Should We Increase Insourcing?

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Megan 6 years, 11 months ago.

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  • #120445

    Steve Ressler
    Keymaster

    One trend at the federal level is insourcing. Basically, it’s cutting the number of contractors and increasing the number of feds.

    CBP IT is looking to cut 1,200 contractors and hire 1,000 feds.

    http://www.govexec.com/dailyfed/0111/011311rb1.htm?rss=getoday&oref=rss

    What do you think of the trend?

  • #120457

    Megan
    Participant

    Thumbs up! We’ve just converted our temps to perms at NASA Ames..

  • #120455

    Terrence Hill
    Participant

    I think that the answer is that we need to have a better balance of in-house versus contract resources. Temporary projects, especially those requiring high skills, may be better completed using contract resources. Continuing government services involving public funds, such as those performed by IRS and SSA, should be provided by government employees. Commercial services, such as food service, guards, maintenance, mail, IT, and other routine tasks which could benefit from the economies of scale perfected by the private sector. Law enforcement, military, emergency management, and other essential functions should also be performed by dedicated, committed, sworn, professional government employees.

  • #120453

    Roland Shield
    Participant

    I believe that it is a wee bit premature to call it a “trend” and that you label it as such is somewhat disturbing. Are you a “spin-doctor” then. Or does that just go with the territory in the beltway ?

    The article you refer to has at least another mention of things going the other way with:

    “Elsewhere, insourcing appears to have slowed down, in part due to a hiring freeze at Pentagon offices and agencies.”

    Again, it seems that this is less of a trend and more of simply a description of an approach or model.

    The article, as you failed to mention here, is making the point that significant savings are being gained with such actvity.

    Of course, this may or may not be the case, ultimately. We are unable to draw such conclusions from this article.

    However, it does not bring to fore the issue of inherent risks that need to be adjusted for and mitigated when outsourcing.

    That is, despite the gospel we gained from Reaganomics, it turns out that the interest of the Government (We The People) is inherently different than the interest of a sub-contractor, much like the interest of a for profit health institution will have quite possibly and quite likely approaches to “cost containment” than a civic-based one. As a historical example, recall the scandal U.S. Grant ( any relation ?) was involved in where his buddy contractors were selling tainted meat to the government and making the troops sick and even killing some— a nasty practice that reared it’s ugly head again in the Spanish-American War.

    In short, the question of insourcing vs. outsourcing is not a relevent one if you are avoiding the elephant in the room; that is, that your interests as a sub-contractor and my interests as a U.S. Citizen do not always coincide, despite what folly was spun during the height of Reaganomics.

  • #120451

    Dale S. Brown
    Participant

    I think insourcing is a good trend. When I supervised contractors, I found it could be difficult. Many of them had their own needs- they needed to get more contracts, so sometimes they tended to make recommendations that got them more contracts, for example. Or, I would review their contract and find clauses that allowed them to advertise. Another problem I don’t see discussed often is copyright. Everything the government writes is in the public domain. Contractors would often keep the copyright of things I thought should belong to the public.

    For certain things contracting is the way to go. I am thinking of running cafeterias, office cleaning, and clerical work. Also, surge situations where there is a short-term need. In addition, I want to be clear that many contractors I supervised or partnered with were absolutely excellent. I have also worked for several contractors. But I think a core of people who are dedicated to the public interest is a better way to go.

  • #120449

    Erica Kraft
    Participant

    I support the transfer of employment to more federal positions, but as a veteran of the USN (11+ years) who has tried for several years to successfully gain government employment, contract companies are hiring.

    I have applied to many government positions with NO LUCK for the past 4 years. My only other option to remain employed, vice waiting for a government answer or position is to take the contract position.

    I maintain a security clearnance and have a competative resume…what is the government’s problem with hiring me? *shrug* I still endeavor to be a government employee, but feel like ‘insourcing’ is just another way of reshuffling current employees wtihout hiring any new ones?

  • #120447

    Roland Shield
    Participant

    Erica,

    Precisely. The deal is that to have a sea-change in the way we enhance/maintain the data/services of “Govt.”, there needs to be a TOP DOWN restructuring of what we have now. That is to say, those currently in the top of Govt. Bureaucratic Structure (Federal, State, or otherwise) do not have the ability or tools or vision to deal with what is needed…not now or last week, but years ago!

    Rather, what they do see, rightly, is threat to their power, which is derived from the status quo way of doing business….which we all know is DOA at this point. Not just in Egypt or [ pick your favorite foreign hot spot here ], but even here in the good ‘ol USA. Trouble is, the Yankee Dollar and the ability of those in power to manipulate it, diffuses that message here over time; so much so that folks like you and me scratch our heads and wonder why things aren’t making practical sense…..”Why can’t I get hired ? I have all the credentials; I have what it takes.”

    The big fallacy is that folks like you are using reason and logic and assumptions based on a mostly free market economy, representative democracy, blah, blah, blah…. Mistake. Big Mistake. Management has already Circled the Wagons. And it has been going on for some time now. Like just about anywhere else, Government is in Crisis. And Full-Time Permanent Positions are difficult to justify in these changing times. Besides, if you can get enough sustained Contract Employees under you, your Golden Parachute will, more or less, be the same anyway. So why sweat it ? Just outsource.

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