OMB Urges Agencies to Consider Contractor Flexibilities, Digital Service Updates Amid Coronavirus Concerns

The Trump administration is calling on agencies to leverage their authorities and technologies "to the greatest extent practicable” in an effort to continue operations amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Margaret Weichert, deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget, said in a memo issued Sunday that agencies must update their “.gov” websites and user accessibility features in citizen-facing interfaces to streamline the delivery of digital and telephonic services to users.

Other suggestions include updating technologies to support virtual private networks, preparing help desk support for information technology assistance and providing employee guidance on information security and privacy controls.

In a separate memo, Weichert called on agencies to consider telework flexibilities for contractors and reassess current contract requirements which may be "retooled for pandemic response consistent with the scope of the contract".

The memo also urges agencies to use special emergency procurement authorities such as increasing the micro-purchase threshold to “reduce friction for contractors” and drive rapid response.

Agencies are additionally recommended to extend performance periods if contractors are "unable to perform in a timely manner due to quarantining, social distancing, or other COVID-19 related interruptions."

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