Is it Now Easier to Enter the Professional Services Schedule?

Is it Now Easier to Enter the Professional Services Schedule?

The Professional Services Schedule (PSS) is making it easier to win new schedules and new SINs. The General Service Administration 00CORP PSS program announced that an upcoming March 2019 solicitation will streamline the solicitation and remove barriers to entry for new and existing schedule holders.

One significant change to the schedule review process will reduce the two past project requirements to one relevant past performance project. New offer hopefuls and current schedule holders can use this changes to win a schedule or SINs.

Other changes include requiring descriptions for training courses, products, and ODCs. Added clarifications to the Employee Compensation Plan stating handbooks are sufficient IF it “sets forth salary ranges and fringe benefits proposed for the professional employees who will work under the contract.”

To ensure integrity of the schedule program, PSS has also incorporated more stringent requirements for some firms.

Requirements Include:

  • SIN 520 7 Financial & Performance Audits – – must be licensed CPA and submit a peer reviewed report
  • SIN 520 20 Data Breach Response and Identity Protection Services – Work to itemize services, include a System Security Plan, and follow specific pricing requirements
  • SIN 541 4G Challenges and Competitions Services – 2 years’ corporate experience is waived, but project requirement is still in effect
  • SIN 541 1000 Other Direct Costs – must be commercially offered, include EPA clause, actual price plus IFF – unless clear documentation can be provided to justify mark-up, specific pricing requirements.
  • SIN 874 4 Training Services – Provide End User License Agreement for Learning Management Systems
  • SIN 874 8 Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act – Provide crosswalk of DAU equivalency, shall submit resumes, detailed training plan, and three customer references
  • SIN 874 9 Off-the-Shelf Training Devices and Training Materials – Provide Reseller Agreements, End User License Agreements
  • SIN 382 5 Services for the Visual and Hearing impaired – new Translation requirements, new Interpretation requirements
  • SIN 874 507 Operations & Maintenance Logistics Management – Only awarded in conjunction with 875 501, 503, or 504
  • SIN 874 597 Ancillary Repair and Alterations — Only awarded in conjunction with 875 501, 503, or 504, must identify Davis Bacon Act positions
  • SIN 899 Series – Must maintain required insurance
  • SIN 899 5 Materials and Waste Recycling and Disposal Services – Provide Summary documentation process through disposition of all materials
  • SIN 899 7 Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Services – Software can only be incidental, software technical data requirements
  • SIN 899 8 Remediation and Reclamation Services — Provide Summary documentation process through disposition of all materials, business size determined by NAICS 562910

These changes will not affect the One MAS schedule proposed in the coming two years. These changes should open the PSS program to new and current vendors and allow for greater competition on the schedule.

If you are interested in getting on the 00CORP PSS or need to modify your current schedule to add SINs, contact Coley GCS by email at [email protected] or talk to someone directly at 210-402-6766.

TXMAS Temporarily Suspending New Offers

TXMAS Temporarily Suspending New Offers

The Texas State Procurement Division (SPD), which manages the Texas Multiple Award Schedule (TXMAS), has announced that “effective immediately, SPD has issued a hold on accepting all new TXMAS applications.”

SPD cannot provide a guaranteed date to re-opening the successful TXMAS program, but tentatively have stated they expect the suspension to last through March 14, 2019. Interested vendors should return to the site after March 1, when a determination will be made regarding the suspension.

Current proposals in review will remain in the review process. All new application packets will be rejected and returned.

The TXMAS program has had difficulties and long review cycles over the last few years when sweeping changes were implemented, including:

  • Introduction of the online TXSmartBuy purchasing portal
  • Reduction in Texas Contract Redundancies
    • removal of all Technology products and services, including ancillary technology services, conferring communication, and audio-visual solutions – those offering are supported under the TX DIR program (TX DIR)
    • Other Miscellaneous products and solutions provided under State Term contracts (Term)
  • A requirement of a Signed letter from authorized buyers, guaranteeing purchasing through the TXMAS program

The award review cycles for contracts have been pushed from six months to 18 months for some vendors.

