcing plan. An MEO was developed and subsequently won the Computer Assistants and Building Management Assistant streamlined competition. The MEO used the competition as an opportunity to restructure the activity to address succession planning and skill imbalance issues. The resulting MEO proposal reduced the number of positions from 22 to 18 and changed a number of the positions descriptions and grades. To implement the MEO, OPM secured VSIP authority and offered buyouts to affected employees. To fully implement the MEO, reduction in force procedures will be required to move employees into the new positions and achieve the remaining reductions. This process is working well in a small competition and will work equally as well in a large competition to implement an MEO or implement a private sector decision.

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