MAS March Madness: Increased Competition In Multiple Award Schedule Orders

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On March 16, 2011, the FAR Councils, heeding Congress’ mandate in Section 863 of the 2009 Defense Authorization Act, published an interim rule intending to ramp up competition for orders placed under GSA Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”) contracts and FSS Blanket Purchase Agreements (“BPA”). The new rules, which apply to all federal agencies as of May 16, 2011, instill varying degrees of competition to orders above the FAR’s $3,000 Micropurchase Threshold depending on the type of order being placed (i.e., with or without a statement of work (“SOW”) or placed under a multiple award BPA). The attached matrix, prepared by Jonathan Aronie, co-author with John Chierichella of the GSA Schedule Handbook (West 2010), provides a useful summary of the new rules.

While the Interim Rule incorporates a number of changes from GSA’s historic ordering procedures, the most notable relates to the increased reliance on e-Buy to ensure agencies maximize competition among Schedule holders (and BPA holders). By urging agencies to post their RFQs on the e-Buy website, along with a description of the services and goods being sought or, if applicable, the statement of work and RFQ selection criteria, the Interim Rule intends to allow “all contractors” an “opportunity to respond” to each solicitation.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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