TXMAS is a successful state, local, and education procurement vehicle that award multiple award contracts using other federal and state multi-year award contracts as a base for establishing product offerings and price reasonableness.

If you are interested in pursuing the TXMAS contracting vehicle or other government and cooperative purchasing vehicles, contact Coley for assistance.

What A Government Shutdown Means for Contractors

What A Government Shutdown Means for Contractors

While our executive and legislative branches are at a stalemate over budget priorities non-essential government actives will not be funded and as January 20th will usher in a new demographic break-out of party partisans; it is likely this issue will not be resolved quickly. 

How will the shutdown affect you, the government contractor and your employees? The agencies where funding for FY19 has already been passed, and therefore not affected by a shutdown, include the Departments of Defense, Labor, Energy, Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs and the legislative branch. Your contracts will continue forward, If you have any contracts with agencies controlling discretionary spending — VA, DOD, HHS, Labor, Education or Labor.  You will receive payments for work completed during this time and no contracts should be cancelled.

Agencies impacted during the shutdown include the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Interior, Treasury, State, Housing and Urban Development, NASA, Transportation, Commerce, and Justice. If you have contracts with these agencies, unless your contract functions are essential, you are unlikely permitted to continue work and you and your employees will not receive compensation for this downtime. Essential personnel, such as airport security, will be permitted to work, however compensation for work may not occur until the government re-opens. 

If you have any outstanding invoices for non-essential work, you will not likely receive payment until the government re-opens. If this effects your business or you feel the issues of the stalemate or more important than your contracts, contact you representatives and share your opinion (technically, they work for us):

US House of Representatives: https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative

US Senate:https://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

White House: https://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/

If you have any questions on future or current government contracting opportunities, contact Coley for support.

GSA Releases Plan for One Schedule

GSA Releases Plan for One Schedule

The General Services Administration has announced the consolidation of the 24 Multiple Award Schedules into one single products and services Schedule. This single Schedule will have only one set of terms and conditions, which will allow more consistency in contracting practices.

Having one streamlined option will help buying and selling form the Federal Marketplace, an easier and effective experience. Rather than having to purchase products or services form different schedules, this one Schedule will be the main shop for all customer needs.

This also means customers will no longer have to submit new offers for products or services which fell under different Schedules. Now, a new submission of a modification will be needed.

This transformation of Schedules is estimated to take two years to complete, and GSA will assist in migrating current schedules into the one Schedule.

All interested vendors should attend the Federal Marketplace on Wednesday, December 12 from 9:30AM – 2:45PM EST. For in-person registration, follow the link: https://interact.gsa.gov/document/federal-marketplace-industry-day-registration-open

Virtual attendance instructions are as follows:

  1. Navigate to the following link (note: this link will be available starting at 9:15am EST on December 12th):  https://meet.gsa.gov/federalmarketplace/
  2. To login, please select the ‘Enter as a Guest” option and include the following identifying information: Name, Organization  [example: John Doe, ABC Corp]
  3. Once the Meeting Space application loads, connect your audio by entering your phone number.
  4. The event will begin at 9:30am EST.

 

At this time, VA FSS schedule holders will not be affected by this consolidation.

 

Should You Pursue a GSA Schedule? E-Buy Open Can Help!

Should You Pursue a GSA Schedule? E-Buy Open Can Help!

A new GSA tool to see who wins GSA Schedule bids may help you decide.

The General Services Administration (GSA) has launched a new pilot program to make eBuy award public through the Federal Business Opportunities portal at www.FBO.gov. The program will be called e-Buy Open and will run for a one-year pilot period.  E-Buy open will remove some of the mystery regarding the GSA Schedules and help vendors to see where they fit in the program.

The actual bid opportunities will not be made public, only the post-award data. This will provide vendors with insights into which agencies are purchasing which products and services. This information will help interested vendors make more informed, data-driven decisions.

We often hear of aspiring government contractors struggling to understand the types of opportunities they could pursue if they had a GSA Schedule. This will be a great tool to allow contractors to go in and complete a market analysis that will help them determine whether a GSA schedule is right for them.  E-Buy Open offers vendors a new data-driven decision tool.

