OMB has expanded on its previous guidance to agencies on using procurement flexibilities for needed purchases related to the pandemic, saying they have “have made important strides in maintaining continued contract performance by seeking to maximize telework, and taking other steps to help maintain contractors in a ready state.”
“We are seeing smart use of existing contract vehicles and resources, supported by our category management market experts, such as for cleaning and disinfection, information technology related to telework and healthcare, and enhanced entry screening services,” said memo M-20-27. “We are also seeing growing examples of agencies leveraging innovative business practices, such as virtual acquisitions, that save time and enable acquisitions to continue where they might otherwise have been stopped.”
The memo contains links to policies and resources on matters such as remote acquisition strategies; submissions by potential contractors of unsolicited capabilities statements or proposals; use of prizes and challenges; using category management for common goods and services; set-asides for local firms during disaster declarations; tracking of contract spending; reimbursing contractors for paid leave for their employees who normally must work at federal facilities that have been closed; modifying contracts; and more.
The memo also called attention to “a few potentially untapped flexibilities” such as the use of purchase cards “for the acquisition of commercially available products above the micro-purchase threshold when existing vehicles cannot meet needs and market availability may evaporate faster than existing vehicles can be modified to add products.”