GSA to strictly enforce Networx fair opportunity requirements

The General Services Administration plans to strictly enforce fair opportunity requirements in the Networx contracts, but agency contracting officers will have broad discretion in developing specific ordering processes for their agencies, Jack Braun, contracting officer for Networx Universal, said today.

Braun, speaking at GSA’s second Networx Transition Summit in Reston, Va., said agencies should now be developing their selection criteria. GSA will award Networx Universal in March, and Networx Enterprise in May.

GSA will oversee the fair opportunity aspects of the contracts, but cannot dictate individual criteria for agencies, he said.

“There’s too much variation in the agencies, too many different missions and too many different kinds of orders that are going to be placed” for GSA to be too specific, Braun said.

Fair opportunity, as defined under the Federal Acquisition Regulation, means all contract awardees should get a chance to compete for individual task orders under the contracts. The term applies to orders worth more than $3,000.

“It’s a fair opportunity to be considered,” Braun said. “There are going to be times when agencies will want to designate a preferred provider. No, you’re not supposed to do that.”

Agencies will have to choose either Networx Universal or Networx Enterprise, but not both, for each set of requirements they develop, he said. Some agencies will prefer to develop one set of requirements agencywide, while others will want to develop different sets of requirements for sub-agencies, different geographic regions or other agency divisions, Braun said.

There are some special cases in which agencies may dispense with fair opportunity requirements, Braun said, but the agency must justify that decision.

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