GSA Chief Wants to Reveal Task Order Data

GSA Chief Emily Murphy May Make Task Order Data More Transparent

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Emily Murphy is contemplating making information on all multiple-award contracts public in the name of transparency. At present, only companies with spots on the solicitations can see relevant solicitations and awards, which offers business intelligence and a competitive edge on the federal market. In 2016, GSA spent over $110 billion through 2,600 multiple-award contracts.

Murphy has had  conversations with both the Office of Management and Budget and the Office of Governmentwide Policy. She is currently waiting for the  Federal Acquisition Service to deliver options that might offer some greater transparency. According to Murphy, “This needs to be addressed not just in the microcosm of the GSA schedules…. We need to be looking across government and making sure we are not disadvantaging the schedules program versus other programs, and we are not putting our vendors or our customers at a competitive disadvantage.”

Transparency is only one of four goals Murphy has set for  her term running GSA. Read more here.

OLM rule finalized

OLMs, Order-Level Materials, are goods and services that are not covered by original FSS contracts or BPAs, but are necessary to the completion of a particular order. Historically, FSS prohibited agencies from adding them into task orders and delivery orders placed against contracts. This meant agencies could only acquire them by placing task orders on multiple-award-contracts, and were hence forced to make two separate procurements. However, on January 24, FSS issued a final rule to authorize agencies to acquire OLMs when placing orders, offering greater flexibility and efficiency.

The rule makes clear that OLMs are not open-market items, but rather may be added to an order under the new GSAR provision 552.238-82. The list of schedules authorized to allow for OLMs should soon be available here. 

Under the new rule, agencies may add OLMs up to one-third the value of the order, with some restrictions. Except for travel OLMs, each proposed OLM above the simplified acquisition threshold of $150,000 should come with three quotes. This ensures that prices are fair and reasonable.

Industry partners with affected GSA FSS schedules will receive bilateral modifications from GSA adding the OLM Special Item Numbers (SINs) to their GSA contracts. Before accepting, contractors should ensure that they have policies and procedures in place to comply with the three-quote requirement and the OLM limitation of one-third of the total order value.

Overall, this looks like a welcome change that will increase efficiency and decrease administrative costs.