Value Proposition, Principles, & Practices

Partnering with industry is a critical component to successfully meeting the challenges associated with supporting Federal agencies. To effectively partner with industry, internal and external barriers that exist in the Federal contracting marketplace must be overcome. GSA's Office of the Procurement Ombudsman (OPO) works primarily to address and eliminate these barriers.

Our Value Proposition

The Office of the Procurement Ombudsman identifies trends that can be used for continual improvement within GSA procurement process as a whole. OPO provides:

  • A disinterested third party for examining and reviewing procurement related issues.
  • A centralized and documented forum to informally raise awareness of procurement issues or exchange information with vendor communities.
  • Centralized means to de-escalate disputes and resolve issues through impartial and informal intervention; and standardized entry portal for vendors or GSA acquisition practitioners to request informal and impartial intervention in disputes.
  • A reporting mechanism to inform senior leadership of inconsistencies in acquisition processes and discover standardization issues.
  • Establishment of a consistent method to capture and analyze the key information that would enable the identification of detrimental events.

Ombudsman Tenets

  • Neutral. Approach all issues objectively while acting as neither a lobbyist for vendors nor an apologist for federal organizations.
  • Impartiality. Receive and review all inquiries in an objective and fair manner, free from bias, and treat all parties without favor or prejudice, instilling confidence in the public and agencies that inquiries will receive a fair review, further encouraging all parties to accept the OPO’s findings and recommendations.
  • Independence. The OPO, in function and appearance, is free from outside control or influence. This standard enables the OPO to function as an impartial and critical entity that reports findings and makes recommendations based solely on a review of facts and in the light of reason and fairness.
  • Confidentiality. Ability to keep confidential or release any information related to an inquiry or fact-finding, balancing the need to protect sensitive information so that an inquirer can come forward, and witnesses can speak openly with regard to disclosing information as part of fact-finding or agency report.
  • Customer Service. OPO will provide customer service to vendors, vendor groups, the GSA acquisition workforce and other stakeholders.
  • Credibility/Integrity. Execute responsibilities in a manner that engenders respect, confidence, and openness to all potential complainants, enabling the OPO to have value and be accepted by all parties to a complaint.
  • Knowledgeable. Develop and maintain a high level of understanding and expertise of procurement policies, procedures, trends, and best practices.
  • Responsive. React appropriately and promptly to supplier and federal procurement issues.
  • Helpful. Share best practices and demystifying the federal procurement process.
  • Part of the Solution. Identify systemic concerns and make recommendations to strengthen federal procurement activities and the acquisition process.

Ombudsman Practices

The Office Procurement Ombudsman practices are both internally and externally focused:

Inreach:

  • Engage two-way communication between offices to share information about the role of OPO and how it may provide assistance, as well as to learn about new initiatives and developments;
  • Work for development of strategies that will foster proper and frequent industry engagement;
  • Facilitate increased awareness of current industry products and services;
  • Work with SSOs to identify more realistic expectations regarding marketplace capabilities;
  • Meet regularly with ILs and other industry facing groups to share resources, industry trends, and lessons learned.

Outreach:

  • Provide greater clarity of agency requirements to vendors;
  • Meet with Industry to discern market trends and advances in technology that will enhance GSA’s ability make smarter buying decisions; and manage concerns/issues and recommendations for improvement relative to GSA’s contracting programs and processes;
  • Facilitate industry round tables for frank and open dialog;
  • Identify systemic and thematic issues;
  • Promote and advance supplier intimacy;
  • Promote and advance benefits of healthy industry/government relationships to both entities; and
  • Engage industry and ombudsman community across agencies to conduct joint training activities for acquisition workforce.
Last Reviewed 2016-09-29