As the Trump administration continues to set its agenda for the federal government, it is emphasizing accountability, efficiency and tangible results. The message is clear: agencies must deliver better results with fewer resources.
With budget cuts, hiring freezes and greater scrutiny of program funding, we need a fundamental shift in the way agencies acquire services and deliver on their missions to citizens. Outcomes-based contracting, which promotes a tight collaboration between agencies and their contractors, is a natural fit for this environment. With the administration’s business-centric approach to problem-solving, it would make sense for agencies to tie contractors’ compensation to their ability to deliver defined program outcomes.
In an outcomes-based contracting model, companies are paid for the results they deliver. It’s an approach that has already gained popularity within the technology industry, so much so that Gartner predicts that by 2018, one-third of all IT contracts will be based on program outcomes, replacing traditional cost-plus contracts that pay based on the completion of individual tasks or activities.
Outcomes-based contracting has enormous potential beyond IT procurements. Amid growing skepticism about the effective implementation of both large and small public programs, outcomes-based contracts help to ensure that agencies are good stewards of taxpayer funds by directly aligning contractor compensation with program goals.
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