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  • Question

    Do we have to prepare a PWS, Measurable performance standards and Incentives etc. before we solicit from a Single Source for a subscription? If the answer is "No", what is the minimum documentation required to issue a RFQ to the single source vendor? What is the FAR reference to support preparing alternative documentation if FAR.37.601 is not applicable? If FAR 37.601 is applicable, Why? Can you confirm that our intent to purchase on-line subscriptions is a Service under PSC Code R702 vs. a Supply under FSC Code 7610 or 7630?


    Answer

    A service contract is one that directly engages the time and effort of a contractor whose primary purpose is to perform an identifiable task rather than to furnish an end item of supply FAR 37.101.  A subscription differs from a service when the item to be obtained is a publication or access to a database.  Subscriptions may be purchased under the simplified acquisition procedures contained in FAR Part 13.

    The term “subscription” is not defined in the FAR but the Government Accountability Office has consistently determined that expenditures of appropriated funds can be used by agencies to subscribe to databases (see, GAO Principles of Federal Appropriations Law Volume 1, 3rd Ed).  Based on the foregoing, the requirements
    of FAR Part 37 would be inapplicable.  Since you do not appear to be seeking “data collection” PSC Code R702 would also be inapplicable.  I'll defer to your internal agency policies regarding the level of documentation required to support the acquisition of a subscription.


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