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News & Press: WIPP Legislative Updates

Is Sole Source Authority Available?

Monday, November 23, 2015  
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Is Sole Source Authority Available?

 

It’s a question being asked by every woman-owned federal contractor. And the answer is yes. The regulations governing sole source in the WOSB procurement program were effective beginning October 14, 2015. As far as the legality of sole source goes, as they say, that is that.

 

But there is always more to the story. WIPP members have heard from Contracting Officers that they cannot use the program yet. The reason is because the rules for sole source authority are yet to be added to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The FAR is the guidebook for federal buyers, and is viewed as a way for them to protect themselves from protest. In addition, the reporting system used for federal contracts, called FPDS, needs to be modified to allow for WOSB sole source to be an option. Both the FAR changes and the system changes are taking time.

 

But WIPP is thrilled to see some WOSB sole source contracts already awarded. Moreover, we are working with agencies to allow their Contracting Officers to award contracts without waiting on the FAR, by issuing special rules called deviations. WIPP sent letters to major agencies asking for these deviations. WIPP has also compiled a checklist to share with your Contracting Officer about how to use sole source authority, available here.

 

 


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