GSA to give schedule guidance

FSS

By spreading best practices from other agencies, the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service is moving to help agencies make better use of the fast procurements possible through the FSS schedule contracts.

Federal agencies use the FSS schedules, including the information technology schedule, for small, one-time buys and for recurring requirements by setting up long-term blanket purchase agreements.

However, agencies have many misunderstandings about how to develop and award those contracts, according to reviews by the General Accounting Office. This has led to concern in Congress that the procurement reforms that made the schedules so popular are not being managed effectively.

FSS is starting to seek a private-sector partner that can help GSA discover what best practices exist in the many agencies that use the FSS schedules, said Carolyn Alston, FSS assistant commissioner for acquisition, at the Executive Leadership Conference Oct. 15 in Hershey, Pa.

Once best practices are identified, FSS is hoping to spread them to other agencies to improve the use of the schedules, Alston said.

A November 2000 GAO report found that agencies were not following GSA and Federal Acquisition Regulation procedures when buying products and services from the schedules, usually because the appropriate guidance was not available or they were unaware of the guidance.

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