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Join us for Industry Listening Sessions about Increasing Competition at the Task Order Level

| Jeff Koses, GSA’s Senior Procurement Executive, Office of Government-wide Policy
Post filed in: Acquisition

In our role as America’s buyer, GSA supports the mission needs of every agency across the Federal Government by providing effective and efficient acquisition and administrative support services. We know that we cannot successfully perform our mission without the support of our industry partners.

Whether through designating and empowering a Procurement Ombudsman to provide an informal and neutral avenue for industry to voice concerns, hosting reverse industry day training sessions, or enhancing the post-award experience for our industry partners through our INFORM 2.0 pilot, we have long emphasized the importance of creating and maintaining healthy and productive industry relationships.

You may have heard about a new flexibility to enhance competition under IDIQ contracts including under the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program. Section 876 of the Fiscal Year 2019 John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act (FY19 NDAA) gives GSA the authority to focus on creating robust competition at the order level, rather than evaluating prices for services acquired on an hourly rate basis at the contract level.

Our hope and expectation is that this authority will make it easier for you, our industry partners, to obtain Federal Supply Schedule and other GSA IDIQ contracts. We believe that by reducing barriers to entry, including the costs of pursuing and managing a GSA contract, we can increase effective competition.

I’ve recently issued a class deviation [PDF - 5 MB] to implement this authority for our new ASTRO procurement. This will let us study success drivers and potential challenges in our non-schedule IDIQ contracts. Feel free to take a look at the deviation and the policy changes it makes.

Sometimes, it’s easier to start from the beginning. Changing an enterprise as big and complex as the FSS program requires much more conversation. Every day, agencies depend on the FSS to meet critical mission requirements.

While we don’t often use an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to get your input, in this case, it’s the best way to ensure we engage in a full, open, and thoughtful dialogue. We want to know what you think. What is the best way to implement this authority? How does this affect the FSS? What contract types are applicable? Which solicitation and ordering requirements for Schedules should be revised?

So, yes, we want to read and think about your written responses to our questions, but we also want to hear what you have to say to us directly. That’s the best way to ensure GSA issues a really good proposed rule.

In other words, we’re using the ANPR to spur additional dialogue. GSA is interested in listening to our partners in industry, not talking at them. Comment, but also tell us what you think.

To that end, I am excited to announce that GSA’s Office of Procurement Ombudsman will be hosting a series of listening sessions between GSA and industry. Myself, our Procurement Ombudsman Maria Swaby, and other GSA subject matter experts will be on hand to hear your thoughts, proposals, ideas, and responses to the questions posed in the Section 876 ANPR. We will be offering five of these one-hour long listening sessions during the fall of 2020.

The dates and times and the registration link for the five listening sessions are below. If you have ideas to share, we want to hear from you. If you just want to listen, that’s okay too. Register for an upcoming listening session:

  • Session 1 - October 20, 2020, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
  • Session 2 - October 27, 2020, 11:00-12:00 noon
  • Session 3 - November 3, 2020, 2:00-3:00 p.m.
  • Session 4 - November 9, 2020, 10:00-11:00 a.m.
  • Session 5 - November 17, 2020, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

We hope you will consider attending and providing us with your thoughts. If you have additional questions, please reach out to the GSA Procurement Ombudsman’s Office at