Acquisition Reform:

Classes of Contracts Not Suitable for the Federal Acquisition Computer Network

NSIAD-97-232: Published: Sep 17, 1997. Publicly Released: Sep 17, 1997.

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Louis J. Rodrigues
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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO provided information on the classes of contracts in amounts greater than the micro-purchase threshold and not greater than the simplified acquisition threshold that are not suitable for acquisition through a system with full Federal Acquisition Computer Network (FACNET) capability, focusing on: (1) characteristics of contract actions that agencies found not suitable for FACNET processing and evaluated the reasonableness and consistency of agencies' explanations why they were unsuitable for FACNET; and (2) governmentwide electronic commerce (EC) statistics to determine agencies' use of FACNET and other EC purchasing methods.

GAO noted that: (1) senior procurement officials generally found contracts unsuitable for FACNET when: (a) widespread public solicitation of offers was inappropriate; (b) transmitting essential contracting information through the network was not practical or feasible; or (c) alternative purchasing methods were faster and more efficient; (2) the agencies provided clear, reasonable, and consistent business and technical reasons why numerous types of contracts should be excluded from mandatory FACNET processing; (3) available data showed continuing limited use of FACNET for contract awards; (4) however, there is no governmentwide data available on agencies' use of other EC purchasing methods; (5) consequently, it is difficult to assess the government's overall progress in doing business electronically in a standard way; and (6) governmentwide EC statistical information may not be available until the year 2000.

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