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GAO: OMB Should Increase Emphasis on Requirements Under Category Mgmt Initiative

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) needs to focus its category management guidance efforts on helping federal buyers understand what goods and services their agencies need rather than emphasizing contracting-related activities under the governmentwide procurement approach, according to a Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit report.

GAO said Monday that it has reviewed data for 28 participating agencies in the category management initiative, which encourages buying as part of a single enterprise instead of individual units, and learned from agency officials that they faced information gathering, analysis and sharing challenges.

The government audit agency recommended that OMB play a key role to address data management issues that affected CM implementation. OMB should also train agency personnel who oversee small business contracting functions, GAO added. 

The latter office found an annual decline in the number of smaller contractors supplying common products and services to the government even though small businesses accounted for at least 30 percent of annual contract obligations under the initiative since 2016.

According to OMB, category management-related federal savings reached $27.3 billion over a three-year period.