GSA clarifies requirements for commercial e-marketplace contract awards

The GSA building in Washington, D.C. (Tajha Chappellet-Lanier / FedScoop)

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The General Services Administration has clarified requirements for no-cost contract awards in an amended solicitation for an e-marketplace agencies can use to buy commercial off-the-shelf products.

GSA envisions the portal — which would fulfill the Commercial Platforms pillar of its Federal Marketplace Strategy — operating like Amazon and simplifying agencies’ $260 million in online spending annually.

GSA’s amended request for proposals clarifies offerors “must have a functioning e-marketplace platform with B2B capabilities,” where the original issued in October did not.

“GSA is not seeking development services to build a new platform as that is not permissible under the authority granted under the [2018 National Defense Authorization Act] Section 846 legislation,” reads the amended RFP.

The new solicitation further clarifies that contracts will only be awarded to offerors who receive an “Acceptable” rating on both their performance work statement and live-test demonstration — a higher bar.

Originally awards would broadly go to “all responsible offerors whose proposal meets the requirements outlined in this solicitation and is determined to provide the greatest overall benefit to the government in response to the requirement.”

GSA added language enabling offerers to exclude technical data they specify in their proposal and presented during the live-test demonstration from government use:

“Except for data contained on pages _____ (page numbers to be filled in by the offeror) and data presented during the Live Test Demonstration, it is agreed that as a condition of award of this contract, and notwithstanding the conditions of any notice appearing thereon, the Government shall have unlimited rights in and to the technical data contained in the proposal dated ____________, upon which this contract is based. For the avoidance of doubt, the Government claims no intellectual property rights in the customizations or other changes made by the platform provider to its commercial e-marketplace platform in order to meet the requirements of this solicitation, except for a license sufficient to enable the Government and its purchasing agencies to use the platform and the data such use generates as contemplated in this solicitation.”

Language was also added to the live-test demonstration section granting offerers 120 days of leeway post-award to meet the Mandatory Sources sections of the Statement of Objectives: Small Business Identification, AbilityOne and “Essentially the Same” Items.

A section requiring the contracting officer to ensure contractor compliance, assure “impartial, fair, and equitable treatment,” and determine the adequacy of contractor performance was removed from the original solicitation.

Due to the changes, GSA extended the deadline for electronic submissions of contract data and technical proposals to Jan. 15. Proposals will only be accepted from offerors who already submitted proposals by the original Nov. 15 deadline.

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Commercial Platforms, Federal Marketplace Strategy, General Services Administration (GSA)
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