GSA continues efforts to consolidate Professional Services contracts

The General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced its intention to further promote the consolidation of professional services contracts by encouraging agencies to transition from expiring, one-off contracts to multiple-award contracting vehicles.

GSA Schedule ContractThe announcement comes on the heels of GSA’s October 1, 2015 announcement that it would be consolidating eight separate schedules into a new Professional Services Schedule (PSS) that will allow federal government agencies to use one contracting vehicle to fulfill a host of professional services requirements.

With many professional services contracts set to expire in Fiscal Year 2016, GSA is actively encouraging agencies to re-compete the contracts using existing agency indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contracts (IDIQ), GSA schedule contracts, such as the PSS, or GSA’s OASIS contracting vehicle, an IDIQ contract meant for professional services.

Keep reading this article at:

For more information on the PSS, read the blog post at:

4 government contracting trends to watch in 2016

Today’s times represent an ongoing shift in the federal services marketplace. The changes are broad and include shifts in technology; acquisition methods; and the economics of being a contractor with significant hurdles and barriers to success.  These market dynamics will play out over the coming months and years – here’s a rundown of the most significant of those changes now well underway.

1. Cloud Computing Continues to Absorb IT Services Opportunities
Federal agencies have moved beyond the 2010 Cloud-First mandate to adopt cloud computing, and have begun embracing the cloud to support their business and mission objectives.  Cloud computing represents a significant change to the way that the federal government had done business. Cloud computing permits the customer to spend less time managing complex IT resources and more time investing in core mission work.  Companies that have cloud-based offerings are winning significant business away from providers that have historically supported “in-house” solutions.

FedRamp opt outAn estimated $20 billion of the federal government’s $80 billion in IT spending is a potential target for migration to cloud computing solutions, according to the White House’s Federal Cloud Computing Strategy. The size and scope of cloud programs are becoming larger, driven in part by the success of smaller projects, and by the manifestation of supporting policies, including FedRAMP, a security “stamp of approval” that lets government agencies know a solution has an appropriate and detailed security plan in place. To date, 48 systems have been authorized FedRAMP compliant.  With the cost of a FedRAMP certification reaching as high as $300,000 and authorizations taking 9 to 15 months, gaining certification is a major commitment for any company.  As a result, many firms, especially small businesses, may be locked out of this segment of the market.

Read all 4 contracting trends to watch in 2016 at:

GSA proposed rule raises ‘significant concerns’ over competition

On March 4, 2015, the General Services Administration (GSA) issued a proposed rule, GSAR Case 2013-G504, Transactional Data Reporting. The proposed rule would establish a new requirement for GSA contractors, (IT GWAC contractors, Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Schedule contractors and other GSA contract programs, as applicable) to report transactional data at the order and Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA) level to GSA. (Note: the VA Schedules are exempted.)

The proposed rule retains the Price Reduction Clause (PRC) but deletes the requirement to monitor a tracking customer for price reductions for FSS Schedule contractors required to report transaction data. The remainder of the PRC remains in effect. FSS Schedule contractors will still be required to submit Commercial Sales Practices (CSP) information — with the ongoing requirement to provide updates throughout the life of the contract. In addition the rule makes clear that GSA can ask for FSS Schedule contract price reductions at any time. Price reduction requests will likely be based on review of transactional data.

Keep reading this article at:

GSA proposes price reporting requirements for Schedule, GWAC and IDIQ contracts; public comment due May 4th

The General Services Administration (GSA) issued a proposed rule on March 4, 2015 that responds to the contracting concept of “category management” introduced December 4, 2014 by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP).  The OFPP concept shifts federal purchasing’s focus from managing purchases and prices individually on thousands of procurement actions by dozens of federal agencies to managing categories of purchases across the government.  To implement this concept, GSA’s proposed rule would require vendors on Federal Supply Schedule (FSS), Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) and Governmentwide Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quality (IDIQ) contracts to report all government transactions, including prices paid.  GSA contends the new rule is needed because the government currently lacks a mechanism that facilitates examination of prices paid by agencies on individual contracts, and this has caused pricing disparities in contracts for similar products and services.

If the proposed rule is adopted, the General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) would be amended to require that vendors report transaction data on individual FSS, GWAC and IDIQ contracts.  Details to be reported include unit of measure, quantity of items sold, universal product codes, prices paid per unit, and total price.  Such contracts accounted for about $39 billion in federal procurements in fiscal year 2014, according to the agency.  GSA says their existing price reduction-related monitoring requirements will be pared back to compensate for the additional reporting burden on contractors.  FSS contracts administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs would be exempt from the new rules.

In introducing the proposed rule, GSA says: “The current lack of transparency on prices paid by government customers has led to significant price variation, sometimes 300 percent or more, for identical purchases by federal agencies from the same commercial vendor as well as the unnecessary duplication of contract vehicles.”

