Working around OASIS' lack of BPAs

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The General Services Administration has told federal buyers they can't use blanket purchase agreements for its One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS) contract, but the contract's manager said there is an alternative technique for accomplishing BPA-like tasks under the $6 billion procurement vehicle.

Last May, GSA made 225 awards to 74 vendors under its multiple-award professional services contract. Through OASIS and its sister contract, OASIS Small Business, federal agencies can shop for management consulting, program management, financial management, engineering and scientific services. The contracts are broken up into pools of providers. OASIS SB's 123 small businesses are divided into eight groups according to their size and annual revenue, and the main OASIS vehicle has 74 companies spread across six pools, divided by service type.

In a Jan. 7 post on the OASIS Interact Community website, Program Director Jim Ghiloni offered advice on what he said is one of the most common questions he gets about the contract -- whether federal customers can write a BPA against OASIS.

"One reason customers set up BPAs is that there is uncertainty about some aspect of their requirement: delivery date, quantity, funds availability, etc.," he wrote. "The BPA construct allows the customer flexibility in when they place specific orders. These types of uncertainties can be accommodated on an OASIS task order using a combination of optional tasks and incremental funding."

Technically, he noted that federal customers can't use a BPA under OASIS. However, they can use an OASIS task order to accomplish the same thing, he said.

"These types of uncertainties can be accommodated on an OASIS task order using a combination of optional tasks and incremental funding," he said. "The key to task order competition is to provide potential offerors with enough information to make a reasonable estimate as to what is required of them, so that they can devise a realistic proposal."

Ghiloni said task orders written to include mandatory and optional tasks give OASIS contractors a better understanding of what is definitely funded and required, as well as other tasks that might come up during the period of performance. Providing additional information about the likelihood of optional tasks and the potential time frames involved will also help the contractors prepare realistic proposals, he added.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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