The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has published another Federal Acquisition Circular, including five previously released rules: Uniform Use of Line Items; Acquisition Threshold for Special Emergency Procurement Authority; Contractor Employee Internal Confidentiality Agreements or Statements; Contracts Under the Small Business Administration 8(a) Program; and Prohibition on Reimbursement for Congressional Investigations and Inquiries. The rule about confidentiality requirements prohibits the government from contracting with a company that prevents its employees from reporting waste and abuse, and the 8(a) rule includes a number of clarifications regarding the program.
Former Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) Administrator Steve Kelman follows up on his post from last week by looking at how Elon Musk’s SpaceX is approaching contracting and how IT procurement could learn from that approach. Kelman reiterates his view that agile contracting is the best way forward for IT, but also sees how there may be a new way. “I want to put out there for discussion in the community what we might want to call agile 2.0 – which introduces multi-vendor competition for agile sprints and explores having individual sprints done on a fixed-price basis.” Free registration is required to read this article.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) dismissed the pre-award bid protests brought by several companies, challenging the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Alliant 2 information technology (IT) contracting vehicle. The companies—Buchanan & Edwards, Inc., Enterprise Information Services, Inc., InfoReliance Corp. and Sevatec, Inc.—claimed the “highest technically rated offerors with a fair and reasonable price evaluation scheme is impermissible for failing to properly consider price.” But GAO ruled “the Federal Acquisition Regulation permits agencies to use any one or a combination of source selection approaches to obtain the best value.”
But GAO did sustain the protest of Walker Development & Trading Group, Inc., which argued the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) improperly cancelled a request for quotation (RFQ) for laundry services, and the extension of the period of performance of an existing contract for the same services. After receiving quotes, and re-opening the RFQ once, the VA cancelled the solicitation and—Walker alleges—essentially awarded a sole-source contract to the incumbent. GAO sustained the protest, finding agency did not have a reasonable basis for cancelling the solicitation or for extending the period of performance for the existing contract.