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Acquisition Services FAQs




General Client Funding COR Vendor IGCE IPP

General Questions

What is the Acquisition Services Directorate?

The Acquisition Services Directorate is a line of business within the Interior Business Center that provides comprehensive acquisition services to federal agencies. We manage the entire process from planning, soliciting and evaluating offers, to awarding and administering contracts, through closeout.

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Explain the authority that allows the Acquisition Services Directorate to buy products or services for other agencies?

The Government Management Reform Act of 1994 (GMRA) as delegated by the Director, Office of Management and Budget and Congress, allows agencies to establish Franchise Funds to provide common administrative services to federal agencies. The Department of the Interior and other federal agencies use the Interior Franchise Fund (IFF) to obtain services on a competitive basis. The IFF is not budgeted for appropriations, and therefore service fees are charged that recover full operational expenses, plus an amount necessary to maintain a reasonable operating reserve.

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Where can I find the update to the Department of the Interior's Franchise Fund operating authority?

The Franchise Fund receives no appropriated funds from Congress and is authorized by Congress to operate as a federal franchise fund. Effective fiscal year 2008, the DOI Franchise Fund was given permanent authority to operate. The DOI Franchise Fund permanent operating authority can be viewed here: Franchise Fund - Statutory Authority (December 2007, six-page pdf, 34 kb)

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What is an interagency acquisition?

The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) states, “Interagency acquisition is the term used to describe the procedure by which an agency needing supplies or services obtains them using another agency’s contract, the acquisition assistance of another agency, or both.

Interagency acquisitions typically involve two government agencies: the requesting agency, which is the agency with the requirement, and the servicing agency which provides acquisition support, administers contracts for other agencies’ direct use, or both.”

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What is an Interagency Agreement (IA)?

An Interagency Agreement (IA) is an agreement or ordering document between federal agencies transferring funds for the purpose of obtaining products or services. These agreements have specific names, such as the MIPR (Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requirement) for the Department of Defense. Both the IA and the MIPR are now included in a specific document referred to as a PART B. Part B is addressed in both our Getting Started and Client FAQ Client question 4.

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What is the specific definition of "bona fide need?"

Two links provided below should extensively answer your questions regarding bona fide need.

Advisory elaborating on the definition of a bona fide need: Principles of federal Appropriations Law (four-page pdf, 28 kb): The Bona Fide Needs Rule, Chapter 5, GAO Red Book

Acquisition Solutions Advisory (nine-page pdf, 860 kb): A Business Manager's Guide to the Bona Fide Needs Rule. The link is offered by the Acquisition Services Directorate with permission from Acquisition Solutions, Inc., a government contracting consultant.

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Who determines the bona fide need for a project?

The federal client, or requesting agency, is responsible for determining the bona fide need within the fiscal year of the availability of funds.

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What determines that the bona fide needs will be met by a federal client’s statement?

Clients are responsible for submitting a bona fide needs statement that clearly, concisely, and completely describes the legitimate requirement(s) that arose during, or continued to exist into, the fiscal year of the funds to be transferred to the Acquisition Services Directorate for acquiring goods and services.

The bona fide needs statement must also describe a project that will fulfill the requirement(s), and Acquisition Services Directorate shall only acquire goods and services on behalf of its client to complete the project.

No changes may be made to the bona fide needs statement after the expiration of the relevant fiscal year, thus, it is best for the client to describe as broadly as possible the goods and services necessary to complete its project without sacrificing the specificity that is necessary to properly record obligations under federal fiscal law.

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Is there a legal opinion that supports retaining project funds in the Interior Franchise Fund until expended for bona fide needs?

Yes. Under the authority of the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 (GMRA) and under guidance from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Acquisition Services Directorate may retain project funds obligated by the requesting agency as long as the Acquisition Services Directorate uses those funds to acquire goods and services to meet bona fide needs that exist from a time within the period of availability of the funds.

Please review the attached comprehensive discussion by GAO of the various operating authorities of intergovernmental revolving funds, including the Acquisition Services Directorate, also known as the Department of the Interior Franchise Fund.
GAO issues report - Franchise Fund Pilot Review, August 2003 (57-page pdf, 332 kb)

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Does use of the Acquisition Services Directorate offer federal agencies the ability to extend an appropriation’s period of availability?

