New procurement rules debut

Governmentwide acquisition contracts

Detailed listing of major GWACs, complete with links and contact information. Compiled and updated by the staff of Government Computer News, a sister publication of Washington Technology.

The Defense Department will change the way it buys services, and all federal agencies will be allowed to use share-in-savings contracting for information technology work, according to procurement rule changes announced Oct. 1 by the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council.

Seven new rules that change the Federal Acquisition Regulation are:

DOD gets performance-based contracting requirement

The Defense Department issued an interim rule that requires the department to buy services only through performance-based contracts.

The interim rule requires approval if services are bought through a non-DoD contract.

Each of the three services is developing an infrastructure to manage and oversee the acquisition of services. This process will include the approval process for using non-DoD contracts and non-performance-based contracts.

Comments are due Dec. 1. For more information, click here.

Share-in-savings contracting authorized

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council [the FAR Council] issued a proposed rule authorizing governmentwide use of share-in-savings contracts for information technology. The proposed rule defines a share-in-savings contract as one in which the contractor finances the work and then shares with the agency in the savings generated.

Under the proposal, share-in-savings contracts can't be longer than five years, unless a longer time frame is justified, but 10 years is the longest a contract can be. All share-in-savings contracts must be performance based, and objective outcomes and performance standards must be set down in writing.

The proposed rule does not allow savings to count if they come from a decrease in the number of civilian government employees.

The proposed rule also encourages agencies to only use these contracts for innovative projects or projects that involve process transformation. Agencies are encouraged to use the General Services Administration's "Share-in-Savings Project Screening Template" to determine if this type of contract is appropriate for their projects.

Comments are due Oct. 31. For the complete proposed rule, click here.

Streamlined procedures allowed for anti-terror purchases

The FAR Council issued a final rule that allows simplified procurement procedures for purchases of products or services used to defend or recover from terrorism or nuclear, biological, chemical or radiological attack.

The rule temporarily increases the micro-purchase threshold up to $15,000 and allows the use of streamlined procedures for purchases up to $500,000. Click here to link to the rule.

Notification of overpayment

Another final FAR rule requires contractors to notify agency contracting officers if the government overpays an invoice or a contract financing agreement. The rule will go into effect Oct. 31.

The councils rejected a request that a minimum threshold should be set, under which notification would not be required, and that the contractor should have 30 days to notify the contracting officer.

Click here to link to the rule.

Contractors required to register in database

The councils also finalized the rule requiring contractors to register with the Central Contractor Registration database before being eligible for any contract award.

The rule also requires agency contracting officers to modify existing contracts that extend beyond Dec. 31 to require contractors to register in the database.

To register, contractors must obtain a number from Dun and Bradstreet Inc. of Short Hills, N.J., and provide company information such as mailing address, telephone number, number of employees, names of key officials and the type of business the company does.

Contracts to have unique identifiers

An interim rule requires that federal agencies assign a unique identifier for every contract, purchase order, basic ordering agreement, basic agreement and blanket purchase agreement reported to the Federal Procurement Data System. Agencies must comply with this requirement by today, when the next-generation system becomes operational.

The councils said the unique identifiers will help improve the quality of information FPDS makes available to agencies and will help the public better understand how tax dollars are spent.

Comments are due by Oct. 31. Click here to link to the interim rule.

FedBizOpps finalized

The FedBizOpps Web site today officially became the governmentwide point of entry to find out about all contracts over $25,000, when the councils finalized an interim rule.

In addition, the councils amended the interim rule by adding new clauses that require agencies:

  • To add the place of contract performance and set-aside status as two new data fields

  • To make presolicitation and award notices with subcontracting opportunities available through FedBizOpps

  • To make solicitations and amendments available through the site

  • To permit contractors to publicize subcontracting opportunities

  • To make additional information available about the contract such as drawings, specifications and anything that would help contractors understand the solicitation's requirements better.

  • Click here to link.

    About the Authors

    Nick Wakeman is the editor-in-chief of Washington Technology. Follow him on Twitter: @nick_wakeman.

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