Ensuring contract competition

Under a revision to the Federal Acquisition Regulation, federal contracting

officers must take steps to ensure that quick-award contracts are competitive.

The General Services Administration, the Defense Department and NASA issued

the final rule Tuesday to help contracting officers ensure competition in

multiple-award contracts and the task orders issued on those contracts.

The agencies developed the revision last year after members of Congress

expressed concern about the level of competition in multiple-award contracts,

such as the GSA schedules.

The revised FAR emphasizes the use of performance-based contracting practices

and requires contracting officers to document why they chose to use or not

use a multiple-award contract.

It also highlights several factors that contracting officers must consider

before using or developing a multiple-award contract, including the mix

of resources a contractor must have to perform an expected task or delivery

order and the agency's ability to maintain competition among the awardees

throughout the contract's performance period.

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