Mandatory privacy training rule for federal contractors expected soon

A rule to require federal contactors handling personally identifiable information to train their employees in safeguarding the information is close to release. Under the anticipated rule, contractor employees will have to undergo either agency training when the agency chooses to make it available, or will have to provide their own privacy training programs using an agency-approved syllabus and materials.

The privacy training rule, originally proposed in 2011, would apply to civilian and defense agency contracts in which contractor employees would have access to a federal agency system of records, handle personally identifiable information, or design, develop, operate, or maintain a federal system of records on behalf of a federal agency.

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DOL releases final rule raising minimum wage for employees working on covered federal contracts

On October 1, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced its final rule raising the minimum wage for employees working on covered federal government contracts from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 an hour.  The final rule implements Executive Order 13658, which was issued by President Obama last February.

The final rule applies to a wide range of contracts issued for solicitations on or after January 1, 2015, including (1) procurement contracts for services or construction; (2) service contracts exceeding $2,500 covered by the Service Contract Act; (3) contracts for concessions; and (4) contracts that are both (a) entered into the with the Federal Government in connection with Federal property or lands and (b) covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act, Service Contract Act, or Davis-Bacon Act.  The rule also applies to (1) individuals with disabilities who were previously paid below the minimum wage because their disability affects their productivity; and (2) tipped employees, whose minimum hourly pay will be raised from $2.13 to $4.90.

Keep reading this article at for details on employees covered, impact on employers, and next steps.

Get a contracting plan in place early

When contracting fails, there are several common reasons offered: the source selection and bid protest requirements; onerous acquisition regulations; an understaffed, poorly trained workforce. However, many contracting officers can relate to significant delays during the planning phase, particularly to difficulties obtaining an acquisition plan (AP).

Often it’s developed well after the contracting request for action. When this occurs, it places contract managers in the unenviable position of delaying RFP release, thus risking agency funding, but more importantly, jeopardizing mission success. The alternative is to jump into a contracting process with ambiguous goals or results. Thus, for all the debate about the effectiveness of government contracting, the success or failure of programs involving government contracting is actually determined very early, often unfortunately before the contracting officer’s involvement—that is, during acquisition planning.

Eyes glaze over when someone references the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), and many are on record as wanting to modify, reduce, or even abolish it. However, the FAR’s Part 7 acquisition planning guidance provides a great roadmap to all the many considerations necessary before satisfying a government need via contract. The program office must take non-delegable responsibility to figure out what, why, when, where, and how they will obtain acquired resources to support their goals. This shouldn’t be another paperwork drill, completed by support contractors or the contracting officer and subsequently filed away. However, that sometimes is the case.

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Strategic sourcing’s subtle effects on small business

Do federal strategic sourcing initiatives put price ahead of good business relationships — and hurt both small businesses and the agencies seeking their services in the process?

“The strategic sourcing that Wal-Mart does builds long-term relationships with suppliers,” said Emily Murphy, senior counsel of the House Committee on Small Business. The federal government’s brand of strategic sourcing, however, has become “more about leveraging buying and limiting the number of companies that might be able to compete.”

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July-Sept. federal contracts expected to be more than $63 billion

Last year’s fourth quarter in federal government contracting is set to be eclipsed by its 2014 successor: The number of regional opportunities remains the same, but with a much higher dollar value.

Deltek anticipates that more than 1,300 regional solicitations — with a combined value of more than $63 billion — will be released in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2014. Last year, 1,375 regional solicitations were released with a combined value of $42.2 billion.

Comparison of FY13 and FY14 Federal Contracting Activity

Like last year, the Mid-Atlantic region has the most robust opportunity pipeline of any region, offering both the highest number of end-of-fiscal-year opportunities and total value: more than 450 solicitations are anticipated, worth $28 billion.

The southeast and south central regions round out the top areas, with $10 billion and $4 billion, respectively.

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See Deltek’s full analysis at:

SBA conducting step-by-step 8(a) certification workshop on July 17

The Atlanta District Office of the Small Business Administration (SBA) is conducting a workshop on July 17, 2014 in Atlanta to assist small businesses understand how to become 8(a) certified.

The SBA’s 8(a) Business Development program is a part of the federal government’s effort to promote equal business access for socially and economically disadvantaged individuals including Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Pacific Americans, subcontinent Asian Americans, and in in some cases women business owners. Companies with an 8(a) Certification can benefit from the wide-range of services offered including government contracting opportunities, access to capital, management and technical assistance, and much more.

The workshop will be held at the U.S. Small Business Administration, 233 Peachtree Street, Suite 1900, Peachtree Center – Harris Tower, Atlanta, GA, 30303.

The workshop will be held from 10:00 am until 1:00 pm.

You must pre-register in order to attend.   Register here:


Got an idea to improve IT contracting? The government wants to know

The federal government is looking for a few good ideas to improve how it does business with information technology contractors.

Using IdeaScale’s crowdsourcing platform, the Federal Chief Acquisition Officers and Federal Chief Information Officers councils are seeking an “open dialogue” to help the government “streamline, modernize and improve” the federal contracting process whether it’s through executive action or new laws. The deadline for participation – which is open to anyone – is May 5.

According to the council’s website, such steps could help “remove barriers and burdens for small and minority-owned businesses and new entrants with limited resources and expertise in federal contracting” as well as reduce costs and red tape for existing government contractors.

The government is seeking discussion and input in three specific areas in an effort to make existing rules and practices more efficient and less onerous

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Here are the Georgia firms who won federal contracts in November 2013

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?

Each month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download the award winners for November 2013 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – NOV. 2013

Copies of earlier reports are listed below:

New reports reveal top federal contracts and small business set-asides

At the beginning of each federal fiscal year, Deltek, Inc. identifies and assesses the top federal contract opportunities for the coming year as well as the top contracts slated to be set-aside for small businesses.  Deltek is an enterprise software and information solutions provider for professional services firms, government contractors, and government agencies.

Deltek’s latest analysis reveals 20 high profile procurements with the following characteristics:

  • Defense Department contracts account for 73% of the total dollar value of the top 20 contracts.
  • New opportunities (six new programs) account for 19% of total contract value.
  • Professional Services contracts make-up $73.2 billion in contract value, but IT opportunities are larger, on average.

In addition, Deltek’s FY14 Top 10 Set-Aside Opportunities list exceeds $6.9 billion in total ceiling value available as prime contracting opportunities for small businesses.  Findings include:

  • Defense opportunities dominate the set-aside list with 71% of the total contract value, with Navy contract value the highest at $3.5 billion.
  • Contracts for professional services are the focus of almost half of the top FY 2014 set-asides, followed by IT, architecture, engineering and construction.

Download the complete reports by clicking on the following links:

Top 20 Federal Opportunities for FY 2014

Top 10 Federal Set-Aside Opportunities for FY 2014

Also, see this related report from the Washington Post:


FY14’s top contracts will see growth

The government’s largest contracts slated for release this fiscal year will be significantly larger than previous years, according to a new analysis.

The top 20 contract opportunities represent a combined potential business worth $160 billion over the contracts’ lifetime, or a 74 percent increase over the $92 billion value of last year’s top contracts, according to a new report by market research firm Deltek.

Request for proposals are expected to start rolling out in January, which should provide some breathing room for agencies to recover from the partial shutdown, said Jennifer Sakole, principal analyst for federal information services at Deltek. Whether contracts will be immune to impacts of the shutdown is unclear, but so far agencies haven’t announced plans to cancel or postpone these contracts.

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