No. The Acquisition Services Directorate complies with federal fiscal law and cannot use time-limited funds to acquire goods and services to meet bona fide needs that arise after their period of availability has expired. The Acquisition Services Directorate operates under the authority of the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 (GMRA), and may therefore retain funds and award contracts after the close of a fiscal year. Nevertheless, the fiscal year identity of such retained funds is preserved. It is the joint responsibility of the Acquisition Services Directorate and its clients to ensure that contracts are awarded within a reasonable period of time after the close of the fiscal year to meet bona fide needs that arose during, or continued into, the period of availability.

If for any reason the Acquisition Services Directorate cannot promptly initiate contract action to ensure that a contract is awarded within a reasonable time after the close of the fiscal year, the Acquisition Services Directorate may have to deobligate the retained funds and return them to the client. Consequently, the Acquisition Services Directorate communicates regularly with client agencies to keep them informed of the status of their funds and related contract actions.

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Can you carry funds into the next fiscal year?

Funds must be obligated on a contract in the year they are appropriated to be spent. The Acquisition Services Directorate complies with acquisition rules and regulations and does not allow money to be spent in years that do not match the appropriation. All funds sent to Acquisition Services Directorate must be accompanied by a bona fide need that is written by the client.

There is a responsibility by both Acquisition Services Directorate and the client to spend those funds within a reasonable period of time. The Acquisition Services Directorate team communicates with the client agency to keep customers informed of the status of their money.

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Are you a full service contracting office or do you use only available GWACs for your clients?

We are full service and appropriately look at the time an acquisition must be in place for our client, what options are available, and make decisions specific to each requirement.

Although we can create a contract through competing on the open market, we will consider options such as the General Services Administration (GSA) schedules, Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs), Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs), and our own Acquisition Services Directorate Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQs). Another direction could be through the SBA’s small business programs such as the 8(a) or Service-disabled Veteran Owned programs.

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Explain the Acquisition Services Directorate service fee.

We are not an appropriated environment and must charge a fee for our services. The regulations that give guidelines to both the Interior Franchise Fund and the Working Capital Fund allow for reimbursement for services. For Acquisition Services Directorate, our service value is in the overall administration of the acquisition life cycle.

Our fee is competitively priced, and flat, one that program managers can count on not to fluctuate due to hourly charges, modifications or charges for additional time.

We recognize the importance of fee flexibility when larger, more complex acquisitions are being discussed with us. The Acquisition Services Directorate’s contracting officer will be responsible for any fee negotiation.

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How long does it typically take to award a contract?

The Procurement Action Lead Time (PALT) is our record of performance. We depend on meeting acquisition milestones in order to be timely in awards. A lot of the timing depends on the client, and the package submitted to us. For most clients, award times range from 45 to 60 days.

When we first speak with you, we are interested in your award date expectations. In fact, if a program manager needed something yesterday, and still believes that is a reality, there is a good chance that opportunity will not come in our direction. We make commitments to the best of our knowledge at hand, and will be realistic as to award date expectations.

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I'd like to make an official Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request regarding a contract that was awarded through the Acquisition Services Directorate. Who do I contact?

First, official requests for documents are managed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Please review the information below, and contact our FOIA Office if you have a request.

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552, was signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 to increase the openness and transparency of the federal Government. Under the law, Government documents must be available to members of the public that request them, unless there is a legitimate reason to deny the request. The intent of the law is to allow both citizens and journalists to examine Government activity to detect political corruption and to allow citizens to have input into Government decisions that affect them.

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Office of Secretary FOIA Office Information

The Department of the Interior Office of Secretary FOIA Office services all lines of business within the Interior Business Center. http://www.doi.gov/foia/os/index.cfm

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Contact Information and OS FOIA Office Staff

The address and contact numbers are as follows:
Office of the Secretary FOIA Office
1951 Constitution Avenue NW, MS-116 SIB
Washington, DC 20240
Phone: 202-208-6045 or toll free 888-603-7119
Fax: 202-513-0765
Email: os_foia@ios.doi.gov
Website: http://www.doi.gov/foia/os/index.cfm

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Does the Acquisition Services Directorate return all award credits to the funding agency?

Yes. Please visit the NIST website and open publication SP 800-87 to locate your Agency / Organization Identification Code.

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Does the federal Government offer information related to Blanket Purchase Agreements and DOI office supply purchases?

