Small businesses working to submit proposals for the Polaris governmentwide acquisition vehicle solicitation continue to work through delays caused by the SAM.gov portal, FedScoop understands.
Federal contracting sources speaking with FedScoop in recent days described confusion that has arisen from delays in obtaining unique entity identifier (UEI) numbers.
In at least one instance, an offeror received a UEI already assigned to a different company, according to a source speaking on the condition of anonymity.
“We’re still fighting to get our own UEI … it doesn’t matter if you turn in your stuff to the SAM.gov portal ahead of the [Polaris] deadline if you don’t have a UEI numbers,” the source said.
The federal government earlier this year began using non-proprietary 12-character UEI numbers for all entities working with federal government agencies, after it moved away from DUNS numbers, which have been used since 1962.
Polaris is one of the most keenly anticipated governmentwide IT acquisition vehicles that will allow government agencies to obtain a range of services including cloud platforms, cybersecurity and software development technology.
Prospective offerors were earlier this month granted an extension until Sept. 9 to submit proposals following the discovery of further errors with the SAM.gov system. The General Services Administration announced the delay on Aug. 11 and gave contractors experiencing difficulties until Aug. 19 to report them to the agency.
The latest deadline extension represents the fourth such delay since the solicitation was resumed in May following a pre-award challenge brought over how the prior experience of small businesses is treated as part of the solicitation.
In an update July 29, GSA said it was aware that some offerors and team members were experiencing delays submitting proposals through SAM.gov and cautioned that entry validation in SAM.gov “can take time.”
This came after the agency on July 26 pushed the proposal due date from Aug. 10 to Aug. 19 and previously in May gave an interim date of June 30 for bid submissions.
“GSA gave the fourth extension because of SAM.gov. Everyone got the extension, but by Aug. 19 had to identify themselves if they had an issue with the system,” said another industry source.
That source added that GSA has since set up a new helpdesk and ticketing system to clear the backlog of UEI-related difficulties and that this so far seems to have helped address concerns.
A GSA spokesperson said the agency does not comment on active solicitations.