GSA hopes that providing this transparency will stimulate interest and competition in the schedule program.  Federal Acquisition Service Commissioner Alan Thomas said “Not only will publishing post-award RFQ information publicly give our industry partners greater insight, but it will also encourage more vendors to pursue opportunities with GSA.”

Enter the keyword “eBuyPilot” in the search box on FedBizOpps https://www.fbo.gov/ to find these award notices. The GSA pilot program will Include eBuy Data through the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS).

Coley has helped clients with in depth market analysis to see what contracting vehicle is the best fit for government contractors. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at 210-402-6766 or [email protected]. We would love the opportunity to provide you with the insights you need to make the best decision for your government contracting success.

Making it Easier for Federal Agencies to Buy from GSA Schedules

Making it Easier for Federal Agencies to Buy from GSA Schedules

All Federal agencies have to abide by a variety of rules. These determine who and how agency buyers should purchase from the various procurement vehicles available to them. As part of their due diligence, government contractors will conduct research on what contracting vehicles their targeted buyers are using. They will then pursue getting on those vehicles in order to compete. At the end of the day, you want to make it easier for your buyer to do business with you.

For Federal agencies buying products and services from GSA Schedule holders just got a lot easier.

In September of 2018, GSA, DOD, and NASA were successful in appealing to the CAAC to eliminate individual determination requirements on interagency acquisitions. Eliminating individual requirement determination will help streamline acquisitions through the GSA schedule programs, as well as others.

The previous rule was that all acquisition above $550,000 required the contracting officer to perform a determination of best procurement approach. Then they had to request approval to purchase through another agencies contracting vehicle if it was seen as the best approach. The recent letter states the authority given in the FY’18 the Defense Authorization bill permits a class determination per contracting vehicle.

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC) is a multi-agency governing body. They “assists the Administrator of General Services in developing and maintaining the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) System by developing or reviewing all proposed changes to the FAR.”

Many contractors currently doing business in the federal market without a GSA Schedule will start facing more competition. Reach out to Coley at 210-402-6766 or [email protected] if you want to have a conversation about what is involved in getting and managing a GSA Schedule. We can provide you with insights to help determine if it is the right decision for you.

GSA Adding New SIN 132-20 for ACCS

GSA Adding New SIN 132-20 for ACCS

Automated Contact Center Solutions will soon be on GSA Schedule 70

GSA has been engaging with the IT industry since October 2017 to help define the terms and conditions of the new Automated Contact Center Solutions (ACCS) SIN. GSA recently announced that SIN 132 20 will be officially established October 1, 2018. In fact, adding SIN to GSA Schedule 70 will allow federal agencies access to a deeper pool of vendors. Additionally, it will provide a streamlined acquisition through the schedule and eliminate contract duplication.

For the past two years, GSA has  worked to identify and eliminate contract duplication. Therefore, consolidating diverse products or services within its Schedule Program. The creation of SIN 132 56 Health Information Technology Services a recent similar update.  Likewise, the new ACCS SIN will replace the existing USA Contact IDIQ and open the opportunity to additional industry providers of ACCS. (more…)

GSA IT Schedule 70 Cloud SIN Proposed Changes RFI

GSA IT Schedule 70 Cloud SIN Proposed Changes RFI

GSA is seeking industry feedback on proposed changes to the Cloud Computing SIN 132 40. GSA released a Request for Information (RFI) through the eBuy system detailing the changes and specific questions to Industry.

The purpose of the proposed changes is to revise the definition of Cloud Computing to allow for more applications and services to be provided to the Federal government. Several proposed changes include:

  • Revising the name of the SIN to reflect “Cloud and Cloud-Related IT Professional Services.”
  • Addition of clarifying language to solve ambiguities about the necessity of “metering,” required by the NIST Cloud essential characteristics. In short, SIN 132-40 now clarifies that Cloud products must have discrete “pay as you go” measurements of appropriate compute resources to ensure the Government realizes the benefit of Cloud deployments.
  • Addition of IT Professional Services to the SIN. This change will allow IT services organizations to provide IT professional services in direct support of Cloud migration and adoption. The focus of these IT professional services shall be aligned to assessing Cloud solutions, preparing for Cloud solutions, refactoring workloads for Cloud solutions, migrating Cloud solutions, and providing governance to Cloud solutions.
  • Evaluation factors will be removed from Critical Element terms and conditions and moved to CI-FSS-152-N ADDITIONAL EVALUATION FACTORS FOR NEW OFFERORS UNDER SCHEDULE 70.

