GSA considers rules for contract award notices

The General Services Administration is considering requiring agencies to announce all contract awards online.

Roger Waldron, GSA's director for acquisition management at the Federal Supply Service, today said officials are determining whether agencies need additional guidance to improve how they alert vendors and others to contract winners.

"We are aware of the issue and understand it," Waldron said at a breakfast sponsored by National Business Promotions and Conferences Inc. of Herndon, Va. "We want to add this feature to E-Buy, but it would not be mandatory for agencies."

Waldron said GSA officials may address the issue formally through a review by the Federal Acquisition Regulation Council.

Currently when an agency awards a contract through full and open competition, the announcement is posted online at www.fedbizopps.gov. But task order awards through the FSS schedules, governmentwide acquisition contracts or other multiple-award contracts are not announced to the general public.

As more agencies use the schedules, Waldron said more vendors want to know the results of competition. Agencies spent $27 billion on schedule buys in fiscal 2003, and GSA expects spending to increase to more than $30 billion in 2004.

"The schedule has been growing about 20 percent a year, and we see that continuing," Waldron said. "The IT schedule will level off, and the services schedules, such as consulting or financial services, will see more of an increase this year."

Another area of growth for 2004, Waldron said, will be in state and local government use of the IT schedule. Since May, these entities have spent about $7 million under interim rules. Waldron said GSA's goal is to publish the final rule in early spring.

"There is a lot of interest out there from state and local government," he said. "My perception is that with all the budgetary pressure local governments are under, they will be looking for any way to reduce costs, and this is a viable alternative."

GSA will roll out online and classroom training programs for state and local buyers on how to use the schedules by the end of this month.

Jason Miller writes for Government Computer News magazine.

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