Yes, effective October 1, 2010, there is new guidance. Please refer to the Department of the Interior memorandum on the General Services Administration (GSA) federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative mandate on Blanket Purchase Orders for Office Supplies (three-page pdf, 523 kb). Likewise, the Office of Acquisition and Property Management, a part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, has a web page dedicated to DOI Integrated Charge Card Program Purchase Cardholders.

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Client Questions

How do I initiate sending work to Acquisition Services Directorate?

First, send a Statement of Work, Performance Work Statement or Statement of Objectives to Acquisition Services Directorate. Acquisition Services Directorate will either accept the work in principle, or reject it based on our core competencies. We also ask that you give us the requirement dollar value and expected contract award date.

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After Acquisition Services Directorate decides to accept my project, what is next?

Acquisition Services Directorate has acquisition teaching tools for each phase of the acquisition life cycle. You may download the full summary of responsibilities or each phase of the life cycle individually.

Please email us by contacting a new business development specialist if you would like assistance.

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I’m with the DOI Office of the Secretary. Are there unique requirements that I should be aware of?

Yes, please refer to the DOI Requisitions guidance page for helpful information.

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To whom does the client submit their Interagency Agreement?

All documentation should be submitted to a new business agent. Your Interagency Agreement is included in Part B.

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Does the Acquisition Services Directorate use government purchase credit cards for clients?

No, the Acquisition Services Directorate does not make purchases for clients using government purchase cards.

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If a client has worked with the Interior Franchise Fund (IFF) before, can he or she amend the previous funding document for a new project or for a modification to an existing contract?

New projects would indicate requirements that are out of scope of the existing contract. A new project would therefore require a new contract.

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What is Green Procurement?

Green Procurement, also termed Affirmative Procurement, refers to the purchase of environmentally preferable products and services in accordance with one or more of the established federal Green Procurement preference programs.

The Green Procurement program ensures compliance with environmentally related FAR requirements, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, Executive Order 13101, “Greening the Government Through Waste Prevention, Recycling, and federal Acquisition,” and the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, in addition to many others.

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How can the Acquisition Services Directorate help my organization become compliant with environmentally related procurement requirements?

Our Green Procurement program includes a comprehensive training component for contracting personnel to ensure that clients receive the most up-to-date and cost-effective methods for complying with environmentally related procurement while still providing the same level of service our clients expect and deserve.

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Civilian Questions

If I am a civilian agency employee, what approvals do I need to go outside of my agency for contracting support?

Approvals required to obtain contracting support from the Acquisition Services Directorate vary from agency to agency. Please review your agency’s procedures in order to ensure compliance prior to executing an interagency agreement with the Acquisition Services Directorate.

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I am a civilian agency employee. Do I need to contact my internal contracting office before I go outside my agency for contracting support?

As a basic guideline, provided by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, a requesting agency should consider the following:

For an assisted acquisition outside of the Economy Act (over $200,000 under $500,000):

* Requesting office provides notice of the planned interagency acquisition to the head of the acquisition office within the requesting agency
* Notice requirements:
1. Brief description of the service or product
2. Estimated dollar amount
3. Name of the external acquisition organization (that will provide the acquisition assistance)
4. Sent by electronic mail with return receipt
* The notifier allows the internal acquisition office one week to respond to the notice before the request is sent to the outside servicing acquisition office.

For an assisted acquisition outside of the Economy Act (over $500,000):

* Requesting office provides notice of the planned interagency acquisition to the head of the acquisition office within the requesting agency
* Notice requirements:
1. Brief description of the service or product
2. Estimated dollar amount
3. Name of the external acquisition organization (that will provide the acquisition assistance)
4. Sent by electronic mail with return receipt
* The notifier allows the internal acquisition office one week to respond to the notice before the request is sent to the outside servicing acquisition office.
* The notifier shall seek its concurrence and allow one week for response. Non-concurrences shall be presented to the requesting agency’s Senior Procurement Executive and resolved within one week of the non-concurrence.

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Why has my acceptance not been received? How long does that take?

After five (5) business days, if you have not received an acceptance message, please contact the funding team at 703.964.8801 or email the funding team.

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DoD Questions

The Department of Defense has an entire section on Interagency Contracting. Please see an excerpted paragraph below, and then utilize the link to review DoD FAQ’s on this topic.

