Human capital management contract a ‘true collaboration’ between OPM, GSA

Officials with OPM and OMB touted the Human Capital and Training Solutions contract as the first and best of its kind under the Obama administration's category ...

The Human Capital and Training Solutions (HCaTS) contract is the first of its kind under the federal government’s category management initiative and is a unique partnership between agencies.

Joseph Kennedy, associate director of human resource solutions for the Office of Personnel Management, sang the contract’s praises during a March 1 webinar on human capital management and training, calling it a “true collaboration between OPM and the General Services Administration.

“One of the things that makes HCaTS also unique is that OPM is handling the human capital aspects, but GSA is doing all the acquisition pieces to it,” Kennedy said during the webinar, which was hosted by GovExec. “That’s making this contract very special. OPM trying to have a governmentwide contract without GSA makes no sense to me, without OMB’s umbrella in saying here’s a framework in which you guys can create something special makes no sense to me. OPM wants to make certain that we’re sticking to our knitting and our knitting is human capital management, and we know that we can move that. But if you were to ask us to do a governmentwide contract in this particular case, we’d say well we’ve got some talented acquisition folks, but we’ve got some other stuff we’ve got to order too, and OPM is outside of this. This makes sense, it just feels right and we know it’s going to deliver on it.”

Kennedy said the federal government has about 3,000 different contracts for human capital alone, and many of them relate to specialized training.

“So you get a lot of individuals who are on the same contracts, offering similar services,” Kennedy said. “What’s happening in the marketplace is that the marketplace is leveraging the government, and we are not leveraging the marketplace, nor are we leveraging the good work of our acquisitions professionals who have done all this work so they can begin to share.”

One way in which this sharing will happen is through the building of a best practices library that will include human capital solutions and requirements, Kennedy said, so an agency like NASA can share something it did that might be valuable for an agency like the National Science Foundation.

“We know there are opportunities to replicate,” he said.

“If we do nothing else, that in and of itself is a huge step forward for the federal government,” said Anne Rung, administrator of the Office of  Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget. “We don’t share information, we don’t share best practices.”

Rung earlier this week named 11 executives as category managers, who will help in the overarching goal of sharing acquisition information across the government.

Kennedy explained that part of the relationship between category management and human capital management is outgoing money and employee output.

“We always look at human capital and say does something make people in organizations better, is this going to make people in organizations better,” Kennedy said. “As we begin to look at category management, our objective is to say is spend happening in those areas, are we really seeing spend go to organizations where we are making a difference, are we having breakthrough performance, are we seeing innovation? If we’re seeing innovation and breakthrough performance, can we replicate that throughout the government to save even more money?”

GSA released HCaTS requests for proposals in August.

The RFP stated HCaTS will help agencies meet six objectives:

  1. Improving the management of human capital in accordance with the Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework (HCAAF) and other OPM policies.
  2. Increasing the effectiveness and efficiency of critical business processes.
  3. Providing professional development opportunities to the workforce.
  4. Undertaking effective change management initiatives.
  5. Developing effective metrics to assess progress in carrying out human capital strategies.
  6. Maximizing the return on investment in training and development, human capital, and organizational performance improvements.

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