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Acquisition Policy Flash! 12-14

What's Changed?

Online Reverse Auctions for the Purchase of Commodities

Purpose:  To inform the VA Acquisition Workforce of changes to the reverse auction policy and the lifting of the reverse auction moratorium.

Dated:  April 6, 2012

Effective Date:  Effective Immediately

Background:  On March 3, 2012, OAL imposed a moratorium on the use of reverse auctions within VA.  During this period, VA reviewed and revised its policy on reverse auctions.  As a result, the policy has been revised to ensure that VA conducts reverse auctions in compliance with Federal and VA Acquisition Regulations.  The attached Procurement Memorandum, “Updated Policy and Procedures for Using Reverse Auction,” supersedes IL 049-03-11, “Using Reverse Auctions to Acquire Goods and Services,” dated June 9, 2003 and all supplementary agency guidance issued pertaining to reverse auctions.

The following highlights the major provisions in the VA’s Procurement Policy Memorandum on Reverse Auctions:

  1. Reverse Auctions should primarily be used for acquisitions where the requirements are simple and the buyer is looking for the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable offer.

  2. Mandatory and priority sources shall be used in accordance with FAR Subpart 8.002.  Warranted contracting officials are responsible for ensuring that a determination is completed and documented in the procurement file that mandatory and priority sources cannot meet their needs before they seek sources on the open market using reverse auction techniques.

  3. The Memorandum requires that Contracting officials follow VAAR 819.70, Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned and Veteran-Owned Small Business Acquisition Program when using reverse auctioning.

  4. The Procurement Memorandum reemphasizes that all reverse auction award documents shall be generated in eCMS or placed in the eCMS briefcase folder as eCMS as the system of record for all VA acquisitions over $3,000.

  5. The Memorandum stipulates that each Head of Contracting Activity (HCA) develop internal controls (including mandatory training and reverse auction file documentation and file reviews) and standard operating procedures to establish oversight of reverse auction procurements.

  6. The Memorandum stipulates that each HCA ensures that the savings realized through the usage of reverse auction techniques are auditable and transparent, independent of any reverse auction service provider and that each award file shall be documented with the (auditable) savings realized through the use of reverse auction techniques as well as the reverse auction fee paid.

Additional Information:  Should you have questions or concerns related to the updated policy and procedures for using reverse auctions, please contact Ms. Marilyn Harris, Director, Acquisition Policy Service or Cheryl Duckett-Moody at cheryl.duckett-moody@va.gov.