The Multiple Award Schedule (“MAS”) Advisory Panel presented a series of recommendations (.pdf) to the new GSA Administrator on March 10, 2010 related to the structure, use and pricing of the GSA MAS Program.  The Panel’s charge was to focus on the “most favored customer” and price reduction provisions in Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS) contracts (also known as GSA Schedule contracts). The MAS Panel’s recommendations focus on improving vendors’ pricing to the government through increased competition and transparency.

Many of the recommendations focus specifically on the delivery of Services and Solutions (a combination of services and product). For Services contracts, the Panel recommended:

  • Eliminate the Price Reduction Clause and require competition at the task and delivery order level;
  • Ensure GSA policy is clear that the government’s pricing objective is to pursue the lowest overall cost alternative at the time of contract formation;
  • Disclose within the government GSA’s determination that offered prices are fair and reasonable, to enable ordering agencies to better evaluate vendor quotes;
  • Explore the use of cost-type contracts.

To what extent the Panel’s recommendations will be implemented by GSA is uncertain. Certainly, competition at the task and delivery order level will be achieved, because, independent of the Panel’s recommendations, Section 863 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2009 (.pdf) requires such competition – for both defense and civilian agency acquisitions above the simplified acquisition threshold and using multiple award contracts.  The proposal for disclosure within the government of vendors’ pricing information submitted to GSA, for the purpose of enabling ordering agencies to better evaluate quotes for individual orders, should be carefully watched, because the wider the dispersal of this highly-proprietary information, the greater the chance of inadvertent disclosure to competitors. 

Stay tuned for a discussion of the Panel’s recommendations specific to Solutions in Part II of this blog.