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Determination and Findings 49100421SN0001

The National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Acquisition and Cooperative Support (DACS) establishes this Determination and Findings to support the consolidation of three existing contracts into one GSA blanket purchase agreement (BPA). 15 U.S.C. 657q and Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) part 7.107-2 require a determination and findings "...before conducting an acquisition that is a consolidation of requirements with an estimated dollar value exceeding $2 million..."

FINDINGS

  1. Market research was conducted for this acquisition in June 2020. The market research was conducted via collaboration between the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) and personnel from the Division of Human Resource Management (HRM). First, HRM reviewed the existing portfolio and identified three vendors, Federal Management Partners and Performance Excellence Partners, and Insignia, all Woman Owned Small Businesses (WOSB), that currently complete portions of the work. In addition, HRM and OSDBU hosted one-on-one meetings with four additional WOSBs and one HUBZone business. These businesses had previously expressed interest in the work through the OSDBU office.
  2. DACS has identified other contracting strategies that involve lesser degrees of consolidation. Specifically, the current approach consists of no consolidation and NSF could use a procurement approach that perpetuates that situation. NSF has explored even greater portfolio consolidation that would see approximately $60M (over five years) in requirements be consolidated into one Blanket Purchase Agreement. However, as argued below, NSF believes the proposed, smaller consolidation is in its best interest.
  3. OSDBU has coordinated with the market research and acquisition planning for this procurement.
  4. NSF has not identified any negative impact on small business concerns. All current contractors will have the opportunity to propose in response to the solicitation.
  5. NSF has determined that this acquisition will be a total set aside for WOSB. Therefore, small businesses are an integral part of the acquisition strategy.

Further, the benefits of consolidation specifically identified below substantially exceed the benefits NSF would derive from the alternative approach identified above of maintaining the status quo:

  1. Substantial Expected Cost Savings. NSF expects to receive substantial cost savings related to reducing the overlapping contractor program management function. Currently, all three contracts contain program management functions at rates ranging from $95/hour to $221/hour. NSF expects that consolidating the function will create synergistic savings by reducing duplicative program management. The total amount of the cost savings is expected to be substantial in relation to the total cost of the procurement.
  2. Quality Improvements. NSF also expects to receive quality improvements related to centralized program management. The current contracts overlap in some areas, but each contractor has a different management chain and program management approach. Centralizing program management will improve quality by making the approach to quality consistent across the portfolio.
  3. Reduction in acquisition cycle times; better terms and conditions; and/or other benefits. NSF will receive cost savings in the reduction of administrative costs related to Contracting Officer Representative (COR) time, contracting officer time, and contract specialist time. Currently, the portfolio requires administrative effort related to managing three different contractors. Reducing the number to one from three saves time in invoice management, administrative and option modifications, performance reporting and performance management, financial management, and other activities related to contract and contractor management. The current effort requires three separate procurements, each on a competitive basis. Consolidating this requirement reduces the burden of three separate competitive procurements every five years and replaces it with the issuance of single source tasks orders for five years. The BPA requires more up-front contract formation investment but requires significantly less contracting officer support during contract administration.

In addition, there are at least two other reasons that support my determination below that consolidation is necessary and justified. One, these services are critical to NSF's mission success. This BPA will cover mission critical areas, including support for the NSF Academy and related training programs, executive development programs, program officer development that includes support for and training on NSF's merit review process, non-executive career, professional, and leadership development, operational and policy support, and strategic human capital consulting which includes employee engagement. Two, the procurement strategy for this acquisition provides for maximum participation by small businesses because it is a total WOSB set-aside.

DETERMINATION

Upon review of the foregoing and the entire procurement record, I hereby determine that the consolidation contemplated by this acquisition is necessary and justified in accordance with FAR 7.107-2. Pursuant to 15 U.S.C. 657q(c)(2)(C), NSF will publish an appropriate notice and justification that such determination has been made.

Patrick K. Breen
Senior Procurement Executive
National Science Foundation