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Has anyone ever processed orders off of any of the LOC’s FEDLINK IDIQS? Looks like the LOC has awarded numerous sole source single-award IDIQs for various database subscriptions, which can then be used by any agency. If we were to process an order, would we even need a sole source justification at the order level if one was already drafted at the base IDIQ level? This option is rather new to our office, but seems almost too easy, unless we are missing something. 

FEDLINK.

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10 hours ago, Motorcity said:

If we were to process an order, would we even need a sole source justification at the order level if one was already drafted at the base IDIQ level?

I have not processed orders off of the tool.  However in reading the information available on the public facing website my view would be that you would not need to do a sole source at the order level - reference FAR 6.001(e)(2).   I noticed that the LOC does provide contact information for such questions.   Might be good to visit directly with them on the question to help understand what they exactly did in awarding pursuant to FAR Part 6 and whether, like GSA FSS, LOC has other policy or possibly language in their IDIQs about limited competition.

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The ordering and use rules aren’t spelled out clearly.  It’s confusing because much material addresses agencies transferring funding to LOC and LOC does the procurement.  But in most cases, agencies place orders directly with LOC contractors.

Quote

With Direct Express, the member agency’s contracting official may simply cite the FEDLINK contract number on their agency purchase order and send it directly to the vendor. When citing FEDLINK procurement vehicles, members are responsible for executing all contract actions in accordance with the FAR or other applicable regulations.

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/FEDLINKdirect

So you would need justification if you didn’t make a competitive selection

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I heard that some people are putting FAR 16 Justifications into their files, but I'm not so sure if that is even necesary. It appears that these are not multiple-award IDIQs, but really just a group of standalone single-award IDIQ contracts. it also appears that each base IDIQ contract was awarded with a JA.

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Motorcity, did you read the Fedlink link I provided?  You are correct In that the contracts are just a group of standalone contracts.  LOC also negotiated with a J&A.  That’s because each contract generally provides proprietary services unique to that vendor.  But what you need to resolve with your own actions are you selecting one contractor on a sole source basis or are you competing among several contract holders?  
 

And more more quote from the LOC website

Quote

Direct Express customers are responsible for initiating the purchase including the creation of a sole source justification at the order level when required, managing delivery of the products and services, and paying invoices.

 

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Yes, I have read the link, plus all related information regarding FEDLINK going back years. It appears that FEDLINK has five separate contract categories (Books, Foreign Language, Electronic Resources, Preservation, and Serials). It appears that requirements within the Foreign Language segment need to be competed, as stated on their website. Legal stated that we don't need to be doing a FAR 16.505 justification, as FEDLINK is established by statute (2 USC 182c), and the statute authorizes agencies to purchase directly through FEDLINK. Other COs I know at other agencies have received similar guidance. The challenge here is that the LOC team is not very responsive or customer-oriented. 

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Motorcity,

I agree with your legal office that a FAR 16.505(b)(2) exception justification is not required for FEDLINK orders.  I also agree that the LOC team does not know well how to be helpful to executive branch contracting officers.

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I chatted with LOC today about something else.  I bought this issue up.  LOC attorneys say they only address LOC contracts.  To establish a noncompetitive contract, an approved justification is required.  They don’t comment on agency orders and make it clear agencies are free to do what is necessary for their needs .  They tell agencies to look at this and let ordering agencies decide for themselves.   
 

https://www.loc.gov/flicc/contracts/InfoRetrieval/index_inforetrieval.html

An example of an agency order which is significant in scope and size with high level legal review and approval

https://s3.amazonaws.com/files.govtribe.com/fbo5/ecc6de209f8cc2e7a40cc97a11ba7206/4d0bb8ea0dfdc1cf6562f8487f830243?response-content-disposition=attachment%3B filename%3D"FAR_13.5_Justification_for_Other_than_Full_and_Open_Competition_Redacted.pdf"&X-Amz-Content-Sha256=UNSIGNED-PAYLOAD&X-Amz-Algorithm=AWS4-HMAC-SHA256&X-Amz-Credential=AKIAIHF4QMYGDHWDKE2Q%2F20200623%2Fus-east-1%2Fs3%2Faws4_request&X-Amz-Date=20200623T233323Z&X-Amz-SignedHeaders=host&X-Amz-Expires=3600&X-Amz-Signature=077c44d92395abbb603c23425178743592d82a1512fe13fb127ef8fcf583e7c0

Edit:  follow up info.  LOC determines that only one company provides specific services and awards a contract for those services.  Agencies need to determine what sources out of the universe of suppliers can meet their needs. For example an agency might need IT research and analysis services.  Gardner, Forrester, and Aberdeen are available through Fedlink. I wouldn’t think an agency could just pick Gardner and say under FAR 16.505 (b)(2), no justification is needed.

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Another thing I learned is that librarians are processing direct transfers for FEDLINK subscriptions/products I understand that the process happens like this...the program office will send the money to their agency's library team. From there, the library team transfers the funds directly to the selected vendor. I think some sort of IAA needs to be set up between the agency and the vendor for these types of fast transfers, which can be much more streamlined than processing orders via a CO.

 

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