GSA is seeking industry feedback on the following areas:

  1. For overall Cloud Services, can they be developed and or modified in order to offer to customers that are OCONUS (Outside Continental United States) via GSA Schedule 70? If not, what are the issues that would prevent it from being offered?
  2. For Cloud Services (i.e. IaaS, etc.), is there anything in the proposed language that would impede the Government’s desire to gain access to Cloud products?
  3. For Cloud Services (i.e. IaaS, etc.), is there a more precise way to describe the minimal increment of the “metered services” requirement to reflect the Government’s desire to gain the benefit of “pay as you go” consumption? How is the “pay-as-you-go” model currently structured with regard to price? Is there an alternative approach that would be more effective?
  4. For Cloud Services (i.e. IaaS, etc.), if there are instances when Cloud products cannot meet the requirement of frequent incremental billing because they require annual fees, are there any examples when these products could not be considered Term Licenses (132-32)?
  5. For Cloud-Related IT Professional Services, are there any particular services that are relevant for supporting the Government’s migration and adoption of Cloud products that should be added to the list of eligible services?
  6. For Cloud-Related IT Professional Services, is there a better way to describe the services that the Government seeks to support its desire to find specific expertise related to Cloud deployments?
  7. For Cloud-Related IT Professional Services, is there anything in the proposed language that would inhibit contractors or impede the Government’s access to providers of Cloud related services? Would the services have to meet FISMA requirements?

The deadline for responses is Tuesday, October 9, 2018. You may email your responses to [email protected] with the subject line of “IT Schedule 70 RFI Response re: Software SINs”

You may also send your responses to [email protected] to be included in our compilation response.

Please let us know if you have any questions regarding the Cloud Computing SIN or the GSA Schedule.

Introduction to BIC – Best In Class Contracts

Introduction to BIC – Best In Class Contracts

WHAT IS BIC?

In December 2014, The Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published a memo discussing a new strategic mission for federal acquisitions – a strategy focused on best value over lowest price. The strategic framework is Category Management and the resulting contract evaluation tool is the Best-in-Class (BIC) solution.

BIC is a preferred and sometimes mandatory government-wide acquisition designation for contracts and vehicles that can be used by multiple agencies and that satisfy five key criteria established by the OMB:

  1. Rigorous requirements definitions and planning processes
  2. Appropriate pricing strategies
  3. Data-driven strategies to change buying and consumption behavior (i.e., demand management)
  4. Category and performance management strategies
  5. Independently validated reviews

The BIC designation was applied to more than 30 contract vehicles based upon how they are vetted, managed and recommended by Government purchasers.  One of the measuring tools to determine BIC designation is Spend Under Management (SUM).  OMB defines SUM as “the percentage of an organizations spend that is actively managed according to category management principles—or smart decision-making to buy similar goods and services through best-value solutions. Increasing SUM will decrease costs, contract duplication, and inefficiency leading to better buying outcomes.”

Applying SUM, OMB established four tiers for existing contract or vehicles:

  • Tier 3, Best-in-Class (BIC) Solutions – Dollars obligated on Best-in-Class contracts.
  • Tier 2, Multi-Agency Solutions – Dollars obligated on multi-agency contracts that satisfy rigorous standards set for leadership, strategy, data, tools, and metrics.
  • Tier 1, Mandatory-Use Agency-Wide Solutions – Dollars obligated on agency-wide contracts with mandatory-use or mandatory-consideration policies, along with standards set for data-sharing and other criteria.
  • Tier 0, Spend NOT Aligned to Category Management Principals – Dollars obligated on contracts that do not fit into one of the three tiers above. Agencies should analyze Tier 0 spend to find opportunities for shifting to higher-tiered solutions.

As the saying goes, what gets measured, gets done. OMB has established performance metrics to contracts, this will pressure agencies to use the BIC designated solutions.