If the proposed rule is finalized, it will go into effect immediately as a pilot program for GWAC and IDIQ contracts.  For FSS contracts, the new rule would be implemented in phases, initially involving only certain products and services in order to test the usefulness of the collected data in eliminating contract duplications and price variations.

The proposed rule also would implement a web-based Common Acquisition Platform (CAP) that GSA says will identify best-in-class contracts, best practices, and similar information.  This online marketplace also would display commercial pricing for similar products.

The proposed rule could be seen to be at odds with recommendations that were first formulated by GSA’s own Multiple Award Schedules Advisory Panel.  In 2009, the MAS Advisory Panel made 20 recommendations on how GSA could improve the Schedules program.  Prominent among the recommendations were the outright removal of the price reduction clause (PRC) from contracts for products and services and establishment of a process for ordering activities to collect and report on their purchasing, including quantity, quality, and price.  Currently, the PRC clause is included in every Schedule contract in an effort to obtain contractors’ best prices.   If contractors do not abide by this contract requirement, they risk having a whistleblower, an inspector general, or the Justice Department filing a complaint or bringing charges pursuant to the False Claims Act.  In addition, GSA presently may request a price reduction at any time during the contract period when their market analysis indicates that lower prices are being offered or paid for the same items under similar conditions.  According to data collected by the Chief Acquisition Officer’s Council, contractors regard the PRC as one of the most complicated and burdensome requirements in federal contracting, and GSA’s own estimates suggest FSS contractors spend over 860,000 hours a year (at a cost of approximately $58.5 million) on compliance with this clause.

Already, there are concerns being voiced that if GSA’s primary motive behind the proposed rule is simply to obtain lower prices, the government runs the risk of losing quality contractors who will not agree to disclose pricing data due to its sensitivity, let alone bear the new cost and administrative burdens associated with disclosure.  While there are differences of opinion among government and business leaders, GSA states that it believes that use of the proposed transactional data reporting clause could be a good alternative to the PRC, contending that the new rule will reduce administrative burden on contractors and have the effect of lowering prices to the government.

In order to sort out the issues and seek public comment, GSA is holding a public meeting and requesting comment on its proposal to amend the GSAR to include clauses that would require vendors to report transactional data from orders and prices paid by ordering activities. Interested parties may offer oral and/or written comments at GSA’s public meeting to be held on Friday, April 17, 2015, beginning at 9:00 a.m. EST.

In addition, as a part of the traditional public comment process that accompanies most proposed federal regulations, GSA is asking interested parties to submit written comments on or before Monday, May 4, 2015 to be considered in the formulation of a final rule.  Comments should be sent to: U.S. General Services Administration, Regulatory Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW., 2nd Floor, ATTN: Hada Flowers, Washington, DC 20405-0001, citing GSAR Case 2013-G504 in all correspondence. All comments received will be posted without change to, including any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

For the April 17th public meeting, attendees can attend the meeting in person at GSA’s Central Office or virtually through GSA’s Internet meeting platform, Adobe Connect.

  • In-person Attendance: Interested parties may attend the public meeting to be held in the GSA Auditorium at GSA Headquarters, located at 1800 F St. NW., Washington, DC 20405. The public is asked to pre-register by Wednesday April 1, 2015, due to security and seating limitations. To pre-register, use the following link:  On-site registration check-in will begin at 8:00 a.m. EST on Friday, April 17, 2015, and the meeting will start at 9:00 a.m. EST.  Attendees must be prepared to present a form of government issued photo identification.
  • Virtual Attendance: Interested parties may also attend virtually through GSA’s Internet meeting platform, hosted by Adobe Connect. Virtual attendees must register in advance at
  • Oral Public Comments: Parties wishing to make formal oral presentations at the public meeting should indicate so during the registration process. Presentations must be provided to Ms. Dana Munson by electronic mail at no later than Wednesday, April 8, 2015. Time allocations for oral presentations will be limited to fifteen minutes.
  • Written Comments: All formal comments, inluding oral public comments, should be followed-up in writing and submitted to not later than Monday, May 4, 2015.  Reference should be made to GSAR Case 2013-G504.

When it comes to task order contracting, patience and strategy are needed

Years ago, federal agencies jumped on the indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract bandwagon and never got off. The preference for agency-specific IDIQ contracts and government-wide acquisition contracts continues as agencies seek ways to centralize and reduce contract spending. This is especially true for IT, where more than half of spending flows through such contracting programs.

However, this is not just an IT story. The prevalence, size and complexity of task order contracts make them market-shaping now and in the future. Here are the factors involved in navigating this market:

Jockey for strategic positioning.

Don’t rely on incumbency.

