Government Contracting News: Another Reason to Use Schedule Contracts – Greater Sole Source Ability

Written on December 10, 2019

A federal agency was justified in issuing a sole source task order to an incumbent Schedule contractor to complete an on-going task without seeking competition, according to a recent ruling by the Court of Federal Claims. In Harmonia Holdings Group, LLC v. United States, the Court ruled that the International Trade Commission acted within its discretion under the rules provided in FAR 8.405.  It is a little-known fact that orders placed under GSA Schedule contracts are not subject to the sole source rules of FAR Part 6. The sole source authority in 8.405-6 is more flexible. If the work is a logical add-on to an original project, sole source task orders are permissible, as long as the original task order was issued properly. This is a somewhat broader standard than the best interest of the government exception used under other circumstances. If the acquisition is made in the interest of efficiency and economy, and otherwise complies with Schedule ordering rules, it may be deemed to be appropriate. The benefits to the government can be substantial. A critical project can continue and be completed without the delay associated with conducting a new procurement. Institutional knowledge can be maintained. A well-performing contractor can continue work. While contractors and their customers should strive to complete projects on time, acquiring the work via a Schedule contract provides you and your customer with additional leeway if unforeseen delays occur. That’s an important issue to remember when you’re recommending an acquisition approach to your federal customer.

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