Vendors would be wise to continue monitoring the approved BIC solutions and work to get on those contracts.  You can find all the BIC solutions here.

We continue to monitor the cycle and changes in federal acquisition and work to get you competitive. If you have questions or need assistance obtaining a GSA or BIC contract, contact Coley GCS.

GSA’s New Pilot Promises Faster Awards

GSA’s New Pilot Promises Faster Awards

GSA released GSA Express, a new acquisition channel using the Commercial Solutions Opening (CSO) procedures. GSA Express will look to align agencies needs for “innovative commercial items, including products, technologies, and services” through a less-restrictive and less-formal competitive process. Express estimate the award process at 30-120 days using templates and centralized acquisition support; where solicitations with statements of work can take months or years. The procurement begins by identifying agency need, then requesting white papers or solution briefs from industry. GSA will use the needs and briefs to develop a solicitation and request a full proposal.

As the emphasis is on innovative solutions, the idea is to provide agencies access to new technologies from young and nontraditional government companies with little or no experience working with the federal government. Express will encourage use of the traditional schedule, GWACS, and BPAs; but will not require its use. The CSO will emphasize value and merit over pricing and provide contracting officers flexibility to determine contracting vehicle

Further, CSO’s allow agencies and companies to negotiate terms for cancellation and removes the opportunity for protests.

There are no current solicitations available, but there are 28 opportunities being developed between GSA Express and Agencies customers.

Until there are posted opportunities, there are not registrations, but you may request a briefing with the GSA express team. We encourage you to attend federal trade shows and conferences to meet with decision makers and share your innovative solutions.

Key Information:

A White Paper/Solution Brief will be specific to the need, but should include title page, solution concept, and company viability. See GSA’s explanation here: https://aas.gsa.gov/.

GSA Express explains their process as 4 steps:

  1. We solicit commercial solutions that address current needs of Agency clients.
  2. When there is an open area of interest, you can respond to compete for the opportunity by submitting a brief about your solution.
  3. If we are interested in learning more about a solution, we may invite you in for an oral presentation or invite you to submit more information to us about your solution.
  4. If we think there’s a good match between your solution and our client’s requirements, we’ll invite you to provide us with a full proposal — this is the beginning of negotiating all the terms and conditions of a proposed contract.

GSA Express defines Innovative as

  1. Any item that is—
    1. A new technology, process, or method as of the date of submission of a solution brief; or
    2. A new application or adaptation of an existing technology, process, or method as of the date of submission of a solution brief.
  2. Includes existing items within the production/commercialization phase (i.e. after design or development, and before widespread government or commercial adoption) as well as new adaptations of existing commercial items.

 

FedBizOpps link to the GSA AAS EXPRESS CSO Program

CSO Guide Book: https://www.gsa.gov/cdnstatic/PIRC%20CSO%20Guide%206818.pdf

Other sources: https://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2018/05/all-agencies-can-now-buy-innovative-tech-shark-tank-speed/148456/

ALERT: New Login Process for SAM.gov

ALERT: New Login Process for SAM.gov

IMPORTANT SAM.GOV UPDATES

Following alleged fraudulent activity on the SAM website, GSA set up requirements to that authorized vendors needed to submit a notarized letter validating the Entity Administrator. This process, however, created some complications, backlog, and delays in updating SAM profiles. This makes government customer payments problematic.

Beginning June 29th, 2018; GSA will revise their requirement a bit. A notarized letter is still a requirement, but they will approve changes and registration without the letter temporarily. The profile will be active for 30 days if a notarized letter is not received.  You can find the templates for the letters here instructions for domestic entities or instructions for international entities.

The second change is that your current SAM login will no longer work on and after June 29th, 2018.  Ultimately, your SAM Registration will implement a multi-factor authentication that now requires you to create a login at Login.gov with a valid email address and a working phone number (cell or landline).  SAM is suggesting, and we do as well, that all existing registrants verify if the email associated to your SAM account is accessible.  Uncovering any issues during this procedure and fixing them immediately will only help you in the future when you really have to update your registration.

You can find more information here or reach out to Coley GCS via email at [email protected] or by phone at 210-402-6766 if you have any concerns or additional questions.

