The General Services Administration has started the long-anticipated process to acquire new validation services for federal contractors and grantees.
The agency issued a request for proposals Friday seeking an identifier and unique numbering system for its Integrated Award Environment and System for Award Management to validate that companies or other organizations that do business with the government are who they say they are.
This comes ahead of the expiration this year of its current validation contract with Dun & Bradstreet.
“This procurement is for entity validation services to protect the integrity of taxpayer dollars throughout the federal award process,” GSA officials said in a statement. “This procurement will ensure individual agencies don’t have to separately contract for entity validation services but will instead receive the service by way of SAM.gov.”
GSA has been working on the procurement since 2017 when it issued two requests for information.
According to GSA’s performance work statement, the new contract will include a base period of one year with four additional one-year options.
Dun & Bradstreet’s Data Universal Numbering System, or DUNS number, has been in use by the federal government for electronic commerce since 1994. The DUNS number became the official contractor identifier for the Federal Acquisition Regulation in 1998, according to the Dun & Bradstreet website.
The contract comes as some are pushing for the federal government to store contractor and grant recipient data with open source taxonomies rather than a proprietary system.
Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-N.C., penned the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency (GREAT) Act, which cleared the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in February and would require that agencies use nonproprietary data taxonomies and identifiers for grantees.
Dun & Bradstreet is expected to compete for the new contract, saying after the last RFI came out in October 2017 it believed “that our government partners will continue to find value in what we deliver to support the federal government across a multitude of missions.”
GSA officials said they will hold a pre-proposal webinar Sept. 10 and will accept questions about the RFP through Sept. 19. Proposals are due by Oct. 1.