Leftover BPAs

If you have a Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA), you may have just been given a bit of a reprieve regarding the merge into the General Services Administrations’ (GSA) consolidated Multiple Award Schedule. (Federal Computer Week, August 31, 2020)

According to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, GSA is allowing a few BPAs to work through their lifecycles as opposed to forcing them into the consolidated Multiple Award Schedule. Murphy feels it could take up to five years to move completely over to the consolidated schedule but counts on it being much sooner.

As of the end of July GSA moved to Phase 3 of the MAS consolidation. Nearly 100 percent of vendors have updated their contracts and terms and conditions for the new solicitation. Murphy said, “We’ve got 99 percent of them onboard,” and will “work with [the remaining ones] on the best way to transition.” (ibid)

Wondering about your long-standing BPA? Give us a call.

One and Done!

Earlier this week, Phase 3 of the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Consolidation began. Each contractor with one or more contracts now has its offerings under one contract or unique entity identifier (UEI) number. (GSA Interact, August 3, 2020)

GSA designed Phase 3 to make sure contract numbers remain the same Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs) remain in effect. Contractors affected by Phase 3 received emails from the MAS Program Management Office (PMO) with guidance on consolidating their contracts. All contractors should review the contractor checklist & planning spreadsheet for outlining the elements of their contracts as well as planning for consolidation. (ibid)

Also as of this week, contractors that haven’t signed the Mass Mod are no longer visible on GSA eTools. Contracts are not canceled, but contractor information is hidden from view until the Mass Mod is signed. Additionally, all 24 legacy Schedules are no longer visible in eLibrary, eBuy, or on GSA.gov. (All eBuy changes may be viewed on this resource.) (ibid)

If you are a contractor with multiple contracts, consider joining one of the two training opportunities below:

Monday, August 10th (11:00 AM – 12:00 PM ET): Register here. (please select NON-GSA User if from industry)

Wednesday, August 26th (2:00 PM – 3:00 PM ET): Register here. (please select NON-GSA User if from industry)

Training is recorded for those unable to attend the live training. Information will be provided on the MAS Interact page. (GSA Interact, August 3, 2020)

Through the Multiple Award Schedule, GSA has generated long-term government contracts with the commercial sector that provide nearly 10 million supplies and services for government agencies. To that end, the government spends upwards of $30 billion through the GSA schedule. It is crucial if you have a GSA schedule contract that you sign on for the mass modification immediately. (Nextgov,August 3, 2020)

Questions about the MAS consolidation or your current GSA schedule contract? Give us a call.

Emergency Rules

Government ontractors and small businesses should be aware of increased opportunities during the current COVID-19 national emergency. The government is permitted, during a national emergency, to set aside solicitations to allow awards “only to offerors residing or doing business primarily in the area affected by …[a] major disaster or emergency.” Contractors can verify if they fall into this category by reviewing Federal Acquisition Regulation 52.226-3(d). (Law360.com, April 13, 2020)

A national emergency declaration allows the government to (restrict) certain solicitations to small businesses in certain areas. These solicitations are either a set-aside or an evaluation preference is given to small businesses. (ibid)

During national emergencies, large contractors should look to team with small businesses, or to current teaming agreements already in place. In addition, contractors who are at the ready to produce/provide goods or services may be called on to contract with agencies to battle COVID-19. (ibid)

Micro purchase thresholds are another acquisition procedure government agencies may use during a national emergency. These allow for a simplified acquisition methodology for specific items or services required under emergency situations, such as the COVID-19 national emergency. (ibid)

State and local governments may also procure under the Stafford Act, wherein state governors request financial relief via federal grants that allow procurement under their own procedures. The Stafford Act authorizes federal contracts for “debris clearance, distribution of supplies, reconstruction, and other major disaster or emergency assistance activities.” In 2006 the Local Community Recovery Act amended the Stafford Act mandating local organizations to be given preference when using full and open competition. The FAR was also amended to align with the Local Community Recovery Act. Under the act, if a contractor does not meet all of the Recovery Act stipulations there are other factors that may be considered. (Contractors may self-certify that they are local.) (ibid)