“Much attention has been focused on the Department's use of Interagency Acquisitions to meet DoD requirements for supplies and services. For years, Department policy has encouraged the use of Interagency Acquisitions to meet DoD requirements. That has not changed. In Section 801 of the 2008 NDAA, "INTERNAL CONTROLS FOR PROCUREMENTS ON BEHALF OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE BY CERTAIN NON-DEFENSE AGENCIES" (Section 801), Congress set the stage for follow-up audits by the Department's Inspectors General (DoD IG) in 2010 and beyond of DoD Requirements met utilizing assisting agencies such as GSA, Interior, Treasury, National Institutes of Health (NIH), Commerce, and others. Additionally, in Section 801 Congress specifically directed the Department issue comprehensive guidance on the use of interagency contracting methods by the Department of Defense that addresses the circumstances in which it is appropriate for DoD acquisition officials to procure goods or services through a contract entered into by an agency outside the Department of Defense.”

A Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior, signed by Nina Rose Hatfield and Shay D. Assad in 2007, outlines specific terms and conditions for the provision of interagency acquisition services.

This document addresses the specific Congressional concerns and other relevant areas related to Interagency Acquisition. http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpic/cp/faq.html

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If I am a Department of Defense employee, what approval do I need to go outside of my agency for contracting support?

Department of Defense employees are encouraged to review the information at the following link: http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpic/cp/faq.html

Information on Non-Economy Act orders is available within the DoD Financial Management Regulation, Volume 11A, Chapter 18. This document also contains the Acquisition Package Checklist, which contains steps for maximizing value and key points to remember about assisted acquisitions.

For all acquisitions in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold, the required approvals include:
1. An evaluation in accordance with your agency’s procedures to ensure that the order is in the best interest of DoD.
2. A certification by the appropriate DoD certifying official that the funds cited on the order are available, meet time limitations, and are for the purpose designated by the appropriation.
3. Information on orders greater than $500,000 including:
a. A review by a DoD warranted contracting officer; and
b. A review by the requesting official to ensure compliance with FAR 7 and your agency’s procedures.

Work and services for Non-Economy Act orders outside DoD should be executed by issuance of a DD Form 448, Military Interdepartmental Purchase Request.

A Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior, signed by Nina Rose Hatfield and Shay D. Assad in 2007, outlines specific terms and conditions for the provision of interagency acquisition services.

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Are there any specific letters from DoD to the DoI on the use of non-DoD contracts?

Effective March 28, 2008, the Department of the Interior received a letter from Shay Assad, Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy, notifying DOI that previous restrictions imposed by the May 31, 2007, letter had been rescinded, however new limitations on furniture procurement are imposed. More information can be obtained in the attached memo dated March 28, 2008, from Shay Assad.

A Memorandum of Agreement between the Department of Defense and the Department of the Interior, signed by Nina Rose Hatfield and Shay D. Assad in 2007, outlines specific terms and conditions for the provision of interagency acquisition services.

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Must an agency prepare an Economy Act determination and finding before using a Franchise Fund?

No. The Economy Act does not apply when using the Interior Franchise Fund. The Government Management Reform Act of 1994 (GMRA) created the specific statutory authority for agencies to obtain common administrative services from franchise funds or inter-departmental agencies. The Economy Act is used only when a specific authority does not exist.

A memorandum from the Department of Defense (DoD), dated September 25, 2003, on "Fiscal Principals and Interagency Agreements," is also included here to support the use of organizations that have separate legal authority outside of the Economy Act.

Please note that the Acquisition Services Directorate requires that all funding documents include the following language:

"This order is issued under the express authority of the Government Management Reform Act of 1994 (P.L. 103-356)"

Please refer to the Funding Information page for more information.

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Under what circumstances will the Acquisition Services Directorate accept Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests (MIPRs)?

Military Interdepartmental Purchase Requests (MIPRs) are not always required. For end-of-year funding transfers by MIPR, please include a MIPR acceptance form as it will expedite processing.

Acquisition Services Directorate cannot accept MIPRs on a Direct Citation (Category II) basis. Please ensure that all MIPRs indicate a Reimbursement (Category I) indicator. The MIPR must include the point of contact's full name, phone number, and fax number, as well as an email address.

