Government Grinch

All government contractors should be aware of procedures in the event that our federal system shuts down at midnight tonight. GSA sent the following in an email earlier today:

In the event of a Government shutdown Friday night after 11:59pm, GSS acquisition will continue to process orders and will remain open during the Government Shutdown in the near term.

However, Government personnel responsible for receiving delivery or performing inspections at many agencies* may not be available during the period of the funding gap.  The Federal Government is closed Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25th, regardless of whether there is a shutdown. Please review the contingency plans of government agencies posted here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/information-for-agencies/agency-contingency-plans/

Since the status of agency personnel remains uncertain, we advise you to call ahead to confirm that government personnel are available to accept deliveries.  The Government will not be liable for any costs you may incur if you attempt delivery during the period of the funding gap (shutdown). If, after reviewing the affected agencies at the website above, you are still unsure of imminent delivery schedule success, please contact your customer agency for further instructions before attempting delivery during this timeframe.

*Agencies impacted in a potential shutdown include the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Interior, Treasury, State, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Commerce, and Justice.

Agencies where funding for FY19 has already been passed, and therefore not affected by a shutdown, include the Departments of Defense, Labor, Energy, Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs and the legislative branch.

If you’re worried about something in particular, give us a call at 301-913-5000. We will be working sporadically next week, but are always available for your emergencies.

Reverse Auction is Reversed!

GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) is decommissioning the ReverseAuctions (RA) platform on September 30, 2018. The RA platform will not be available for either the creation or management of auctions after this date. Auctions with end dates after October 1, 2018, will be allowed to conclude as scheduled, and GSA will maintain RA system access for users, allowing for the retrieval of auction related documents through December 31, 2018.

Note: FSSI OS3 vendors can continue to log in and bid on OS3 auctions.

 

FAS Boss Talks Shop

In a recent interview, Alan Thomas, the Federal Acquisition Service commissioner, promises that agency customer and industry partners are helping to drive the schedules’ modernization strategy. This includes making it easier to buy products and services, such as allowing agencies to combine products and services —  order level materials (OLMs) or other direct costs (ODCs) — under one buy. Although the impact will likely not be felt until 2019, vendors and buyers can take advantage of the change today, according to Thomas. The “one buy” option requires a contract modification and special item number addition.  

Another major change is the elimination of minimum purchase thresholds, which is extremely helpful for those needing only one of an item, and not 5 or 10.

The next fiscal year is likely to see major changes to the Schedules program. Thomas said FAS will possibly consolidate schedules down to one or a smaller set of Schedule contracts, in order to make it easier for customer purchasing. This will remove the difficulty of figuring out which schedule to buy from in perceived overlaps. Thomas wants to reduce confusion for agency customers and make it less burdensome for vendors who may be managing many schedules. Implementation of this change would not take place until late 2019 or possibly 2020.

Another change Thomas is looking to implement is the reduction in the number of contractors on schedules, beginning with those who have not had any sales in two or more years. Schedule holders, be aware: sell your products/services through the Schedule and claim these on your 72(a) to ensure you aren’t on the chopping block. 

Other major changes coming to schedules revolve around transparency and fee adjustments. Thomas said vendors must be able to see what agencies are buying through RFQs or task orders so they know whether the Schedules are being utilized.  Will the new e-Buy pilot provide that transparency? Who knows. And we wonder what making the fee structure consistent across Schedules will actually ‘look’ like.

Finally, GSA and VA are trying to improve their collaboration across similar contracts. Thomas said VA is looking at the technology that GSA uses to manage its Schedule program and global supply program for more control, visibility and greater efficiencies in its micro-purchase expenditures.

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.

Rolling Down the FedRAMP

GSA recently announced the launch of the FedRAMP Tailored Baseline for Cloud Service Providers with Low Impact Software-as-a-Service systems. FedRAMP Tailored aims to support solutions that have low risk and low costs for agencies. This means a streamlined process for a variety of applications. Tailored also standardizes an approach to determine risks associated with cloud applications and provides the government with the freedom to use the cloud while maintaining security.

FedRAMP tailored was open for comment in January and July of 2017. The program provides base security control requirements for industry to meet. Agency authorizing officials are responsible for adding controls where necessary for compliance. GSA believes “The FedRAMP program, including our goals for Tailored, is a key part of issuing an informed, risk-based authority to operate.”

For more information, see the FedRAMP Tailored website.