DATE: May 9, 2003

SUBJECT: Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP); Inter-Agency Contract Directory

SOURCE: OFPP Memorandum dated May 6, 2003


ACTION: Announcement

SYNOPSIS: On May 6, 2003, Angela Styles, OFPP Administrator, announced the roll-out of the on-line inter-agency Contract Directory at http://www.contractdirectory.gov, and asked agencies that manage inter-agency contracts to populate the database.

EDITOR'S NOTE: On February 15, 2002, a proposed rule was published that would add a new Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Subpart 5.6, Publicizing Multi-Agency Use Contracts, requiring contracting activities to publish in a single online database information about their governmentwide acquisition contracts (GWACs), multi-agency contracts, Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts, blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) under FSS contracts, and other procurement instruments intended for use by other agencies. The Contract Directory is that database. For more on this proposed rule, see the February 15, 2002, FEDERAL CONTRACTS DISPATCH "Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR); Electronic Listing of Acquisition Vehicles Available for Use By More Than One Agency."

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Earl Warrington, General Services Administration, 703-872-8609, e-mail: earl.warrington@gsa.gov; or Teresa Sorrenti, General Services Administration, 703-872-8610, e-mail: teresa.sorrenti@gsa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: The Contract Directory is part of the "Integrated Acquisition Environment" initiative being undertaken by the Bush administration as part of its "e-Government strategy" to "set in motion a transformation of government around citizen needs." There are 25 different initiatives in the e-Government strategy, including such initiatives as development of a one-stop database of recreation areas nationwide; development of the ability to permit citizens to personalize the combination of services they obtain across multiple programs and agencies; development of a database to provide information on business laws and regulations (including wizards and tutorials to help users determine if rules apply to them and how to proceed); and development of a database of grants.

The Integrated Acquisition Environment is gathering various acquisition-related databases together and making them available through a single portal. Some of the databases being integrated are the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) (http://www.ccr.gov), Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) (http://www.FedBizOpps.gov), Service Contract Act and Davis-Bacon Act wage determinations, and the reporting of contract award information to the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS).

The development of an "eCatalog" of inter-agency contract vehicles is intended to gather in one place information that has been scattered about the Internet (or been unavailable) to "simplify vendor selection and facilitate government buying." The Contract Directory will provide the acquisition community with a single website for general information on all inter-agency contracts, standardized information to facilitate market research, and a foundation for future market research across catalogs.

"Agencies will be able to use the Contract Directory as one tool during acquisition planning and market research in deciding whether they are better served by placing an order under an existing contract or pursuing a new contract," states Angela Styles in her memorandum. "Users will be able to search for information in various ways, including by principal product or service code or type of procurement instrument. Socioeconomic information will also be provided so agencies may consider small business contracting opportunities. However, the Contract Directory will not provide for searches by contractor, since the goal of the Contract Directory is to encourage thoughtful consideration of the capabilities of multiple sources as agencies consider how best to meet their needs."

"In addition, the Contract Directory will help senior managers to get a better picture of the number of inter-agency contracts that their agencies are managing. This information could be used, for instance, as part of a 'spending analysis' to rationalize contracting efforts, and eliminate unnecessary duplication of effort."

Access to the Contract Directory will be administered by each agency, similar to FedBizOpps. General Services Administration (GSA), the systems administrator for the Contract Directory, will provide training to agency administrators regarding contract submission, search, and reports generation. Training should be arranged with Bill Morgan of GSA at bill.morgan@gsa.gov or 202-501-3748.

"Agencies are urged to identify all covered vehicles and begin populating the Contract Directory as soon as possible," writes Ms. Styles. "The sooner the Contract Directory is populated, the faster potential customers can learn about, and make more educated decisions regarding, their options." A FAR rule will be issued in the near future to establish standardized timeframes for populating the Contract Directory. Contracting activities will be required to provide the information identified at the Contract Directory website for each inter-agency procurement they manage by October 31, 2003, for existing instruments that expire after June 1, 2004, and within 10 days of award of a new instrument. Entering information on inter-agency instruments expiring before June 1, 2004, will be optional.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2003 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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