Government agencies rely heavily on the private sector to carry out their mission of preparing for and managing through various types of disasters, such as the major hurricanes that have been facing Texas and the Gulf region. This is important work that deserves to be prioritized higher than many other functions of government. Hundreds, even thousands, of lives hang in the balance each year – people who depend on public agencies to operate with peak effectiveness when it comes to disasters, led by government officials who must make wise decisions in the heat of the moment, and using impersonal rules and systems that are designed to facilitate rather than frustrate the process of recovery. Problems or mistakes at any of these levels can have major, and unacceptable impacts. Of all of the systems government relies on, perhaps none is more critical than those related to procurement policy for disasters, or the ways that a government agency hires and manages their network of vendors and contractors providing disaster related services.
There was good news for firms doing business with the government in the most recent quarterly