Contracting Officer Podcast Slides Knowledge & Insights From
Contracting Officer Podcast Slides Knowledge & Insights From Contracting Officers 1 Episode 067 Why Acquisition Planning Matters Original Air Date: Feb 21, 2016
Hosts: Kevin Jans & Paul Schauer 2 Formatting notes Hyperlinks: Blue font indicates hyperlinks presentation must be in Slide Show mode to activate the link Red bold font indicates a point of emphasis Green bold font indicates COs personal comment or perspective 3
Introduction Acquisition is a team sport So is Acquisition Planning As previously noted, the process has players who have to keep up with their part of the process This podcast explains what problems can arise when the acquisition team doesnt plan well 4 When do Clauses happen?
Acquisition Time Zones (from Podcast Episode 003) Requirements Zone Market Research Zone RFP Zone Source Selection Zone (or sole source) Execution Zones: Kick Off, Transition (Ramp Up), Performance, Re-compete 5 Acquisition Planning takes time The contract award is the last step in a long process
The Acquisition Time Zones can take a while If the government team assumes the process can be sped up, it creates all kinds of issues Traffic effect Poorly defined requirements Boilerplate RFPs (proposal development is rushed) Poor competition (Source Selection is rushed) Award is rushed (Actual contact award done correctly, or in time) 6 Acquisition Planning takes time
This tends to be a big issue on recurring requirements, like services All of this leads to mission impact And increased costs to industry as they swirl (and therefore to the Government, and you as a taxpayer) 7 Acquisition Planning One example Shelley Hall, Skyways Community Relations Lead, wrote a blog post about the Government Accountability Office (GAO)s sustained protest based on the agencys failure to engage in reasonable advance planning
This is a huge decision! (see the GAO decision here) Very frustrating when key players fail to plan Like pulling teeth to get complete requirements packages Even for known requirements (like follow-ons to existing contracts) Apparently the GAO has had enough excuses, and will hold Program AND Contracting Offices accountable for ensuring they adequately plan acquisitions Failure to plan is not an excuse to award a sole source contract. 8 The Story - Background Gary received the initial contract award years ago in a competitive acquisition
Three years ago the Agency awarded a sole-source logical follow-on task order to Gary, permitting him to continue the services The Limited Source Justification (LSJ) basically stated that no one other than the incumbent could perform without disruption, transition delays, duplication of costs, and new costs LSJ also stated that the logical follow-on contract was intended to be limited to 3 years (which is probably how they got it through the lawyers) The Story Background Steve protested this logical follow-on sole-source award to Gary
GAO denied the protest, finding the Agencys concerns regarding the risks associated with transitioning to a non-incumbent contractor to be reasonable 3 years later, the agency issued a new RFQ to replace Garys sole-source award The agency evaluated the proposals and selected Steve Gary protested the award Government re-evaluated the proposals and GAO dismissed the protest The Story Current Issue Gary filed a second protest (more sour grapes) GSA re-evaluated proposals again; GAO again dismissed the protest March 27, 2015:
CO signed a modification to the sole-source task order (set to expire in days) Extended the performance period of that task order by up to two years in order to accomplish transition activities No formal justification for the extension of the task order was prepared The Story Further Developments Program Manager (PM) sent an email to the CO: Requested cancellation of twice-protested RFQ In order to develop a new acquisition Because the Program Office has identified additional factors and requirements that our customers have indicated should be included in the
solicitation. Almost three months after extension modification, the Head of the Contracting Agency (HCA) signed an LSJ authorizing the CO to extend the sole-source task order, basically repeating that Gary was the only one able to do the work The Story Final Outcome The agency then published the notice of extension to the sole-source task order and cancelled the RFQ Steve filed a protest of the cancellation GAO agreed with the protestors attestations that both the extension of the task order and cancellation of the RFP were due to the agencys failure to
plan The records show that the agency knew four years ago (when it justified and defended its prior award of a sole-source task order) of the need for a new acquisition The Story - Summary The GAO agreed with Steves protest of the agencys attempt to avoid competition The GAO decision admonished the agency to repeat the solicitation and evaluation, with proper planning this time The agency also should compensate Steve for proposal preparation costs
incurred in responding to the cancelled solicitation, as well as reasonable costs of filing and pursuing the protest, including reasonable attorneys fees Hollow victory for Steve: He recouped costs, but still doesnt have award, and must compete again Why is Acquisition Planning Important? Time matters Government contracting must comply with regulations, thus taking more time This is not a "gotcha" story It's evidence for the CO to give to their customer that this is a TEAM sport
This happens when the requirement gets overwhelmed by things like The traffic effect Personnel transition (ex.: CO leaves in middle of acquisition) Either way we cant throw up our hands and make a sole source award 15 Why is Acquisition Planning Important? It is easy to say "you can't just award the contract because you didn't plan The problem with this argument is that there isn't really another option: The customer needs it; The CO has to buy it.
Period. 16 Why Should Government Care? Mission Impact! Your time and budget will be impacted by protests if you don't plan for future efforts Understand that contractors will now protest your sole source "we aren't ready for a competition" justifications This is why we talk about acquisition planning so much
17 Why Should Industry Care? A new avenue to hold the Government accountable A new impediment to holding on to your current work A new complication to just about every re-compete effort
The third order of magnitude effects: Need for more people to work the acquisition (planning and execution) Need for more experience in conducting the acquisition Need for fewer protests (please!) May lead to holding protestors accountable for frivolous protests Its the other side of the coin 18 Summary Government team: GAO may formally hold you accountable for failure to conduct acquisition
planning in timely manner Likelihood of protests increases Focus on your acquisition planning Industry team: GAO appears to want to help by holding Government accountable (but the law of unintended consequences applies) Be ready for more protests Be ready for more competition 19 Contact us
We are on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook We also started the Government Contracting Network Group on Facebook. Join us there! Send your topics to [email protected] For Community support, contact Shelley Hall at [email protected] 20
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