An OPM official said in an email response to questions that the reason for canceling the request for proposals was due to the changing requirements of the government.
“As a result, the award of the current solicitation would not satisfy the current and potential future requirements of the government. Additionally, the magnitude and scope of these changes are such that they cannot be met through a modification of the current solicitation,” the official said. “OPM has determined it is necessary to redefine the requirement to align the capabilities of the resultant contract with the evolution of both governmentwide and OPM strategic goals, strategic sourcing considerations, current budgetary realities across government and to better support the mission of the federal agencies that OPM serves and deliver better service to the American public.”
OPM planned to use CHRS as an update to the Training and Management Assistance (TMA) contract, which has helped agencies meet human capital requirements for much of the last 25 years.
Under CHRS, OPM asked vendors to provide two key services: customized training and learning solutions, and customized human capital solutions. OPM said the annual ceiling for spending on these services was $100 million each, making it $2 billion over the life of the 10-year contract.
One industry source, who requested anonymity because the source’s company is bidding on the contract, said the RFP has been beset by problems since the beginning.
OPM faced 11 protests over the course of May to July 2013 before the Government Accountability Office dismissed them on the account the agency took corrective action and let the bidders back into the mix.
“The contract they put out was sufficiently broad, so it’s incomprehensible why you couldn’t buy services consistent with the challenges facing the government today,” said the industry source. “I’d be surprised if the cancellation had nothing to do with turmoil in the HR solutions office.”
OPM announced in January it would layoff 300 workers from its Human Resources Solutions office.
The OPM official said the RFP cancellation and the reduction-in-force are two separate and unrelated issues.
“The current RIFs being experienced by Human Resource Solutions (HRS) could not have been prevented by making awards on the contract earlier,” the official said.
Another industry source praised OPM for canceling the contract.
The source, who also spoke on the condition of anonymity because the source’s company was bidding on the contract, said the bids were more than a year old, so OPM needed to reassess the program.
“The administration has been talking up a lot since mid-summer about the revised President’s Management Agenda, and there was nothing in this CHRS solicitation that would tie it to any of that,” the source said. “What you are finding is they want to make it match the administration’s objectives, and they probably want to start over in a way that may get them fewer protests.”
The OPM official said the agency would release a new RFP in the near future.
“The next steps include preparing and finalizing revised requirements, solicitation structure, and formal business case,” the official said. “The exact timing of its release is not yet known, however OPM is moving forward in a deliberate and expedited manner…”
The second industry source said they also have no sense of how OPM will change the RFP. The source said OPM did extend the existing TMA contract for another two-and-a-half years.
“TMA has been good for government, and agencies have used it to get a lot of good work done,” the source said. “It’s one of the chief human capital officer’s go-to sources because there are good contractors at a fair price. If OPM is able to redo this thing and keep it going to make this as useful as TMA was in the past, it’s a good thing. I completely support what they’ve done in canceling the RFP. It’s a good thing.”