Other streamlining acquisition procedures are available under federal supply schedule contracts, multi-agency blanket purchase agreements, and multi-agency indefinite-delivery contracts. Additionally, there is an easing of the requirement that a contractor be registered in SAM.gov at the time an offer is submitted to the government. (ibid)

The emergency declaration allows state and local governments to purchase from all GSA schedules. It also encourages accelerated payments to small business contractors.  (ibid)

Additional modified procedures to facilitate swift responses are:

  • Relaxation of qualifications requirements
  • Use of sole-source contracts
  • Use of oral requests for proposals
  • Use of letter contracts
  • Interagency acquisitions
  • Awards to small disadvantaged businesses
  • Retroactive overtime approvals
  • Waivers of bid guarantees when an emergency exists
  • Use of protest overrides where necessary for a contracting process to continue

In order to track procurements related to COVID-19, GSA added a National Interest Action (NIA) code to SAM.gov. To find information on the site, simply type COVID-19 2020 in the search bar. (ibid) Contractors can register with SAM.gov under the disaster response registry, and be sure to monitor the portals most closely aligned to the goods or services you provide.

Have questions about the many opportunities available under the current national emergency? Give us a call.

FAR 51 Deviation Authority is expired!

Here’s what you need to know.  Contracting officers were permitted to give contractors access to the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) and GSA Global Supply Programs if appropriate, for the fulfillment of their agency requirements. They used the FAR 51 Deviation Authority vehicle for this purpose. On 23 October, the FAR 51 Deviation expired. It will no longer be used on orders placed after this date. Under Refresh 1, clause CI-FSS-056 Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 51 Deviation Authority (Federal Supply Schedules) (Jan 2010) is deleted.

In lieu of FAR 51 Deviation, agencies may use Order Level Material (OLM) procedures to acquire other direct costs (OCDs) and material support items to meet specific order requirements. Additional information for OLMs may be found at www.gsa.gov/olm.

Many question if a contracting officer can issue a letter of authority (required by the Deviation) anytime during the life of the order, if the order or BPA was awarded on or before 23 October 2019. The short answer is yes, as long as the order was issued prior to the 23 October Deviation expiration date. However, if the BPA was awarded prior to then, and subsequent award terms were awarded after 23 October, those subsequent award terms may not use the deviation.

Wondering if you are grandfathered in and still able to take advantage of the FAR 51 Deviation Authority? Give us a call.

Shared Service QSMOs

The big takeaway from last week’s Association of Government Accountants’ 2019 shared services summit: it will take a few years to standardize shared services, especially for grants management. (FedScoop, November 14, 2019)

In April, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) chose four agencies as Quality Service Management Offices (QSMOs):

  • GSA – to oversee a human resources marketplace
  • Department of Treasury – for financial services
  • Department of Health and Human Services – for grants management
  • Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency – for cybersecurity (FedScoop, April 26, 2019)

QSMOs have started hiring and transitioning from the old payroll system to Software-as-a-Service. This NewPay Initiative tops the list in moving to shared services. GSA awarded a blanket purchase agreement for NewPay in September 2018 to reduce risks and costs and followed up with multi-million dollar task orders. (ibid)

According to Earl Pinto, deputy associate administrator of the Office of Shared Solutions and Performance Improvement within GSA, “these are not short term projects, and I would say that’s probably the biggest challenge because we know we’ve got a process. Standards first … and that has taken, for several mission-support functions, well over a year to get to standards – some over two years.” (ibid)

Some agencies, such as the Interior Business Center are not clear as to whether they will lean towards NewPay or work through current providers, GSA, or a separate appropriation. (ibid)

Some unknown pieces remain. Will agencies always pay for the services delivered or will it be streamlined in some manner? It may be quite some time before we know for sure.

Questions on QSMOs? Call us and we can explain it.