GSA Mass Modification for Order Level Materials is Coming

GSA Mass Modification for Order Level Materials is Coming

Beginning June 11-13, 2018; vendors should begin seeing mass modification invitations addressing Commercial Supplier Agreements (CSA)/End User License Agreements (EULA).

Following the acceptance of the first modification, vendors will see a second mass modification to add the Order Level Materials (OLM) SIN to select schedules. NOTE: The first modification regarding CSAs must be accepted before you are able to receive the OLM modification.

The OLM SIN will allow vendors to include supplies and services necessary to perform a job when supplies and services are not known at the time. Items placed under the OLM on task order are not awarded to your GSA schedule and pricing will be determined on an order level. OLM may only account for up to 33% of a total order.

This change will provide vendors flexibility in bidding opportunities and make GSA more attractive to agencies. OLMs also include the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF), so include fee when calculating costs. GSA will see an increase in revenue as a result, as well.

GSA has created a convenient chart to understand the differences between OLM and others:

The Affected GSA Schedules Include:

  • Schedule 03 FAC: Facilities Maintenance and Management
  • Schedule 56: Buildings and Building Materials/Industrial Services and Supplies
  • Schedule 70: General Purpose Information Technology Equipment, Software, and Services
  • Schedule 71: Furniture
  • Schedule 84: Total Solutions for Law Enforcement, Security, Facilities Management, Fire, Rescue, Clothing, Marine Craft, and Emergency/Disaster Response
  • Professional Services Schedule 00CORP: All Professional Services
  • Schedule 738X: Human Resources and EEO Service

If you have questions on the OLM or need assistance, contact Coley GCS at [email protected] or directly by phone at 210-402-6766

New Security Changes for GSA

New Security Changes for GSA

Sunday evening GSA systems sent out a notification to all schedule holders that GSA systems have updated security for logins and that all GSA Contract vendors are required to reset their passwords before they will have access to GSA systems again.

The new security changes affect several GSA systems, including the Vendor Support Center (VSC) Portal, eBuy, Advantage Spend Analysis Program (ASAP), Schedule Input Program (SIP), Reverse Auctions and the 72A Quarterly Reporting systems.

GSA’s new security introduces a standard 2-Factor authentication login method which will trigger a one-time, time-sensitive access code every time you login to one of the GSA systems.

The new security feature was developed and deployed in a vacuum without industry feedback and its no-notice implementation has created enormous confusion, inconvenience, and an inability to access GSA systems both for GSA contract vendors and GSA employees.

Many of our clients have indicated that GSA is using very old, now-defunct email address to send the time-sensitive access code when they login. Through research, we determined that updated email addresses submitted to other GSA Systems, including ebuy, elibrary, eOffer, and contract points of contact, did not update the email address associated with your VSC portal profile. As a result, the VSC profile may still contain the email address used to originally register your GSA contract 5, 10, or even 15 years ago.

To fix this problem, you will need to contact the VSC help line. They may be able to assist you, but several have stated that contracting officer on account is the only one that can update the email. If that is the case contact your contracting officer and inform them of the issue. You may need to provide SF30s of administrative modifications changing the POC. The CO will attempt to update the POC on their side. Attempt to access the site again.

Accessing eBuy, 72A, or other sites

The 2-Factor authentication will be required every time you access any of the above sites. You may use a drop-down menu to select the individual that you want to receive the one-time access code or you can create an alias email, such as [email protected] that distributes the email to all key points of contact to ensure timely submission of the login access code.

You can set up multiple recipients in eBuy to receive the daily opportunities. The login should remain your contract number along with your newly created password.

We understand this can be confusing and frustrating, please contact us if you are having problems resetting your password and we’ll help.

GSA Commercial Supplier Agreement Final Rule

GSA Commercial Supplier Agreement Final Rule

The terms & conditions of standard Commercial Supplier Agreements (CSA) have been a point of frustrated negotiations in federal procurement for years. GSA has tried numerous times to create “fail charts” of terms that are at odds with the requirements set by statute as well as in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR).   To reduce government cost, time and frustration in negotiations; GSA has signed a final rule addressing certain contract provisions that are standard in commercial contracts are deemed “unenforceable” when applied to Federal contracts.

