The Coalition is excited to announce the 2015 Excellence in Partnership (EIP) Award Winners! The EIP Awards were developed 16 years ago to honor individuals and organizations in the acquisition community that have made significant contributions to the procurement system while providing best value to the taxpayer.
The EIP Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award is the Coalition’s recognizes individuals in the procurement community who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to improving the federal acquisition system.
The 2015 EIP Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Awardees are:
Lifetime Acquisition Excellence Award
- Geraldine Watson, General Services Administration
- Kay Ely, General Services Administration
The Coalition for Government Procurement also honors Excellence in Partnership in four additional distinguished categories—Myth-busters, Government Savings, Green Excellence, and Best Veteran Hiring. The EIP awards in these categories highlight outstanding acquisition initiatives that result in significant cost savings for the American taxpayer and highlight exceptional public and private sector programs that promote sustainability and support veterans.
The 2015 EIP government and industry awardees in these categories are:
Myth Busters Award
- GSA Alliant 2 Unrestricted and the Alliant 2 Small Business team
- Mike Pullen CGI Federal
Government Savings Award
- Randall Culpepper, United States Air Force
- R10 FAS Professional Services Category Management Team
Green Excellence Award
- Ricoh Americas Corporation
Best Veteran Hiring Award
- Grainger – Promoting Opportunities
- CACI International Inc – Continuing the Commitment
- ManTech International Corporation – Continuing the Commitment
Finally, the Coalition’s highest honor is “The Common Sense in Government Procurement” Award. This year the Coalition is honored to present Carolyn Alston with “The Common Sense in Government Procurement” Award for a professional lifetime of outstanding work supporting common sense procurement policies, procedures and practices that drive best value for the American people.
Thank you to our 2015 EIP Award Judges, and congratulations to all of the winners as we look forward to seeing everyone at this year’s 2015 Excellence in Partnership Awards & Fall Training Conference!
Government Shutdown Averted
Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed a continuing resolution by a vote of 277-151 to keep the government funded until December 11. Warnings about a temporary solution to an ongoing problem came from both sides of the aisle, as congressional members voiced their concerns about the next 10 weeks, the AP reported. Stay tuned for updates on Coalition social media and be sure to check out a feature article on the cost of government shutdowns in the Flash this week.
Although a recent government shutdown was averted, the new normal appears to be continuing resolutions and uncertainty for government and industry. According to Standard & Poor’s, the cost of the 2013 Government Shutdown amounted to at least $24 billion. A recent report from the Partnership for Public Service analyzes the costs of government shut downs. A figure from the report below looks at the number of continuing resolutions passed over the years. For more information and analysis, readers can link to the report.
Every year, the Coalition’s biannual conference breakout sessions host government officials and industry attendees for small group discussions on a range of topics and agencies. This year’s conference, Acquisition Reform – Incremental or Radical Change: Assessing the Impact on Business Opportunities and Liabilities, includes dialogues on more of the same important policy and operational issues. The breakout session list along with a short description for each is below:
DoD Officials will discuss DoD interagency contracting policy, cybersecurity, and more.
Doing Business with VA
Health care and IT contractors don’t miss this opportunity to see how VA is evolving to handle VA Schedules, IT and other contractors critical to our nation’s veterans.
Doing Business with DHS
In this session, government and industry will discuss recent DHS contracting policy along with the latest on innovation programs and opportunities to get involved with industry outreach initiatives with DHS.
Alliant 2 Updates
Attendees will not want to miss a robust dialogue on the upcoming second Draft RFP release for Alliant 2.
GSA and VA Schedules Modernization
Attendees will discuss a range of topics including Horizontal Pricing, Data Collection, and Price Reductions. Also, where is the program headed and what to expect in 2016? All of this and more will be discussed.
The GSA Acquisition Centers
Join the GSA Acquisition Center Directors for a discussion of pricing, value, and how new initiatives and will impact customers and contractors.
Government-wide IT Acquisitions Update
This session will highlight major acquisition programs supporting the acquisition of government wide IT programs. CIOSP, NASA SEWP, GSA Schedule 70 and more! Don’t miss this opportunity for information that helps enhance your performance in the IT market.
Report: Federal Information Security Needs Work
Persistent weaknesses at 24 federal agencies illustrate the challenges they face in effectively applying information security policies and practices, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) notes in a report released this week. Areas of concern include the following.
- Limiting, preventing, and detecting inappropriate access to computer resources
- Managing the configuration of software and hardware
- Segregating duties to ensure that a single individual does not have control over all key aspects of a computer-related operation
- Planning for continuity of operations in the event of a disaster or disruption
- Implementing agency-wide security management programs that are critical to identifying control deficiencies, resolving problems, and managing risks on an ongoing basis
GAO compiled this report in accordance with Federal Information Security Act requirements to periodically report to congress on information security policies and their effectiveness. Given, GAO’s findings, it recommends that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and others, enhance security program reporting guidance to inspectors general so that the ratings of agency security performance will be consistent and comparable.