Acquisition Services Directorate does not have Defense Switched Network (DSN) capability. Once the MIPR is completed and signed for the requiring activity, the MIPR is to be faxed or scanned/emailed to Acquisition Services Directorate. The MIPR is processed and then the accepted document will be faxed or scanned/emailed back to the requiring activity point of contact.

Please be sure to include a project description in sufficient detail to establish your bona fide need.

Please refer to the Funding Information page for more information.

Note: MIPRs shall include the following statement:
THIS ORDER IS ISSUED UNDER THE EXPRESS AUTHORITY OF THE GOVERNMENT MANAGEMENT REFORM ACT OF 1994 (P.L.103-356).

Funding documents should be faxed to 703.964.5300, or contact your contracting officer about electronic transmission.

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Funding Questions

Please visit our Funding Information section to assist you with your Interagency Agreement or MIPR coding details. For assistance, please email the funding team.

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I’m with the DOI Office of the Secretary. Are there unique requirements that I should be aware of?

Yes, please refer to the DOI Requisitions guidance page for helpful information.

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What is the Trading Partner Number (TPN) for the Acquisition Services Directorate?

For non-Department of the Interior agencies, please use TPN 1400. For internal Department of the Interior bureaus, please use TPN 14C8.

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What is the FIPS Code and why do I need it?

The federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Code is an alphanumeric code assigned to each agency and/or their division in order to track data. In procurement, it is a critical piece of information that allows the contracting office to assign award credits to the program that funded the project. Returning award credits to the funding agency gives the true picture of how that agency spends its program funds. Although the Acquisition Services Directorate was sent the money to spend, and we in turn spend it on behalf of our clients, we do not take 'credit' for another agency's dollars.

As an example, when the Small Business Administration needs to report how individual agencies met or exceeded their small business goals, the FIPS Code is a major component in deriving the data from FPDS-NG (federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation).

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What if I have more than one appropriation number on a funding document?

The federal Government financial database cannot support a funding document that lists two appropriations; therefore they must be listed separately. If an agency sends in a funding document that lists more than one appropriation number, it is required that funds be separated and cited in an accompanying document(s). The requesting agency must prepare a new funding document or record an amendment to the existing funding document.

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What documents must accompany any funding sent from my agency to Acquisition Services Directorate?

All federal agencies are to complete PART A and PART B. Required by the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, these documents serve an important purpose when an audit is conducted, plus, they add consistency in the process across the government.

PART A is the service agreement. Simply stated, it is what you will do and what we will do to handle your acquisition. It gives specificity to the overall work that Acquisition Services Directorate will handle on your behalf, and gives guidance to the working relationship.

PART B is the funding instrument. For Civilian Agencies, this is your Interagency Agreement. For DoD, this is the MIPR document. PART B provides information required to demonstrate the bona fide need and authorizes the transfer and obligation of funds. We have a team of people to assist you with these forms.

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If I sent the Acquisition Services Directorate my funding document, why hasn't the contract been awarded?

Prior to a solicitation being posted, funds must be received by Acquisition Services Directorate. The Procurement Acquisition Lead Time (PALT) can be viewed in this site, which gives a general guideline as to when a contract may be awarded through Acquisition Services Directorate.

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Can funding be submitted on a Direct Cite Basis?

No, the Acquisition Services Directorate accepts funding under a "Reimbursable Basis" (Category I), and cannot accept funding under a "Direct Cite Basis" (Category II).

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What happens to the funds transferred to Acquisition Services Directorate?

Unless special circumstances exist, funds will remain unused in your account until the first invoice is approved and vendor payment is made. Each time an invoice is paid to the vendor, Acquisition Services Directorate will submit its service fee for payment. The service fee on each invoice is calculated against the invoiced amount, and collected over the life of the contract.

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COR Questions

What is my responsibility when recommending a COR to the Acquisition Services Directorate’s contracting officer?

The COR plays an important role in the administration and technical oversight of federal contracts. As our client agency, you should recommend individuals who have the technical, professional, and administrative qualifications to oversee contractor performance. Only those individuals meeting the training criteria outlined can be a COR. The Acquisition Services Directorate’s contracting officer is the only one who has the legal authority to appoint the COR.

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What are the training requirements for FAC-COR Certification?

