The DoD, NASA, and GSA have proposed new rules aimed at providing transparency for reverse auctions after GAO reports in 2013 and 2018 signaled the need for guidance on reverse auctions to achieve cost savings and reduce fees.
As context, the FAR was amended in 1997 to allow for the use of reverse auctions. Six agencies conducted approximately 15,000 reverse auctions in 2016 alone. Reverse auctions, despite their wide use, are not without controversy. Application of fees, and inability to verify actual cost savings plague the use of reverse auctions.
Private companies have developed software and services which companies use to, hopefully, increase their chances in reverse auctions.
As a result, a new proposed rule is open for comments here.
The Federal Acquisition Regulation has officially been updated to increase the micro-purchase threshold and the simplified acquisition threshold, effective August 31, 2020. Various federal agencies had already increased the thresholds through deviations, but this rule makes it official across the board. A few additional thresholds will increase due to inflation.
Read on for the details on how this could impact federal procurement.
The current COVID-19 pandemic has prompted the federal government to take drastic measures. It has altered many aspects of federal contracting for contractors and agencies alike. During these trying times, agencies also have the authority to streamline some contracting procedures. Let’s take a look.
There are not many people or organizations that can say they anticipated the spread of this pandemic disease that is confining million to their homes as part of stay in place orders and self quarantines.
Though the FAR Council did not foresee that the coronavirus and COVID-19 would trap contractors in their homes, it did anticipate that from time to time events completely out of the control of contractors may conspire to affect the performance of contracts—though perhaps not to this magnitude.
The Court of Federal Claims recently reversed an agency’s default termination of a contractor that had experienced numerous performance issues and delays. The agency claimed that performance was “incurably behind schedule,” despite the contractor’s proposed recovery schedule.
The court held that the agency lacked a reasonable belief that the contract could not be timely completed.
Small subcontractors sometimes find themselves facing a cash flow crunch when they take on new work. Under some subcontract payment clauses, a small subcontractor might not be entitled to payment until 30 days or more after the prime contractor receives payment from the government for the subcontractor’s work. Even subcontracts with more generous payment terms often require small subcontractors to make significant up-front investments in terms of employee salaries, materials, and the like before receiving payment.
The Office of Management and Budget apparently recognizes that there is a problem, because yesterday OMB issued a memorandum entitled “Providing Prompt Payment to Small Business Subcontractors,” setting forth three steps the government is taking to address the matter. One of these steps–if it comes to fruition–may even have some “teeth.”