Commercial Supplier Agreements (CSA) and often called End User License Agreements (EULA), Terms of Service (TOS), Terms of Use (TOU), or simply, Software agreements.

GSA’s final rule addresses common commercial supplier agreement terms that are inconsistent, or create ambiguity, with Federal law. The primary alterations include a reordering of the Order of Precedence and the addition of the Unenforceable Clauses.

The change and addition will create clarity regarding several unenforceable clauses commonly found in CSA’s that will take precedence over the CSA terms.  The unenforceable clauses include elements that may be common in commercial contracts, but cannot be included in Government contracts, due to statutes and regulations contained in the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation).

Such Unenforceable Clauses include:

Any language, provision, or clause requiring the Government to pay any future fees, penalties, interest, legal costs or to indemnify the Contractor or any person or entity for damages, costs, fees, or any other loss or liability that would create an Anti-Deficiency Act violation

End User will be the ordering activity and not any employee or person.

Law and disputes. This agreement is governed by Federal law. No state, district, municipality, or territory’s laws will take precedence to Federal law. Additionally, the venue for dispute resolution will be in prescribed by Federal law

Federal law will mandate the time-frames for bringing an action or dispute

Continued performance. The supplier or licensor shall not unilaterally revoke, terminate or suspend any rights granted to the Government except as allowed by this contract. IF there is an issue, the vendor will follow the Contracts Dispute Act.

Agency will determine dispute relief regarding the use of arbitration

Vendors can unilaterally update terms, as long as they are immaterial

No automatic renewals. If any license or service tied to periodic payment is provided under this agreement, such license or service shall not renew automatically upon expiration of its current term without prior express consent by an authorized Government representative

Department of Justice will defend the end user in any indemnification claims

Vendors may audit end user compliance with terms but will do so at vendors costs. If additional charges need to be made, it will be handled through the Disputes clause, FAR 520233-2

 

General Services Administration’s Final Rule May Increase Contractor’s Cost.

The inclusion of the final rule will reduce time and costs in pre-award negotiations– assuming you accept all clauses without exception. As this clause will help to reduce time in negotiations (and therefore, cost) with the initial award of products or services requiring a CSA; there may be longer-term costs to consider with longer-time frames to resolve disputes and  difficult indemnification issues.

All clauses may be disputed, and exceptions requested, however the effort will be costly. With the cost of legal fees to request waivers with unlikely outcomes, the, acceptance of unenforceable clauses can be the cost of doing business with the Federal government.

GSA initially created a class deviation to solve the issues encountered with CSA; but this process was met with criticism as it does not allow for industry input or comments. The latest deviation opened to public comments in 2016 and has reached a final rule February 2018.

If you have questions on our CSA, contract modifications, or other schedule related concerns; please contact us at [email protected] or directly by phone at 210-402-6766.

Source: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/02/22/2018-03350/general-services-administration-acquisition-regulation-unenforceable-commercial-supplier-agreement

 

Notice: Alleged Fraudulent Activity in SAM

Notice: Alleged Fraudulent Activity in SAM

Check your SAM Profile

GSA is currently investigating alleged fraudulent activity on their System for Award Management (SAM) SAM.gov. Although it is believed that only a few registered entities are impacted, it is recommended, that registered entities check their bank account information in SAM for accuracy.

It is suspected that thieves hacked SAM and changed companies bank account information so that government payments were rerouted to the thieves’ accounts. The only way to be sure about your account is to check your SAM registration to make sure your bank account number is correct.

For more information on GSA’s announcement you can visit:
https://www.gsa.gov/about-us/organization/federal-acquisition-service/office-of-systems-management/integrated-award-environment-iae/sam-update

We would also recommend that you renew your SAM account prior to April 27th. SAM will begin requiring an original signed and notarized letter of authorization for the Entity Administrator. The letter is a great way to safeguard the data, but it will create delays in the review process of your SAM account.   GSA also provides instructions for the notarized letter. 

Need help? Reach out to ColeyGCS via email at [email protected]

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