It’s difficult to keep track of all of the news published that impacts the public sector market every day. That’s why the Public Spend Forum Newswire captures and synthesizes the new policies, regulations, thought leadership and legislation that is changing and influencing your job. Here are a few highlights from today’s Newswire. Subscribe today to receive all of the stories from this edition.

FAR Council Clarifies “Encouragement” for Responsible Discussions with Industry

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has proposed a new rule that specifically states agencies are encouraged to engage in “responsible and constructive exchanges with industry, so long as those exchanges are consistent with existing laws and regulations, and promote a fair competitive environment.” The change in language is a result of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act, and while it doesn’t actually change policy, it’s intended to clarify past concerns over discussions. According to the FAR case, “This revision, coupled with the existing guidance in the FAR subpart 1.1 and the market research strategies set forth in FAR part 10, will better equip Federal acquisition officials with the information needed to issue high-quality solicitations.”

Protests Dismissed After GAO’s Authority Expires

The effect of legislators allowing the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) jurisdiction over specific task order protests lapse is now coming to fruition. GAO dismissed a recent protest because, “the statutory grant of jurisdiction to the Government Accountability Office to consider protests in connection with task and delivery orders valued above $10 million, issued under civilian agency multiple-award indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contracts, has expired.” By not passing a bill to retain it on September 30, the Senate let the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) authority to hear protests of civilian agency task or delivery orders worth more than $10 million expire.

GSA Inspector General Raises Acquisition Workforce Concerns

A General Services Administration (GSA) Office of Inspector General (OIG) report highlighted acquisition workforce problems at the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS), reports FedWeek. The OIG wrote that contracting officers are not receiving specialized training in schedule acquisitions, and that “the limited availability of schedule-related training puts the government at an increased risk that schedule contracts may be improperly awarded and/or administered.”

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