GWACs Account for Billions of Orders
A recent article in FCW notes that Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) are raking in billions of dollars in sales as the fiscal year comes to a close. National Institutes of Health (NIH) Information Technology Acquisition and Assessment Center (NITAAC) is approaching a record for annual orders according to its Director, Rob Coen. The contract will have just under $5 billion in sales at the end of the fiscal year, Coen said. NASA’s Solutions for Enterprise-Wide Procurement (SEWP), Program Manager Joanne Woytek also explained to FCW that SEWP V is on track to bring in $3 billion in orders for the year. According to the FCW interview, Woytek expects major growth in fiscal 2016 as her team finishes transitioning contracts over to SEWP V. She said 138 of the 147 SEWP V contract holders received at least one order since the vehicle’s May launch. According to GSA’s GWAC Dashboard, its GWACs are expecting around $4.5 billion in awards for FY15. That is just under fiscal 2014’s $5 billion total, but still well above fiscal 2013’s $3.5 billion, FCW notes.
DPAP Raises Threshold for Documenting Non-Small Business Contracts
Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy (DPAP) Director Claire Grady has issued a memo that raises the dollar threshold for documenting a contracting officer’s reason not to set aside a procurement below the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) for small businesses. A previous memo in 2012 had temporarily lowered the dollar threshold to $3,000 for this requirement. Grady notes that in 2014, 60.6 percent of the procurements under the SAT were awarded to small business, helping the Defense Department achieve its overall small business contracting goal for the first time. “We encourage the entire acquisition team to maximize the procurement opportunities for small businesses,” Grady concluded.
This week, GSA released a draft RFP for the second generation of its Veterans Technology Services (VETS 2), a set of multiple-award contracts for IT services offered by service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The current VETS vehicle was created in 2007 and is set to expire in 2017.
The IT-centric vehicle will include seven solution areas:
- Data Management
- Information and Communications Technology
- IT Operations and Maintenance
- IT Security
- Software Development
- Systems Design
- New and Emerging Technologies
VETS 2 will have a $5 billion ceiling and a five-year base period, and will also include an option to extend the vehicle an additional five years. Vendors must sell at least $500,000 during the base period to be eligible for the extended contract.
GSA officials are asking industry for feedback on the contract program and the draft RFP for the next round of competition.
Feedback on the VETS 2 draft can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org until Oct. 28.
The Coalition will be reviewing the draft. If members have any comments, please submit them to Roy Dicharry at email@example.com.
Click here to read the Draft RFP for VETS 2 GWAC
GAO on Electronic Health Records
This week the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report entitled, Nonfederal Efforts to Help Achieve Health Information Interoperability. GAO was asked by Congress to review the status of efforts by nonfederal entities to develop infrastructure that could lead to nationwide interoperability of health information. The report outlines how nonfederal initiatives intend to facilitate Electronic Health Record (EHR) interoperability, as well as any key challenges they are facing and the extent to which they are addressing the challenges. In conducting the study, GAO interviewed representatives from 18 selected nonfederal initiatives that were frequently mentioned by stakeholders GAO interviewed, and reflected a range of approaches.
The GAO defines EHR interoperability as the ability of systems to exchange electronic health information with other systems and process the information without special effort by the user, such as a health care provider. Although the nonfederal initiatives to achieve EHR interoperability are works in progress, the efforts include creating guidance related to health data standards, encouraging the adoption of certain health data standards or policies, and operating networks that connect EHR systems. GAO found that the initiatives varied in a number of other ways, including the types of electronic systems the initiatives are working to make interoperable, the cost of their products or services, the geographic area served, patient use of the products or services, and their organizational structures.
Over the course of the study, GAO notes that a number of challenges exist on the path to HER interoperability:
- Insufficiencies in health data standards
- Variation in state privacy rules
- Accurately matching patients’ health records
- Costs associated with interoperability
- The need for governance and trust among entities, such as agreements to facilitate the sharing of information among all participants in an initiative
GAO states that to move interoperability forward, providers need to see an EHR system as a valuable tool for improving clinical care.
Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP
Jeff Clayton, Principal
GSA and VA Schedule Resellers and Manufacturers Take Note
Resellers and companies relying on resellers to reach their Federal Government customers should pay close attention to the recent $75 million settlement involving VMware and Carahsoft. All GSA and VA, or Federal Supply Schedule (FSS), contractors are required to make current, accurate, and complete commercial sales practice (CSP) disclosures. In certain situations, manufacturers selling indirectly through the Schedules program via resellers are required to make similar disclosures. This settlement underscores the potential liability, for both manufacturers and resellers, related to the provision of commercial pricing disclosures that are anything other than current, accurate and complete.
