GSA opens competition for federal funding database

The General Services Administration has decided that more qualified vendors than only Eagle Eye Publishers are available to help develop a database to meet the first phase of the Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act.

Instead of awarding a sole-source contract to Eagle Eye, which it planned to do according to a July 25 notice on the Federal Business Opportunities Web site, GSA issued a request for proposals Aug. 15 asking for vendors to submit bids to deliver data and software that would list all grant and contract award information from fiscal 2000 to 2007. The small-business set-aside contract is for 19 months and is a firm-fixed-price type.

“GSA had between one and four other vendors that said they had the data,” said a federal official with knowledge of the procurement, who requested anonymity.

The official said it isn’t clear whether the other vendors could produce the information because many are companies that resell the federal data to other contractors and the information is protected behind subscription-only portals.

GSA knew Eagle Eye could provide the data because the market research firm works with OMB Watch, a nonprofit organization, to set up FedSpending.org. Congress mandated that the Office of Management and Budget set up a public Web site similar to FedSpending.org, which lists all contract and grants data. Congress passed the act in September 2006. The law charges OMB with corralling agencies to provide accurate data for a public database that Congress said would improve government accountability by Jan. 1, 2008.

Vendors have until Aug. 24 to respond to the RFP.

GSA, acting as the procurement arm for OMB, wants vendors to make the site operational three days after the award. The site should have 13 contracting and 12 grant capabilities, including a listing of the top 100 contractors and the top 100 grant recipients, awards by state, place of performance by state, agency search, program search, and advanced searches with multiple fields.

Once GSA receives offers, vendors will present their systems to agency evaluators starting Aug. 28.

“The acquisition is to purchase some of the existing groomed data and operational software for delivery in three days after the contract award and display it on a Web site,” the RFP states. “And to make available and operational on government hosted Web site within three weeks after contract award.”

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