Three Agriculture Department agencies failed to use preferred contracts in the procurement of professional services for about two-thirds of the funds assigned for such purchases from fiscal 2009 to 2013, the Government Accountability Office found. That amounts to about $783 million of the nearly $1.8 billion USDA set aside in that time frame for professional services contracts, according to GAO's report (pdf). USDA's Departmental Management, Food and Nutrition Service, and Forest Service account for about 70 percent of the department's total obligations for professional service contracts, but only about 37 percent of the funds were awarded via performance-based, firm-fixed-price contracts, the kinds that the
Taxpayers and small businesses are benefitting from the ReverseAuctions program, the General Services Administration said. In fiscal 2014, 85 percent of auctions awarded through the initiative went to small businesses even though 60 percent was set aside for them, and overall, reverse auctions generated 23 percent savings off standard contract price, an Oct. 21 blog post says.
Security clearance contractor USIS suffered another in a series of setbacks Monday when the Government Accountability Office partially upheld a bid protest that removes the company from a contract it was given by the Homeland Security Department. DHS had awarded a $210 million Field Office Support Services contract to USIS in July after the Office of Personnel Management said it wouldn't do business with the company anymore.
The Defense Department has cut contracting dollars by 16 percent in 2013 from the prior year as a result of sequestration, according to a recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. DoD's budget was cut by about 8 percent in 2013, from 2012, and spending on procurement took the brunt of the hit, the Oct. 15 report says.
Federal agencies aren't embracing combined technology and services the way the private sector is, says an Oct. 14 joint Market Connections/Professional Services Council survey. Only about 20 percent of federal procurement workers said they would be procuring monitoring, infrastructure, software, communications and training on a consumption-based as a service model in the next year, the survey says.
Federal Acquisition Regulations Council issued a final rule Monday that lays out how and when agencies should transition over to a standard identification system for federal contracts. Agencies have until Oct. 1 2017 to implement the new Procurement Instrument Identification numbering system. PIID will only affect new contracts after the effective date, the rule says.
Contract management at the Energy Department continues to be a significant challenge, says an Oct. 7 DOE inspector general report. The DOE is the most contractor-dependent civilian agency in the federal government. It awards contracts, grants and other financial assistance to industrial companies, small businesses, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations.
Federal agencies are taking advantage of market research for big dollar procurements, but are missing those opportunities for smaller contracts, an Oct. 9 Government Accountability Office report says. All 28 contracts GAO reviewed included some evidence of the market research conducted. The contracts GAO reviewed were pulled from the Defense Department, Homeland Security Department, Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Department.
The Labor Department issued its final rule raising the minimum wage for federal contracting employees to $10.10 per hour, a notice in the Federal Register says. The pay bump, which will effect 10,000 low-wage workers at companies with federal concession agreements, goes into effect Jan. 1, 2015, the notice says.
The Postal Regulatory Commission published a final rule that lists the elements that need to be shown to bring a complaint that the Postal Service has violated competition rules. A valid complaint requires that the USPS have a rule, regulation or standard that precludes competition or establishes the terms of the competition, the rule (pdf) says.