Barry McVay's FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH
DATE: August 21, 2000
FROM: Barry McVay, CPCM
SUBJECT: Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR); Electronic Commerce in Federal Procurement
SOURCE: Federal Register, August 21, 2000, Vol. 65, No. 162, page 50871
AGENCIES: Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
ACTION: Proposed Rule
SYNOPSIS: It is proposed that the FAR (particularly FAR Part 5, Publicizing Contract Actions) be amended to designate FedBizOpps (http://www.fedbizopps.gov) as the single governmentwide point of electronic entry (GPE) to federal procurement opportunities. Agencies would have until October 1, 2001, to complete their transition to FedBizOpps.
DATES: Submit comments on or before October 20, 2000.
ADDRESSES: Submit comments to General Services Administration, FAR Secretariat (MVRS), 1800 F Street, NW, Room 4035, ATTN: Laurie Duarte, Washington, DC 20405, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cite FAR case 1997-304 in all correspondence related to this proposed rule.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ralph De Stefano, Procurement Analyst, 202-501-1758.
SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: The Fiscal Year 1998 National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 105-85), Section 850, Use of Electronic Commerce in Federal Procurement, eliminated the preference for electronic commerce to be conducted through the Federal Acquisition Computer Network (FACNET). On October 30, 1998, Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) 97-09 was published, and it contained an interim rule that implemented Section 850 of Public Law 105-85 and substituted more flexible electronic commerce policies. Comments on the interim rule were invited, and 28 respondents submitted comments.
Since the publication of FAC 97-09, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) has studied the advantages and disadvantages of several electronic methods of disseminating federal procurement information, including FACNET, Commerce Business Daily Network (CBDNet), and the Electronic Posting System (EPS). OFPP wanted to create a central point for electronic access to business opportunities, leverage the investment made by the private sector in commercial software and techniques, provide sellers with a consistent process for locating business opportunities, and provide government buyers a streamlined method of preparing and issuing solicitation information without disrupting current agency electronic commerce software. OFPP has decide that the EPS is the best vehicle for meeting these objectives. (EDITOR'S NOTE: The EPS, which is operated by GSA and is used by 20 agencies, is being renamed as "FedBizOpps" (Federal Business Opportunities), and will be accessible at http://www.fedbizopps.gov.)
This proposed rule would establish FedBizOpps as the single GPE for accessing notices of proposed contract actions, solicitations, and related procurement information. In addition, it would incorporate several of the comments submitted in response to the October 30, 1998, interim rule.
Most of the changes in the proposed rule would either substitute "GPE" for "CBD" [Commerce Business Daily] or would add "GPE" to requirements and statements applicable to the CBD. The following are other major changes that would be made by this proposed rule:
- To FAR 2.101, Definitions, would be added the definition of GPE, which would be "the single point where Government business opportunities greater than $25,000, including synopses of proposed contract actions, solicitations, and associated information, can be accessed electronically by the public. The GPE is located at http://www.fedbizopps.gov."
- FAR 5.003, Governmentwide Point of Entry (GPE), would be added. It would state, "For any requirement in the FAR to publish a notice in the CBD through the GPE, the contracting office may transmit the notice directly to the CBD if the contracting office lacks the capability to access the GPE and the notice is issued prior to October 1, 2001."
- FAR 5.101, Methods of Disseminating Information, would require agencies to continue publishing in the CBD synopses of proposed contract actions expected to exceed $25,000, but agencies would be required to submit the synopses through the GPE (except under the conditions specified in FAR 5.003). (EDITOR'S NOTE: Revised paragraph (b)(2) of FAR 5.201, General, would require contracting officers to "direct the GPE to forward the notice to the CBD.")
- FAR 5.102, Availability of Solicitations, would be revised to require the contracting officer to make available through the GPE "solicitations synopsized through the GPE, including specifications and other pertinent information determined necessary by the contracting officer." Contracting officers would be encouraged to provide additional information related to the solicitation. In addition, the contracting officer would be required to transmit solicitations posted on FACNET to the GPE.
There would be several exceptions to this requirement: disclosure would compromise national security; "the nature of the file (e.g., size, format) does not make it cost effective or practicable for contracting officers to provide access through the GPE"; the agency's senior procurement executive makes a written determination that access through the GPE is not in the government's interest; or the contracting office lacks the capability to access the GPE and the synopsis is issued prior to October 1, 2001. When the solicitation is not made available through the GPE, the contracting officer would be encouraged to use other electronic means (such as CD-ROM or e-mail) whenever practicable and cost effective. Contracting officers would be authorized to make paper copies of solicitations not submitted to the GPE.
- FAR 5.203, Publicizing and Response Time, would require synopses to be "forwarded by the GPE, and published in the CBD, at least 15 days before issuance of a solicitation" (with the current exceptions for acquisitions of commercial items and several other types of acquisitions). "Contracting officers may, unless they have evidence to the contrary, presume that notice has been published 10 days (6 days if electronically transmitted through the GPE or other means) following transmittal of the synopsis to the CBD."
- FAR 5.207, Preparation and Transmittal of Synopses, would require synopses submitted to the GPE to be in the same format as synopses to the CBD. Added to the format would be the place of contract performance and set-aside status ("if the proposed acquisition provides for a total or partial set-aside, a very small business set-aside, or a HUBZone [historically underutilized business zone] small business set-aside").
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry McVay at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to BarryMcVay@FedGovContracts.com.
Copyright 2000 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.
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