The Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) has issued a proposed rule to clarify contracting officer and agency responsibilities when justifying sole source awards exceeding $22 million dollars made through the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program. The revisions directly address recommendations from a December 2012 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report titled, “Slow Start to Implementation of Justifications for 8(a) Sole-Source Contracts,” which, among other things, highlighted agency “confusion” about the existing justification requirements in the FAR.
The 8(a) sole source justification requirement for high value contracts is a statutory mandate, established by Section 811 of the FY 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, presumably to ensure that these high value awards are in the government’s best interest. While the FAR Council published implementing regulations in April 2012, as noted in the 2012 GAO report, a number of agencies had difficulty complying with the new requirements, which differ from those governing other sole source justifications.
In subsequent GAO reports (published in September 2014 and in June 2016) reviewing the number of DoD issued 8(a) awards exceeding $20 million dollars, GAO identified a significant decline in high value sole source awards to 8(a) firms since implementation of the justification requirement in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Some agency officials at least partly attributed these declines to the new regulations. GAO also noted a corresponding increase in the number of competitively awarded high value 8(a) contracts.
To see key aspects of the proposed rule and read more, so to: https://www.insidegovernmentcontracts.com/2016/11/far-council-clarifies-8a-sole-source-justification-requirements-high-value-contracts/