[govinfo] GovInfo News 9-28-2006

  • From: "Patrice McDermott" <pmcdermott@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <govinfo@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx" <FOI-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2006 15:19:49 -0400

- Head of Office of Federal Procurement Policy Targets Data Accuracy In 
Building Funding Database


Patrice McDermott, Director
OpenTheGovernment.org
202-332-OPEN (6736)
www.openthegovernment.org


- DENETT TARGETS DATA ACCURACY IN BUILDING FUNDING DATABASE
http://www.fcw.com/article96200-09-25-06-Print

The new head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy wants to improve the 
quality of data in time for a new database mandated by law

BY Matthew Weigelt
Published on Sept. 25, 2006

Paul Denett, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, 
emphasized the importance of accurate information for a new searchable Web 
database that shows who receives federal funding for contracts and grants.

"How can you manage the contracting program in your individual agency if you 
don't know how many contracts you have, if you don't know what types you have, 
if you don't know what provisions you have?" Denett asked rhetorically.

Senior procurement executives should already have the raw data required for the 
new site. "If they don't know it, then they can't manage," he said.

The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act, sponsored by Sen. Tom 
Coburn (R-Okla.) and passed by both houses of Congress, directs the Office of 
Management and Budget to create a searchable online database of federal 
spending by Jan. 1, 2008, with information updated through fiscal 2007. The 
president is expected to sign the bill this week.

[.]
With a Google-like search engine, users will be able to learn how much funding 
an organization received in each of the past 10 fiscal years, with a breakdown 
of transactions and additional details about the organization.

Lawmakers raised concerns about the quality of information currently gathered 
by the government. Good information will make the database worthwhile. The 
Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation, for example, has not 
consistently received quality information.

"I was appalled to find out that inputting the data too often would fall on the 
shoulders of a summer-hire student who knew nothing about contracting," Denett 
said. The students did not understand the data they were putting into the 
system, so its accuracy suffered.

Denett is requiring contracting officers to enter the information themselves. 
They will use software that will fill in the database during a contract's 
creation, he said.

Agencies will give OMB the best data if they are held accountable for it, he 
said.

"That will lead to what we believe will be more accurate data," he added.

Coburn said he believes the legislation will change the culture of some 
agencies.

"You can, without transparency, do things that you would not otherwise do," he 
said in an earlier interview.

[.]
 

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