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  • Question

    Regarding a follow-on award for services on the Ability One procurement list, that were previously performed by an Ability One contractor, what is the contracting officer's recourse to address price issues with Ability One, when market research shows a significant disparity with open-market rates?


    Answer

    This response is based on the information provided.  We suggest you discuss with your contracting and finance team, program manager and/or legal department as appropriate.

     

    The contracting officer may point the disparity to the Committee, but is still required to purchase form the Procurement List if the product/service meets schedule and quality requirements.

     

    "FAR 8.703 -- Procurement List.

    The Committee maintains a Procurement List of all supplies and services required to be purchased from AbilityOne participating nonprofit agencies. The Procurement List may be accessed at: http://www.abilityone.gov/. Questions concerning whether a supply item or service is on the Procurement List may be submitted at Internet e-mail address info@abilityone.gov or referred to the Committee offices at the following address and telephone number:

    Committee for Purchase from People  Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled,

     1401 S. Clark Street, Suite 10800

     Arlington, VA 22202-3259

     (703) 603-7740

     

    Many items on the Procurement List are identified in the General Services Administration (GSA) Supply Catalog and GSA’s Customer Service Center Catalogs with a black square and the words “NIB/NISH Mandatory Source,” and in similar catalogs issued by the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). GSA, DLA, and VA are central supply agencies from which other Federal agencies are required to purchase certain supply items on the Procurement List."

     

    "FAR 8.706 -- Purchase Exceptions.

    (a) Ordering offices may acquire supplies or services on the Procurement List from commercial sources only if the acquisition is specifically authorized in a purchase exception granted by the designated central nonprofit agency.

    (b) The central nonprofit agency shall promptly grant purchase exceptions when --

                    (1) The AbilityOne participating nonprofit agencies cannot provide the supplies or services within the time required, and commercial sources can provide them significantly sooner in the quantities required; or

                    (2) The quantity required cannot be produced or provided economically by the AbilityOne participating nonprofit agencies.

    (c) The central nonprofit agency granting the exception shall specify the quantity and delivery or performance period covered by the exception.

    (d) When a purchase exception is granted, the contracting officer shall --

                    (1) Initiate purchase action within 15 days following the date of the exception or any extension granted by the central nonprofit agency; and

                    (2) Provide a copy of the solicitation to the central nonprofit agency when it is issued.

    (e) The Committee may also grant a purchase exception, under any circumstances it considers appropriate."

     

    "FAR 8.707 -- Prices.

    (a) The prices of items on the Procurement List are fair market prices established by the Committee. All prices for supplies ordered under this subpart are f.o.b. origin.

    (b) Prices for supplies are normally adjusted semiannually. Prices for services are normally adjusted annually.

    (c) The Committee may request the agency responsible for acquiring the supplies or service to assist it in establishing or revising the fair market price. The Committee has the authority to establish prices without prior coordination with the responsible contracting office.

    (d) Price changes shall normally apply to all orders received by the AbilityOne participating nonprofit agency on or after the effective date of the change. In special cases, after considering the views of the ordering office, the Committee may make price changes applicable to orders received by the AbilityOne participating nonprofit agency prior to the effective date of the change.

    (e) If an ordering office desires packing, packaging, or marking of supplies other than the standard pack as provided on the Procurement List, any difference in costs shall be included as a separate item on the nonprofit agency’s invoice. The ordering office shall reimburse the nonprofit agency for these costs.

    (f) Ordering offices may make recommendations to the Committee at any time for price revisions for supplies and services on the Procurement List."

     

    FAR 8.707(f) is the specific FAR response to your question.  We recommend you read all of FAR subpart 8.7 to get a full sense of the direction/guidance.

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