GovTribe deals in data. Gobs and gobs of government contract data. We use that data to provide insights into the world of federal contracting through our apps and Custom Reports.

The Purse String Index is one such insight. As described in last week’s blog post, it provides a measure of the frequency, magnitude, and velocity of dollars managed by a government point of contact. The Index is relative to the average of the population being measured (usually an agency), with a value of 1.0 as the average.

Similar to a stat on the back of a baseball card it is a single point of reference, intended to shed light on a specific past behavior.

Understanding the past can often be helpful in preparing for the future. As the world of government contracting becomes increasingly competitive, we believe preparation with actual data is the only way to go. This preparation can offset risks, improve processes, and increase success.

With that said, let’s take a look at the Purse String Index for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

For this second analysis, we separate service contracts from goods and equipment contracts. These two types of procurements often have different factors driving the overall process. Also, we illustrate the proportional make-up of the CO's Purse String Index value: Frequency, Velocity, Magnitude, and the Annoyance Factor.

HHS Service Contracts

The Purse String Index values for most of the top 25 are driven by average award values (Magnitude) significantly higher than the agency average. Only Corey Lloyd had a score driven by a time to award (Velocity) significantly higher than his peers.

The white section of the bar chart indicates the portion of the Purse String Index score that was subtracted based on the Annoyance Factor – i.e. the average number of amendments and due date changes prior to award.

HHS Goods and Equipment Contracts

The top 25 values for people executing goods contracts are much closer to the HHS average. This is because there is significantly less variability around the mean with goods contracts.

There is a bit more variation in the composition of Purse String Index values for goods contracts. For example, the value for Berta Blitz is driven primarily by Magnitude. She was a point of contact for multiple high-value contracts. However, the Velocity at which these contracts were awarded was slower than the HHS average.

Conversely the value for Deitra Lunney is driven by many small value contracts that were awarded faster than the HHS average.

What's next?

GovTribe is going to continue to roll out statistical nuggets that provide insight into the government contracting market. We can’t get to every agency on our blog, but please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a request. For targeted analysis, we can write you a Custom Report. But if you have an interesting question, we may respond to it for free on our blog.


At GovTribe, we understand that the job of managing competitive bids is challenging and, at times, bureaucratically complex. We know that all procurements are not created equal. And we do not disparage any individual or the way someone does his or her job.

The Purse String Index neither defines a person nor comments on their personal attributes. It is a data point based on five years of publicly available procurement activity. In other words, it is a "what." We make no claims as to the "why." Perhaps data like this can help us all get there.