Understanding opportunities and constraints to implementing Open Contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard in U.S. federal government procurement
We are looking for a research consultant or consultancy to help us understand the current United States federal government procurement ecosystem and formulate powerful advocacy asks for open contracting. This engagement has 2 objectives/components:
We want to get a deeper understanding of likely priorities of the Biden-Harris administration, recent developments and key actors in the U.S. procurement system and a clear sense of how open contracting could add value.
We also want to know use cases and technical steps are needed to implement the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) in the U.S.
We will use this research to advocate with relevant government agencies, civil society and other organizations to advance open contracting and the OCDS in the U.S.
Ideally we would like to work with one consultant/consultancy that can advise us on both open contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard, but we are also open to receiving tailored proposals from different consultants/consultancies on each of these components as the data work might require more technical data expertise.
We would like this research to begin by mid-February, with the advocacy portion (objective 1) delivered by end March and the full scope to be concluded by the end of May.
The Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) is a silo-busting global non-profit linking governments, businesses, civil society, and technologists. We help to open up government contracting and deal-making through disclosure, data and engagement so that the huge sums of money involved are spent honestly, fairly and effectively. We work to transform public procurement in cities, countries, and sectors around the world to make it smarter and fairer.
We want to promote open contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard in the U.S. federal procurement building on early work from 2017. We have an emerging understanding of how open contracting could add value, especially with regards to COVID-19 related contracting, minority- and women owned vendors, and tracking federal grants, but we want to broaden and deepen our insights.
The objectives of this research is to help OCP develop powerful advocacy asks on how to advance (1) open contracting and (2) the implementation of the open contracting data standard in federal procurement. Specifically we would like to understand:
Objective 1 - open contracting in federal procurement
Developments & trends in the U.S. federal contracting system: What are current trends, recent developments and ongoing challenges that open contracting could help to address?
Emerging priorities for the Biden Harris administration: What are likely priorities under the new administration? How can we position open contracting to add value to their emerging agenda?
Value add and advocacy for open contracting: What are clear powerful value propositions for open contracting?
Stakeholders: What are the key stakeholders and who needs to be involved? What are their roles and what are arguments that would resonate with them? What’s their capacity to change data practices and which help would they need?
Objective 2 - OCDS in federal procurement
Current data status and gaps: How much is currently published information in https://beta.sam.gov/ (and other portals/systems) already aligned with the OCDS? We would like the researcher to review our data research (we also have a mapping) of FPDS, USASpending and FedBizOpps to the OCDS from 2016, and identify what needs to be updated? What are current publication practices with regards to COVID-19 and inclusion? What are gaps?
Use cases for OCDS: What is the value add of implementing the OCDS? Which specific use cases are especially urgent in the short term and important for the longer term?
Steps needed for implementation: Which technical steps are needed to implement the OCDS and increase publication of relevant information on COVID-19 contracts and gender- and minority-relevant contracting information? What steps are needed to advance open contracting in contracting policy and practices? In terms of feasibility what is an easier and harder step?
A research report that clearly outlines:
Key advocacy asks for open contracting
Value proposition for open contracting
Trends, priorities and other relevant developments in the U.S. federal government procurement system
Key actors, including a mapping of supporters and potential opposition to open contracting and the OCDS (OCDS actors for component 2)
Current status and gaps in data publication, including an updated data mapping
Opportunities and use cases for OCDS (for component 2)
Implementation steps for OCDS, including technical steps organized by feasibility (for component 2)
The main report should not be longer than 15 pages and include a concise executive summary. For component 2, it should also include technical assessments, data mappings, summaries of key interviews in an annex.
We envision that this research includes desk research, data mapping, and up to 15 stakeholder interviews.
At OCP we would like to receive and discuss with the chosen consultancy:
Work plan, including list of stakeholder interviews & draft report outline and timeline
OCP can assist with
Guiding materials about open contracting, use cases and OCDS.
Light support from our data analyst and helpdesk.
Regular check-ins to discuss early findings and help prioritize tasks.
Understanding of the U.S. federal government procurement environment, trends, recent developments
Understanding of procurement data systems, stakeholders and relevant legislation
Knowledge about open contracting, including vendor engagement, gender and inclusion, COVID-19
Experience in articulating advocacy asks and opportunities
Experience on using procurement data, ideally OCDS (for component 2)
Connections and good relationships with key stakeholders for securing interviews and continued engagement
Excellent written and verbal communication skills, with a track record in producing practical reports geared towards advocacy.
Budget & Timeframe
Proposals under $23,000 for both components will be prioritized. If these are two projects we will prioritize proposals under $8,000 for component 1 and under $15,000 for component 2.
We would like this research to begin in early February, with the advocacy portion (objective 1) delivered by end March and the full scope to be concluded by the end of May.
Please submit a short proposal of how you would approach this work and why you are a good candidate for this engagement. Please indicate clearly if you are applying for both components or just for one of them. Kindly also include a budget and examples of relevant experiences.