In June 2015, the Department of Justice announced that VMware, Inc. (VMware), referred to as a manufacturer in GSA parlance, and Carahsoft Technology Corporation (Carahsoft), a reseller, “agreed to pay $75.5 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act (FCA) by misrepresenting their commercial sales practice disclosures and overcharging the Government on VMware software products and related services.” A large GSA-related FCA settlement is certainly not groundbreaking news. What is unique here is that this settlement named both a reseller and a manufacturer.
Conversation around the indirect model garnered much attention following a 2007 VA OIG report that suggested that the use of indirect channels is primarily a means for would-be contractors to avoid federal government contract pricing and compliance requirements; however, there are numerous reasons for a manufacturer to use indirect channels to reach their federal government customers. A few of these reasons include: the reseller’s customer knowledge and relationships; the reseller’s access to federal government contract vehicles; and the manufacturer’s possible lack of customer knowledge and relationships.
The complaint in this matter reads a bit like a soap opera, with all kinds of nasty allegations. The resulting settlement makes it clear that manufacturers are not insulated from the requirements and obligations associated with selling to the federal government, even if sales are made via resellers’ FSS contracts.
The following chart provides some insight into the typical requirements for manufacturers and resellers selling through FSS contracts. The chart outlines the process for providing CSP disclosures to the FSS contracting office and the circumstances that determine who is responsible for preparing the disclosures. It also highlights some additional manufacturer requirements, including the letter of supply (LOS) and country of origin (COO) certification. The LOS authorizes the reseller to provide the manufacturer’s products and services to FSS customers through their contract. Within the letter the manufacturer assures an uninterrupted source of supply, with sufficient quantities of product to satisfy the Government’s requirements, for the duration of the contract period (to include option periods). The manufacturer also states that all products and services offered on the reseller’s FSS contract are compliant with the Trade Agreements Act (TAA)(19U.S.C. 2501, et seq.).
There are other requirements and obligations related to the manufacturer/reseller relationship (e.g. pricelists, discounts, part numbers, etc.) not included in this chart. Navigating all of these requirements can be difficult. While not extensive, some recommendations are provided below.
- Manufacturers must ensure that their CSP disclosures are current, accurate and complete. This settlement demonstrates the risk associated with doing this incorrectly, even if you are one step removed from your Government customers. If a company plans to sell through resellers under the GSA or VA Schedules, it should perform a thorough historical pricing analysis to ensure the accuracy of its CSP disclosures.
- If a manufacturer has previously provided CSPs, it should consider performing a historical pricing analysis to ensure that its disclosures remain accurate.
- Both manufacturers and resellers should be certain to fully understand their obligations and ensure that they have the people, processes, and systems in place to fulfill those obligations.
- Resellers with significant commercial sales may provide their own CSP disclosures. They should be ready to support the accuracy of their disclosures and prepared to demonstrate that they have significant sales to the general public.
For additional information, please feel free to contact Jeff Clayton, Principal at Baker Tilly, or visit our website at www.bakertilly.com.
QPC at Neocon East
Register now for the Integrated Workplace Acquisition Center’s next Quality Partnership Council meeting being held at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The agenda will be emailed to registered attendees prior to the meeting.
The meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 27 at 10:00 AM ET – 12:00 PM ET.
Pennsylvania Convention Center
1101 Arch Street
Broad Street Entrance
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Here is the link to register.
2015 Fall Training Conference
Thank you to AvKARE for being this year’s Fall Training Conference Title Sponsor! This year’s theme will be “Acquisition Reform – Assessing the Impact on Business Opportunities”. We have a robust agenda that includes over 30 government speakers and numerous industry experts who will participate as keynotes, panelists, and breakout presenters. Topics throughout the day will include:
Priorities: Role of Acquisition in Cybersecurity
Legislative Reform: What to Expect from the Hill
Executive Agencies: Leading Acquisition Change
Business Outlook: New Opportunities; New Challenges
The Coalition’s Commercial Market Initiative
Doing Business with VA
Doing Business with DHS
GSA and VA Schedules Modernization
The GSA Acquisition Centers
Government-wide IT Acquisitions Update
There are still several sponsorship opportunities your company can take advantage of, both big and small, for the Excellence in Partnership Awards and the Fall Training Conference. For questions regarding sponsorships or assistance with registration, please contact Matt Cahill at 202-315-1054 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Support the Coalition for Government Procurement Endowed Scholarship Fund!
In recognition of the 35th anniversary of The Coalition for Government Procurement (“the Coalition”), The George Washington Law School and the Coalition have established The Coalition for Government Procurement Endowed Scholarship Fund.
The fund will support scholarships to assist qualified veterans enrolled in The George Washington University in pursuing a graduate degree with a concentration in the field of U.S. government procurement. The Coalition has been a long-time supporter of organizations that assist returning warriors and veterans. George Washington University is unique in its offering of Masters level programs covering federal procurement.
Endowed scholarships create a lasting legacy of support by providing funds for financial aid in perpetuity. Please join us in this campaign to honor the 35 years of work of the Coalition for Government Procurement and to support our veterans seeking to focus their professional careers in the field of US government procurement. Donate here today!