Be ready for the long haul.

Perform well – then measure and share.

Engage with your agency program managers.

Find more details and read the rest of this article at:

GSA and Air Force partner to look at savings in GSA contracts

The General Services Administration and the Air Force established a working group to help identify ways to save money on enterprise-wide contracts, an Aug. 18 GSA blog post says.

The working group will look into which GSA contracts the Air Force can use to cut costs, but still complete its mission, the blog post says.

Those GSA contracting vehicles include strategic sourcing initiatives, reverse auctions, the Global Supply Special Order Program and its One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services contracts.

Keep reading this article at:

GSA awards 95 percent of OS3 contracts

The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded 95 percent of its contracts for the third iteration of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative for Office Supplies, an Aug. 12 GSA statement says.

GSA issued 21 FSSI OS3 contracts, with 20 of them going to small businesses and there’s potential for more small business contracts pending further review, the emailed statement says.

FSSI OS3 is meant to save the federal government money on everyday office supplies like pens, paper and printing items by providing agencies with a list of vendors with already negotiated prices.

Keep reading this article at:

Navy drops $2.5 billion in contracts to update shipboard networks

The Navy has awarded five companies eight-year contracts valued at $2.5 billion to install standardized shipboard networks.

The Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command tapped BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, General Dynamics C4 Systems, Global Technical Systems, Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. and Serco, Inc. for the indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity, firm-fixed-price, cost-plus-fixed-fee contracts for the Navy’s Consolidated Afloat Networks and Enterprise Services.

The CANES program is intended to equip every ship in the fleet with a standards-based network.

Keep reading this article at:

GSA awards 125 small businesses OASIS contracts

On Monday (Feb. 24, 2014), the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) announced it has awarded 125 contracts to small businesses for its One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) Small Business (SB) contract to companies that will provide customers with best value services for complex professional service requirements.

OASIS SB, a 100-percent small business set-aside contract, was developed in response to the Government’s need for a hybrid, government-wide acquisition vehicle.  OASIS SB will provide a streamlined solution for both commercial and non-commercial needs. OASIS SB is designed to reduce duplication of contracting efforts across the government and provide federal agencies with comprehensive, integrated professional services contract options.  The list of the 125 companies awarded contracts is available by clicking here.  

“We created OASIS SB to meet the growing demand for a hybrid, government-wide acquisition vehicle that maximizes opportunities for small businesses, stated Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Commissioner Tom Sharpe.  “We believe that the large pool of awardees will provide government with access to highly skilled small businesses through a contract that is not only cost effective, but also efficient and streamlined for easier use by federal agencies looking to purchase complex professional services.”

OASIS SB will compliment GSA’s Multiple Award Schedules (MAS) program and provide agencies with more flexible full-service options. Notable features and benefits of OASIS and OASIS Small Business include:

  • Government-wide use
  • Access to best in class solution providers
  • On-ramp/off-ramp procedures to ensure a flexible, vibrant vendor pool
  • Integrated support for key government initiatives

GSA predicts OASIS SB will drive down costs for federal agencies, and increase efficiency by reducing the time spent on developing complex contractual instruments. OASIS SB will include a vast array of professional services contractors for agencies to choose from. In fact it  has already become the solution of choice for some government agencies. In December,  the United States Air Force committed to use OASIS SB in lieu of creating several of its own multiple-award, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) acquisition vehicles. These efforts are estimated to be worth approximately $1.4 billion per year and use of OASIS SB is projected to save the Air Force and taxpayers significant dollars and resources.

For more information visit and OASIS Industry Group on GSA Interact.

Nondisclosure of higher profit on fixed price contract does not violate False Claims Act

Last week, a U.S. District Court judge in Florida held that a government contractor working under a fixed-price contract is not liable under the federal False Claims Act (“FCA”) for higher than expected profits and “failing to notify the Government that the work could be performed less expensively and charged at a lower price” than the contract price.   U.S. ex rel. Prime v. Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, Inc., and Parsons Corporation, No. 10-cv-1950 (M.D. Fl. Aug. 23, 2013).

The nature of the contract was critical to the outcome of the case. In U.S. ex rel. Prime, two contractors, Post, Buckley, Schuh & Jernigan, Inc. (“PBS&J”) and Parsons, formed a joint venture for the project (the “JV”). The JV entered into a fixed price indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract with the Government, under which fixed price task orders would be placed. Prices on the individual task orders were lump-sum, determined in accordance with the agreed-upon labor rates multiplied by the number of days required to complete the work, and included a profit component. The labor rates and lump-sum task order prices were a product of lengthy negotiations between the JV and Government representatives. During those negotiations, which were transcribed, the Government noted the potential for the JV to increase its profit margin by injecting greater efficiency into its performance.

Keep reading this post at