The candidate must complete 40 hours of basic COR training not more than two years prior to an initial appointment as a COR. The training must be comprehensive, COR-specific training. It is not necessary to complete a single 40-hour class; a combination of short classes is acceptable as long as the classes total 40 hours. To maintain certification, an individual must complete a minimum of 40 continuous learning points (CLPs) of acquisition or COR related training every two years. Please verify the training requirements with your agency’s FAC-COR Program Coordinator. Acquisition Services Directorate verifies that current FAC-COR training certificates from your agency are qualified.

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What are CEUs and CLPs?

Continuing Education Units (CEUs) and Continuous Learning Points (CLPs) are forms of measurement for training. CEUs are usually given for college courses or in-depth, long-term training. Each academic quarter or semester hour equals one CEU. One CEU equals ten CLPs. CLPs are usually given for less formal training or conferences.

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Does the Acquisition Services Directorate expect CORs to meet minimum training requirements?

Yes. Individuals nominated to serve as COR must meet the FAC-COR certification requirements for the duration of the contract. Acquisition Services Directorate also follows The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) with regard to COR training requirements. OFPP has outlined a structured COR training program in a November 26, 2007 Memorandum For Chief Acquisition Officers.

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Where can I get COR training?

Many vendors offer competency-based COR training courses on a regular basis. Please review the COR Training document (online and classroom) for a list of vendors and links to course offerings. Online training is another way to meet some of your training requirements. The Defense Acquisition University offers many online acquisition related courses at no cost.

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What is expected of a COR?

The COR is an authorized representative who coordinates technical issues with a contracting officer for resolution. The COR is responsible for the day-to-day technical oversight of contractor performance. The contracting officer appoints or terminates a COR based on the needs of each acquisition and the competency of the appointed COR. The appointed COR must only perform those duties and responsibilities as directed by the contracting officer.

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I received an e-mail that looked strange --- it was from webptsmh --- informing me that I have been granted access to CPARS. What is CPARS?

CPARS is the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System. The Department of Interior has a CPARS regulation that must be followed by appropriate personnel.

If you are a Receiving Official or FAC certified COR, part of that duty could encompass being an Assessing Official Representative (AOR) within CPARS responsible for assessing the contractor’s performance. As of October 1, 2010, use of CPARS became mandatory in DOI for all actions estimated to be greater than the SAT for Supplies and Services. It is a system that has been used in Department of Defense (DoD) for years and the Naval Sea Logistics Center Detachment Portsmouth (NAVSEA) has system administration responsibilities.

The CPARS system is a web-enabled application that is accessed via the Internet website. CPARS hosts a suite of web-enabled applications that are used to document contractor and grantee performance information that is required by federal Regulations. The CPARS website offers links to CPARS (used for Services, IT, Operations Support type contracts), ACASS (A/E Contracts), CCASS (Construction), and FAPIIS (Contractor and Grantee Integrity information such as TforD, Non-responsibility, Defective Cost and Pricing Data, etc.) and also provides various items of interest including reference material, training information, frequently asked questions, best practices as well as other information.


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Vendor Questions

How can I do business with the Acquisition Services Directorate?

The Acquisition Services Directorate competes 70% of opportunities for contracts through vehicles such as GSA schedules or other government-wide acquisitions contracts (GWACs). An estimated 20% of requirements are posted in FedBizOpps. Another 10% are attributable to 8(a) direct awards, competitive 8(a) awards, and client-driven sole source justifications.

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Who can I talk to if I am a small business?

We encourage small business to call one of our Small Business Specialists. However, program managers are the key during the market research phase while requirements are being developed.

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Is Acquisition Services Directorate a full-service environment, using various contract vehicles?

Yes. Acquisition Services Directorate is a full service acquisition office which includes the acquisition life cycle -- market research, solicitation, negotiation, award, and contract administration through closeout. All modifications and electronic bill payment through IPP is included. We also purchase through the GSA schedules, government-wide acquisition contracts (GWACs), Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs), and Acquisition Services Directorate specific Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQs) contracts. When appropriate, we compete full and open through FedBizOpps. Our organization works closely with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to identify the most qualified Minority Owned 8(a) companies.

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How long does it typically take to award a contract?

We are committed to satisfying award date expectations. Our contracting officers work with our clients on an acquisition plan, and specifically seek agreement on milestones to be achieved for each opportunity. Award time frame will vary depending on complexity of the project, and is thoroughly discussed with the program manager.M

Once the funding agreement is received, most clients are generally looking at 60-90 days for award. We can award more quickly, for example, if we are using an existing Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contract or intend to make an 8(a) direct award.

