GSA On Track to Release Consolidated MAS Program Schedule On First of October

This week, GSA announced it is on track to debut its Consolidated Multiple Acquisition Schedule (MAS) Program Schedule Solicitation on October 1. GSA also gave federal contractors planning to bid on the MAS a head start on the process by releasing a final draft solicitation and an updated industry FAQs sheet. Let’s take a look at how to utilize this opportunity to prepare for the solicitation’s long-awaited debut.

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GAO to Agency: Offerors are More than Just a CPARS-Generated Rating Percentage

GAO recently sustained protest to an agency’s FAR Part 13 procurement that relied exclusively on CPARS-generated assessment chart rating percentages to evaluate vendors’ past performance. The agency’s goal was to “maximize competition” by considering all past work, rather than just relevant work. While there is no FAR Part 13 regulatory prohibition on doing so, GAO found the CPARS charts incomplete and misleading and the evaluation inconsistent with the terms of the solicitation.

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GAO: Proposal Strengths Must be Based on Solicitation Criteria, Not Merely Benefit to Government

Agencies often find unanticipated, innovative content in offerors’ proposals. And unsurprisingly, those proposals are often the ones selected for award. But a recent GAO decision reminds us that all strengths an agency assigns must be supported by the stated evaluation criteria. In other words, the solicitation must thoroughly inform offerors of these evaluation criteria, and the agency must equally evaluate offerors under them. An offeror’s proposal should not get extra credit for proposing things that are not anticipated by or logically encompassed in the solicitation.

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U.S. Government to Ditch the DUNS

Earlier this month, the GSA announced a new Unique Entity Identifier Standard for Federal awards management. The new standard will go into effect December 2020. It will replace the current DUNS number system as the official identifier for all businesses contracting with the U.S. Federal Government. This should make registering to do business with the federal government a little easier, but the proof will be in the roll-out.

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2020 NDAA: Contractors Supplying Technical Data to Receive Protection of Data Rights During Challenges, Again

The draft 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, if enacted, will revoke the government’s ability to exercise rights in technical data during a supplier’s challenge to the contracting officer’s decision as to the validity of the asserted “use or release restrictions” on that data. It would reinstate the previous safeguard afforded to data suppliers, allowing them to protect their valuable–and often irreplaceable–intellectual property rights unless and until the contracting officer’s decision to remove the restrictions is sustained.

Keep in mind, this is just a draft provision, as the Senate version of the 2020 NDAA doesn’t contain the provision discussed in this blog.

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GSA Announces Plans to Consolidate MAS Contracts and Asks for Industry Feedback

The General Services Administration is conducting market research for its planned consolidation of the Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program. Earlier this month, GSA publicly announced the new single solicitation format, including streamlined terms and conditions, and its intention to collect feedback from government contractors in the industry. According to GSA, the consolidation is part of its two-year modernization process for the program that began in November of 2018. The consolidated MAS solicitation is scheduled for release later this year. And if you have concerns or suggestions for GSA on this significant consolidation, there is still time for your input.

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SBA Denies 8(a) Status Based on Applicant’s Ability to Successfully Overcome Gender-Based Discrimination in Her Field

OHA recently affirmed the 8(a) status denial of a 100% woman-owned small business performing in the historically male-dominated renewable energy field. The applicant—who SBA called an “advocate” and “mentor” to women in the industry—detailed specific instances of gender-based-discrimination that plagued her education, employment, and career. But SBA was unmoved, instead focusing its analysis on the applicant’s triumph over these obstacles—apparently an indication that she was not socially disadvantaged in the first place. Unfortunately, this perplexing holding does fall in line with many past SBA denials of women-owned companies for 8(a) status.

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