New IT services schedule recommended

To increase competition among services contracts, the General Services Administration should develop a new schedule for IT services and expand the Defense Department rule of three to the rest of government.

These were among the 10 recommendations the Acquisition Advisory Panel late last month made to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and the Hill.

The panel was mandated under the Services Acquisition Reform Act of 2003 and comprises 13 federal, private-sector and academic procurement experts.

The additional new IT services schedule, would be for professional services, with prices for each order based on competition, not posted rates.

The push to expand DOD's rule of three from Section 803 of the 2002 DOD Authorization Act to the rest of government includes services and products. The rule of three requires DOD to get at least three bids for all task orders placed through GSA's Federal Supply Schedule.

The other recommendations include:

» Establish agency centers of excellence in requirements analysis and development.

» GSA should develop a database of publicly available market research on services acquisitions.
» Strengthen competition for procurements in excess of $5 million for orders under multiple award contracts by requiring the agency to provide a clear statement of work, a reasonable response period for receipt of proposals, significant factors they expect to consider in evaluating proposals, a written statement documenting why the award was made and a debriefing for unsuccessful vendors.
» Improve the transparency of the ordering process by providing public notice for information purposes within 10 days of a sole-source task or delivery order worth more than $100,000.
» Enforce policies limiting time and materials contracting; convert, when possible, time-and-materials contracts to performance-based contracts; award no time-and-materials contracts unless govern- ment can ensure effective oversight.
The panel will meet again Aug. 10 to finish making recommendations and submit its entire report to OFPP in the fall.

Jason Miller is an assistant managing editor with Government Computer News. He can be reached at jmiller@postnewsweektech.com.

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