The government’s acquisition shop released proposed changes that reflect new administration priorities and adjust for expiring clauses and programs.
The General Services Administration released a set of updates as part of the first refresh of the Multiple Award Schedule consolidation solicitation—the vehicle that will replace the 24 schedules currently in place—to conform to changes in administration policy and clarify some technical details.
The refresh will feature a number of updates, including incorporating the latest rule prohibiting contracts that use telecommunication equipment produced by certain Chinese companies, including Huawei and ZTE. The original rule was published in August and included in the first consolidation solicitation.
However, since then, the administration has issued a second rule allowing contractors to make one annual declaration that their products and services do not include covered technologies, rather than the “offer-by-offer basis” required under the initial rule. The MAS consolidation refresh will include the latest language.
The solicitation will also be modified to adjust for the expiration of FAR 51 Deviation, which allowed agencies to give prime contractors authority to make purchases on behalf of the agency.
“Note that this was important because if the prime was purchasing as the ordering agency then the purchase is actually a GSA Schedule purchase and didn’t violate the price reduction clause,” GSA Schedules expert Courtney Fairchild, president and CEO of Global Services, told Nextgov. “I can tell you, however, that the authorization letters were few and far between so I don’t imagine this will be a huge disruption. But time will tell.”
The refresh removes language referring to the Open Ratings program for certifying past performance, as well. That service—provided through Dun & Bradstreet—ceased on Dec. 6.
GSA intends on removing Open Ratings as one of the three options for past performance evaluations, though a paragraph will be inserted explaining that “Offerors that ordered an Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation on or before December 06, 2019 may use the evaluation to demonstrate a pattern of Past Performance as long as the Open Ratings Past Performance Evaluation uploaded to the offer is dated within one (1) year of offer submission.”
“The Open Ratings is significant only in so far as the process for references to complete an online Open Ratings Questionnaire was less time consuming and easier than responding to the GSA inquiry,” Fairchild said. “Additionally GSA will now have to put out more support for the proposal process because they will be responsible for conducting the evaluation. Just less effective for everyone, really.”
The refresh includes changes to some of the special item numbers, or SINs, used to categorize different types of services being offered. GSA intends to change the name of SIN 332510 to "Hardware Manufacturing (Hardware Store, Home Improvement Center, or MRO-Services)" and SIN 325320 to “Pest and Animal Control Products & Services,” along with some mapping updates outlined in the change document.
These changes will officially go into effect on Jan. 15.
GSA program managers held an informational webinar Wednesday. However, due to technical difficulties that prevented many from attending, officials said they plan to schedule another session in the near future.
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