The General Services Administration will create six additional small business acquisition categories for federal contractors as part of the recently established Services Multi-Agency Contract solicitation.
Following industry consultation, the agency said Monday it will award additional indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts in the following areas: 8(a) small business, HUBZone small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, total small business, woman-owned small business and unrestricted.
Services Multi-Agency Contract, which is known as Services MAC, is a follow-up contract to GSA’s One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services (OASIS). OASIS allowed agencies to use the federal government’s buying power to acquire services ranging from IT support to electronic and information warfare systems for the Department of Defense.
The new IDIQ contract categories will stand separate from the contract vehicle’s existing proposed structure, which is divided into the following specific domains: business administration, environmental, financial, human capital, logistics, management and advisory, marketing and public relations, social services and technical and engineering.
An initial request for information for Services MAC was published in June.
Commenting on the proposed new categories, Shane McCall, equity partner at Koprince McCall Pottroff, said that GSA’s approach to Services MAC could raise questions over small business teaming, which has been a point of discussion on other recent solicitations.
“There has been some confusion and limitations on how GSA values the past performance and capabilities of teaming partners versus the prime contractor,” he said. “That has been an area of consternation for offerors on similar multiple-award contracts. As more agencies use these large contracts, they become more and more high-stakes because they are used by so many agencies. So the contracting agency can really shape the pool of awardees by how they structure the scoring system for these contracts.”
Mark Hijar, founder of federal procurement consultancy Procurelinx, said that GSA’s approach could encourage small offers to go for a set-aside contract instead of an unrestricted contract in order to maximize their competitive position and reduce bid protests.
“The big question though will be how much actual funding will be issued through those set-aside vehicles. Because OASIS had set-aside lanes too – you just didn’t see as much activity as small businesses were hoping for there especially when DOD was the end user,” he said.
The creation of the new categories comes as agencies across federal government continue work to comply with President Biden’s executive order on advancing racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government, which is one of the first he signed after taking office.