Department of Health and Human Services

Reduce our chronic dependence on contractors for IT Services

Many parts of our organization are heavily dependent on external contractors to provide labor and services to government. They perform various technical functions, as well as procurement sensitive activities that really should be limited to fed-only staff, such as budgetary projection and resource allocation. While this may be a useful short-term strategy, to quickly ramp up and effectively leverage private sector resource pool to execute on important projects efficiently, it weakens our business over the long haul. The reason is because in some instances, we have become so reliant on contractors to perform essential and core services, that we have lost the ability to do the work ourselves. In some cases we have contractors performing work that really needs to be done by federal employees. Every time that we hire a contractor to do work, we deprive ourselves of a learning opportunity and this diminishes our own workforce capacity and strength. Furthermore, contractors are more likely to leave after a short stint, taking valuable skills, training, and institutional knowledge (that they acquired at our expense) elsewhere. Instead of investing in training and career development for contractors, we should invest in training and career development for our own people. Or at the very least, make a concerted effort to convert / poach valuable contractors over to the federal workforce. Instead of outsourcing our core competencies, we should vertically integrate these functions, potentially savings millions of dollars in overhead, transaction costs, and administrative costs.

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Idea No. 3681