GSA Taking Another Step Towards Fully Electronic Contracting

By Carol L. O’Riordan

This is the fifth blog post in our series about new federal regulatory initiatives that are on tap for the first half of 2014.

The General Services Administration (GSA) has issued a proposed rule to amend the General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) to require electronic submission of modifications under Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contracts managed by GSA.

As the GSA points out, this is simply another step in bringing government contracts into the 21st century world of technology.

“This change is the result of modernized technology that will improve the process for submission of modifications under the Federal Supply Schedules Program, and was developed by GSA to satisfy customer demands,” the agency said.

It added that contractors will be able to offer the latest products and services to the Federal Government faster and more often due to this streamlined submission process – by modifying contracts electronically rather than on paper.

According to the agency, small businesses will be positively affected by this initiative “in that the process for submitting information is simplified, more structured and easy to use, and processing time is significantly reduced.”

The GSA also notes that the submission of a paper modification request is often a labor-intensive process that involves repeated exchanges of information via postal mail or fax. The electronic process will include controls to prevent submission of incomplete requests that require follow-up.

In addition, the agency said the new rule will support several Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) initiatives that are currently underway to enhance the Multiple Award Schedule Program’s ability to transition to a completely electronic contracting environment.

The proposal is now at the final rule stage after a public comment period, and publication of the final rule is expected by June 2014.

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