“Competition is the cornerstone of our acquisition system.” This opening statement, from the Administrator of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in his May 31, 2007 policy directive, Enhancing Competition in Federal Acquisition, formed the basis for requesting that all government agencies take advantage of full and open competition, particularly on task orders issued under IDIQ contracts. OMB noted that “the lack of meaningful competition” for task orders has increased as government agencies have awarded more IDIQ contracts with a corresponding rise in task and delivery orders.

OMB’s directive also expressed concern over the increase in the number of contract modifications, which obviously are accomplished on a sole source basis. In order to increase competition, OMB is encouraging each agency’s competition advocate to “promote competition and challenge the barriers” to increased competition. 

In addition to energizing the competition advocates, OMB also proposes that the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council seek ways to maximize competition. Among the proposals that OMB would like the FAR Council to consider are the following:

 1) Limits on the duration of contracts awarded on a sole source, urgent basis to one year;

 2) Providing notice in FedBizOpps of sole source awards;

 3) Assuring the receipt of at least three proposals for  multiple award contracts; and

4) Identifying evaluation factors for large delivery and task orders that have statements of work that will enable meaningful comparison between competing proposals.      

The policy directive underscored the adage that competition saves the taxpayer money. The Administrator is concerned that the government is not taking full advantage of competitive acquisition tools “especially in the placement of task and delivery orders under indefinite-delivery vehicles.”