Setting Aside the Small Biz Set Asides

The National Background Investigations Bureau (NBIB) is moving from the Office of Personnel Management to the Department of Defense (DoD), merging with the Defense Counterintelligence and Security Agency (DCSA). Of interest to many of EZGSA clients, sources say the move anticipates plans to significantly diminish small business goals at the agency from 65 percent to 10 percent, according to Elizabeth Mudd, small business program manager. (Defense Systems, August 7, 2019)

Mudd believes that the whopping decline in small business goals intends to promote more subcontracting to supplement the four primes that oversee background investigation services. While this may be true, the bottom lines remains that in this fiscal year, NBIB is contributing about $804 million in small business eligible dollars compared to DCSA’s $73.4 million. (ibid)  Maybe the merger won’t actually change the dollar amount contracted with small businesses in the long run, but we’re not holding our breath.

Want to gripe or discuss strategy? We’re here.

Reforming the Reformers

Over the next few years, GSA will institute approximately 25 reforms to improve the federal marketplace, with a goal of easing the buying and selling process for all involved. (Federal Times, July 24, 2019)

Alan Thomas, the commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, has named the following four initiatives as ‘cornerstones,’ bound to the success of the other ‘stones’ around them:

  1. Developing an enterprise-wide contract writing system — provides the contracting workforce “a single, core system that stores all of our data and has a set of common business processes”
  2. Managing catalog data — changing how industry systems and processes are represented to buying agencies
  3. Consolidating the Multiple Award Schedule program — occurring as we write, the current 24 multiple award schedules are merging into a single Schedule.
  4. Instituting a commercial platform initiative — an online buying platform, much like Amazon, which will allow government purchasers to order products without a contracting process. (ibid)

Many other reforms will go into effect over time. Additionally, GSA is working to make smaller improvements that make contractors and customer agencies more aware of available tools. These tools should simplify the contracting process. (ibid)

Have questions about the reforms and how they will affect the current procurement process? Give us a call.

It All Comes Down to SAM

GSA is merging its current legacy sites into one system, beta.SAM (the System for Award Management). SAM (login at sam.gov), is the official government website for people who make, manage, and receive federal awards.

Contracting organizations across the federal government post notices on proposed actions valued at more than $25,000 to SAM. These notices, or “procurement opportunities,” include solicitations, pre-solicitations, and sole source justifications.. Anyone interested in doing business with the government can use SAM to learn about available opportunities at no charge. However, you’ll find a few surprises at the new SAM.

The new domain contains data that has been migrated from government legacy systems. It supports two distinct federal awards: acquisition and federal assistance. Transitioning in this manner offers a more efficient way to access all federal award information.

Once you peruse the site, the government welcomes your feedback. Original SAM sites will co-exist with beta.SAM.gov until they are retired. Once the original SAM.gov site has retired, the beta site will be renamed “SAM.gov.” (beta.sam.gov)

Another way to look at the ten online sites being merged into one:

sam-new-img

source:sam.beta.gov Learning Center

For instance, SAM officially replaces WDOL.gov (Here’s a quick start guide for wage determinations.) as well as Assistance Listings and CFDA.gov. Users of CFDA.gov will be required to manage their listings using a new user account. (beta.sam.gov)

Have questions about your login credentials? Questions on where to go to obtain “official” information? Did you register and no word back on your registration? Give us a call.

HHS Did What?

The Department of Health and Human Services Program Support Center (PSC) has decided to end assisted acquisition services. Some agencies under the PSC umbrella include: the Office of Personnel Management, the Office of Special counsel, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Defense Department (DoD).  (DoD accounts for roughly $1 billion of the $1.4 billion total contract amount under the PSC.) (Federal News Network, July 22, 2019)

It appears HHS stopped offering assisted acquisition services in mid June, just as agencies are preparing for fourth quarter acquisitions. This likely includes the $150 million multiple-award contract PSC was about to award for EPA along with a number of “in-process” contracts for DoD. Additionally, any award for the prior four years must be moved to other agencies or absorbed by the “home” agency by September 20, 2020. (ibid)

So why exactly did HHS decide to stop its assisted acquisition services? In a memo to the civilian agency customers, they said they do not have the internal controls, policies, or procedures necessary. DoD customers received a comparable memo. (ibid)

Why now? Possibly due to the manner in which PSC has handled classified information for DoD and other agencies’ procurements through the self-certification process. The self-certification process is achieved through the DD-254 form. However, a recent audit found that PSC does not actually perform classified work. (ibid)

Unfortunately, this abrupt change is putting a burden on many agencies. Since the decision was made and will affect the fourth-quarter spending, agencies must now scramble to get other assisted acquisition service provider help. The decision also affects vendors, who spend time and money to bid on solicitations that must restart. And the question remains: will vendors lose work from existing contract awards that they bid on and won?

Roughly one-third of all federal spending occurs in the fourth quarter, with one-quarter of the spending in September. Administrators plan to meet with member companies, DoD ,and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to arrive at  a game plan going forward. (Federal News Network, July 22, 2019)

Will this affect a bid you are working on or a recent contract award? If so, give us a call.

DUNS is done!

For roughly 57 years, DUNS numbers, created by Dun & Bradstreet, have been the official entity verification for government contractors and private industry.  It was indexed in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) in 1998. GSA, the administrator of the program, issued an RFP in 2019, to replace DUNS. Ernst & Young was awarded the new contract, this past March. (Nextgov, July 2019)

What does this all mean? For starters, Ernst & Young will be responsible for administering a new “Unique Entity ID” as well as managing the transition from DUNS. Every organization, including vendors, grantees, and coops doing business with federal agencies will have a new, 12 character identifier, 3 characters longer than the current DUNS number. The Unique Entity ID  is a mix of numbers and letters following a specific set pattern.

A new process is also effective with the updated verification number. Organizations will request a Unique Entity ID when registering with SAM.gov, instead of  applying through a vendor such as Dun & Bradstreet.  To assist with the transition, GSA has released the Unique Entity ID Standard, set up a virtual meeting for July 25, and created a webpage dedicated to the transition for those who would like to know more. (ibid)

The Unique Entity ID is structured to avoid confusion with the old numbers, tax ID numbers and Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) codes. All systems using the current 9 digit format will require an update to use the longer Unique Entity ID number. (ibid)

Questions about the new Unique Entity ID? Wondering what to do with your old DUNS and how it affects your current contract or one you are bidding on now? Give us a call and we can explain.