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Do you have different rules as an interagency contracting office?

The Acquisition Services Directorate, like all other federal contracting environments, is guided by the federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Our warranted contracting officers have experience throughout the vast array of federal agencies and the DoD.

As you may know, individual agencies or military services can give further restrictive guidance than what is stated in the FAR. For example, we follow DoD guidelines, and will use contract clauses to reflect DoD requirements.

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If I introduce you to my customer, what's the next step?

We appreciate introductions and will include vendor companies as a suggested source for a proposal. It is important that clients make known from whom they would like to receive proposals.

Your customers will be best served by having them call our Information Center at 703.964.8800 or email to New Business.

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What is CPARS and how am I involved?

CPARS is the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System. The Department of Interior (DOI) has a CPARS regulation that must be followed by all vendors that have a contract awarded by the Department. Please review the DOI CPARS Notice to Contractor’s Memo.

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IGCE Questions

What is Independent Government Cost Estimate (IGCE)?

It is important to understand the significance of the Independent Government Cost Estimate. Along with the Statement of Work, the IGCE is an important document that has direct influence on how long it may take to execute an acquisition and, ultimately, the estimated cost of performance.

It is not expected that individuals assigned as CORs will be expert cost estimators. Nor is it considered feasible that each receive specialized training in this area. It is necessary, however, that persons preparing the IGCE have "access" to individuals reasonably well trained in this discipline.

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What is the purpose/importance of IGCE?

The Government is entitled to receive quality supplies and services at fair prices. Under normal market conditions, competing offers ensure that adequate value is received. The contracting officer relies on the IGCE to assist in the determination of the acquisition strategy, as well as an estimated cost for the proposed effort.

An under-estimated project can result in too little funding, delayed and iterative proposal processes, negotiation difficulties and delays, and other internal administrative problems.

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What are the guidelines in generating IGCE?

The following are guidelines in generating the IGCE to be provided to the contracting officer:

The IGCE can be calculated using prior historical rates and information

The IGCE should include detailed breakdowns of estimates for material and travel, if/when applicable

The IGCE should include methodology used for estimating the level of effort required

The IGCE should be structured to identify and address each subtask

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What is IGCE development methodology?

Development of the IGCE may be accomplished using one or a combination of methodologies. Several methodologies for IGCE development are identified and briefly explained below

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Historical Data

Often the proposed requirement is similar or a follow on to a previously performed requirement. When this is the case, a review and analysis of historical data can be utilized to formulate the IGCE for the new requirement. When using historical data, the preparer needs to ensure:

The present requirement is very similar to the previous requirement and that adjustments are made to the IGCE to reflect any differences

Learning curve efficiencies are factored into the IGCE, when appropriate, to recognize greater Contractor efficiencies

Historical data reflects the most technically effective and cost efficient method to accomplish the requirements/effort

Historical data is factored to account for differences in resource values over time (this will generally have an upward effect on estimates of labor costs, but may have a neutral or downward effect for costs such as equipment which may have declined in price in the marketplace)

All reasonably accessible sources are utilized to gain analogous information (earlier efforts anywhere within other organizations, other Government agencies, commercial efforts, etc)

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Industry Standards

For some types of work, (e.g., provisioning, technical documentation, and certain types of specification or software development) industry standards have been developed for the approximate number of hours and types of labor required to perform certain repetitive functions. These standards may be useful benchmarks from which to build the IGCE.

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Documentation Methodology

As part of the documentation submitted to support the IGCE, the preparer should indicate how the IGCE was developed. If historical data was used, the source of such data should be identified. If standards were applied, reference to those should be indicated. Or if, for example, a work breakdown using in-house experience at doing similar work is utilized, reference to the particular project or other similar reference should be shown with the IGCE. This reference is important, both as a record to be used for reference for future efforts, and as evidence of the realism of the IGCE so that it can be relied on by the contracting officer, if necessary.

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What are IGCE cost elements?

Each IGCE should address the below-listed cost elements. Along with each portion of the cost breakdown there should be an explanation of the rationale used to formulate the estimate.

