GSA enhances tools for Networx procurements
Picking a pricing method is only one of several decisions agencies must make in developing Fair Opportunity awards under the Networx contract. So the General Services Administration has developed instruments to help the process, said Karl Krumbholz, director of GSA's Network Services Program.
“The guidance we provide agencies is very specific and follows requirements not only of the Federal Acquisition Regulations, but also the Acquisition Improvement and Accountability Act (AIAA),” he said, adding, “The Fair Opportunity considerations are the ones we cite” in GSA Bulletin 7, and mirror those of the AIAA.
The AIAA advises that to meet the requirements of providing contractors with a fair opportunity to be considered for a task or delivery order of more than $5 million, agencies must:
- Give notice of the task or delivery order, including a clear statement of requirements.
- Allow a reasonable period of time for contractors to respond with a proposal.
- Disclose significant factors (such as price) and their relative importance in the evaluation of proposals.
- Provide, for awards made on a best-value basis, a written statement documenting the basis for the award and the relative importance of quality and price or cost factors.
- Offer an opportunity for a post-award debriefing.
The requirements are reasonable, even welcome, Krumbholz said. Required debriefings are “something that should have been done all along,” he said. Carriers put in a lot of time preparing bids, he said. “You submit a bid, you want to know what happened. If your bid wasn’t selected, it’s natural, you want to know why not.”
To help ensure requirements are met and that no valid protest can be filed to slow the transition to Networx from FTS 2001, GSA has added new guidance.
A new template will guide agencies in using the GSA Networx Hosting Center Pricer to make Fair Opportunity decisions, he said. The template calls on agencies to:
- Advise Networx contractors of an intent to do a Networx Fair Opportunity using the pricer.
- Ask for notice of any pricing inaccuracies.
- Ensure a written debriefing if the award exceeds $5 million.
The template also will be added to the Networx Fair Opportunity and Statement of Work Guide.
Although the AIAA narrowly circumscribes the conditions under which protests can be made, they are far from prohibited, Krumbholz said. The act allows protests when “the order increases the scope, period, or maximum value of the contract under which the order is issued,” or when the order is for more than $10 million.
Sami Lais is a special contributor to Washington Technology.