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Hi, Folks.

I have a sole source under FAR Subpart 13.5 procedures. In regards to posting the synopsis/notice of intent to sole source, do I have flexibility in the amount of time I post the synopsis/notice?

FAR 5.203(a) states "the notice must be published at least 15 days before issuance of a solicitation, or a proposed contract action the Government intends to solicit and negotiate with only one source under the authority of 6.302..."

However, FAR 6.302 authorities are not applicable to FAR Part 13. I understand that the FAR 5.203(a) language continues to state "...except that, for acquisitions of commercial items, the contracting officer may - (1) Establish a shorter period for issuance of the solicitation; or (2) Use the combined synopsis and solicitation procedure (see 12.603)."

The additional language in regards to commercial items, which would be applicable to my case, does not touch upon the length of time the synopsis/notice of intent to sole source can, or must, be posted; it only states that the solicitation period can be shorter. I am not using the combined synopsis/solicitation method.

With all of this said, and the guidance in FAR 5.203(a), should I still proceed with a 15-day synopsis/notice of intent to sole source for my commercial acquisition under FAR Subpart 13.5? Or do I technically have latitude to do a shorter period for the synopsis/notice of intent to sole source as the FAR does not specifically prohibit or mandate that a 15-day notice is required for sole sources under FAR Subpart 13.5, which is separate from FAR 6.302 authorities?

Any guidance would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

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I differ from you in my reading of FAR 5.203(a)(1) -- it does indeed refer to shortening the "15 days before issuance of a solicitation."

For permission to use a shorter-than-standard solicitation response period for commercial items, see 5.203(c).

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Hi, ji!

Thank you for the quick response. I see you write "15 days before issuance of a solicitation," but 5.203(a)(1) actually states "Establish a shorter period for issuance of the solicitation..."

So, are you stating that you interpret the phrase "period for issuance of the solicitation" to be synonymous with "synopsis period"? I take that phrase to mean the actual solicitation period (i.e., the amount of time a solicitation is posted - not the synopsis - and when a solicitation closes).

Yes, I agree 5.203(c) refers to the flexibility we have to have a shorter solicitation period when acquiring commercial items (i.e., the time I post a solicitation - not a synopsis - to when the solicitation closes).

I expect to only give a week or so for the sole source vendor to provide a response to the solicitation itself, as is allowable with 5.203(c). My issue is determining whether I need to post the sole source synopsis/notice of intent to sole source for exactly 15 days prior to eventually only giving like a week or so to the vendor to respond to the solicitation I will post/send after the synopsis/notice of intent period. 

You think for a FAR Subpart 13.5 sole source acquisition that I have flexibility to use a shorter (e.g., 7 days) synopsis/notice of intent to sole source period AND a shorter solicitation period (e.g., 7 days)?

For a competitive commercial acquisition, I would simply just do the combined synopsis/solicitation and could choose any time period to post the solicitation, which also would meet synopsis requirements, but the sole source environment/notice of intent to sole source throws me for a loop on timelines.

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My thought is supported by the structure of the text.  

One perspective:  (a)(1) modifies (a) -- and (a) says nothing about the solicitation response period.

Another perspective:  the preface to (a)(1) is in (a), so that (a) applies as a general proposition "except that" (a)(1) changes (a) for commercial items.  The "except that" text clearly ties (a)(1) to (a).

Yes, for a commercial item acquisition, you have flexibility from 5.203(a)(1) to use a less-than-15-day period between synopsis and solicitation issuance, and you also have flexibility from 5.203(c) to use a less-than-30 day period for solicitation response.

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Hi, Ji.

Thank you VERY much for that analysis/rationale! You make a very good point in regards to the structure of the text.

Also, it makes sense that we would be afforded this flexibility/shorter time frame for commercial items as vendors should be able to respond quicker with items/services they can offer in the commercial marketplace, they typically have pre-written literature on their products/services, etc.

Thank you opening my eyes to the synopsis "light"! Have a great weekend!

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  • 2 months later...

Is it not allowable to issue a combined synopsis/solicitation when doing a sole source buy? And is the J&A allowed to be posted along with the synopsis? Or is the J&A only allowed to be posted after award?

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