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Labor Mix/Hours

The IGCE should clearly indicate the labor categories and associated hours at each level to perform each task identified in the Statement of Work. For ease of evaluation and comparison, each task shall be listed in order in which it appears in the body of the SOW. In some cases where a particular task involves multiple functions; the preparer may want to further break down the IGCE according to these separate functions. Needless to say, if the SOW is broken down into subtasks, then there should be a separate analysis of each.

One commonly overlooked consideration is in the area of overall management or direction. The preparer should include a reasonable number of hours for this function.

The preparer of the IGCE should consider the skills required for task order accomplishments, not individuals. The Government is not bound to provide full-time employment for any Contractor employee. Show only the number of hours that will be productively utilized.

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Subcontracting

For the purposes of developing the IGCE, the preparer should assume all work under the SOW will be done by the prime Contractor even if the preparer knows or assumes the Contractor will propose subcontracting a portion of the requirement. It is the Contractor's responsibility to identify and propose work which it intends to subcontract.

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Travel

The IGCE should be consistent with travel requirements identified in the SOW. The IGCE should clearly indicate the anticipated destinations, number of trips, number of personnel involved with each trip, and trip duration. (NOTE: Travel time should be considered when calculating the trip duration, e.g., if the Contractor is required to travel on Sunday for a Monday to Friday trip, the trip would be six days, not five. And, travel hours should be included in compensable labor hour estimates.)

All rates utilized in the IGCE should be consistent with those specified in the federal Travel Regulations.

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Other Direct Costs (ODC)

The IGCE should identify all estimated costs other than labor and travel as ODC cost elements.

The preparer of the IGCE should not include any cost element, whether it be a material or ODC, for general or miscellaneous office supplies. Such supplies are part of the Contractor's normal business operations cost and should not be included as direct cost unless such supplies are unique to requirements.

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Can assistance from Contractor be acquired?

It is important to note that the Independent Government Cost Estimate must be developed without any assistance or input from a Contractor. It is totally inappropriate to develop the IGCE using input from a Contractor since the IGCE may be the basis for the Government's negotiation position relative to the Contractor's cost proposal.


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IPP Questions

What is IPP?

The Internet Payment Platform (IPP) is a secure web-based electronic invoicing and payment information service made available to all federal agencies and their vendors by the Department of Treasury’s Financial Management Service. To learn more about the program, please visit the IPP website.

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Can I see a demonstration to receive an overview of IPP?

IPP Demonstrations for vendors are available every Wednesday from 10:00 am - 11:00 am ET. If you are interested in attending, please contact: The IPP Supplier Enrollment Group. An overview video is also available from the IPP website.

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What happened to GovPay?

Because of Acquisition Services Directorate’s mandatory migration to a new DOI departmental financial system – Financial and Business Management System (FBMS), we have implemented a new electronic invoicing tool, the Internet Payment Platform (IPP). IPP is the mandatory electronic invoicing solution for the Department of the Interior’s enterprise-wide Financial and Business Management System (FBMS), in accordance with Department of the Interior Acquisition Policy Release (DIAPR) 2011-04, Amendment 2, dated September 2, 2011.

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As a customer, I have been relying on GovPay to maintain a history of invoices and payments for different contracts. Will the history of previous invoices and payments be migrated to IPP?

No, individual invoices will not migrate from GovPay to IPP. Although vendors will no longer be able to submit invoices via GovPay, customers (CORs) who are currently registered with the system will still be able to login and retrieve historical data (history of previous invoices, payments, etc). GovPay will remain available on-line for the next few months. After that, Acquisition Services Directorate will back-up and store all documents currently held in GovPay in case our customers should have a need to access any of the documents or information. For questions regarding the transition from GovPay to IPP, please email us.

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Will my current GovPay login be migrated over to IPP?

No, current Acquisition Services Directorate vendors and customers (CORs) are being notified via email about their username and password for IPP. The email will come from the following email account: twaigov@mail.eroc.twai.gov. Please add this email addresses to your address book so you do not disregard these emails or mistake them for spam.

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I am a COR in an organization served by Acquisition Services Directorate. Which option should I be signing up for in IPP: Disburser, Disburser Administrator, or Supplier?

CORs should sign up as Disbursers. Vendors should sign up as Suppliers. Disburser Administrator is used in IPP to set up users and roles, assign permissions, create groups and assign members, define rules and validation for data entry and invoice submission, and create and schedule integration tasks.

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