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Acquisition Policy Flash! 16-02

What's Changed?

OALC Employee Empowerment Initiative (EEI) - Acquisition Oversight Process Review and Approval Threshold Streamlining

Purpose:  To issue class deviations, in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 1.404, Class Deviations and Department of Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) 801.404, Class Deviations, to deviate from VAAR 802.101, Definitions and VAAR 809.400, Debarment, Suspension and Ineligibility.

To rescind Information Letter (IL) 049-05-8, “Option Year Contracts and Terms Exceeding 5 Years,” dated March 22, 2005 as obsolete.

To notify the acquisition workforce that Contract Review Teams are no longer required and the threshold for the Contract Review Board has increased $50 million.

Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) Parts Impacted:  VAAR 801.602-70, 801.602-71, 801.602-72, 806.501, 817.204(a), 832.202-1, and 832.402.

Effective Date:  December 15, 2015

Background:  The Acting Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) instituted an Employee Empowerment Initiative (EEI) in an effort to improve OALC operating efficiency by streamlining decision making and acquisition-related approval processes.  The acquisition approval authority has been moved to the lowest practicable subordinate acquisition activity level.  The goal of the revised oversight process is to establish a more decentralized, less labor-intensive oversight process that efficiently allocates time and resources.  This package sets forth the required information in accordance with FAR 1.404 and VAAR 801.404 to support multiple class deviations, and IL rescission revisions, developed to achieve EEI’s objectives.

New Policy

VAAR 801.602-70, 801.602-71 & 801.602-72:  Class Deviation from VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) 801.602-70, 801.602-71 & 801.602-72 (VAIQ 7640793)

These deviations delegate much of the oversight responsibility to the HCA level and below in compliance with our streamlining initiatives.  VAAR 801.602-70 sets forth general review requirements and stipulates that contracting officers shall ensure that any document listed under 801.602-71 through 801.602-76 that is submitted for technical or legal review should be in accordance with their respective HCA’s contract review process.  The revision also establishes that COs should not release a solicitation or sign a contract or modification until the appropriate review is completed.  VAAR 801.602-71 sets forth basic review requirements and provides a table that lists each contracting action along with the corresponding values and review and approval thresholds.  VAAR 801.602-72 is being removed as it conflicts with the revised review process.

VAAR 806.501:  Class Deviation, VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) 806.501, Requirements

This deviation clarifies language in VAAR Part 806.501, in reference to providing the Deputy Senior Procurement Executive (DSPE) the ability to further delegate the Advocate for Competition authority.

VAAR 817.204-70:  Class Deviation from VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) 817.204, Contracts regarding Option Year Contracts and Terms Exceeding 5 Years

VAAR 817.204-70 implements and supplements FAR 17.204(e) which provides authority to exceed the 5-year limitation for options, if approved in accordance with agency procedures.  This deviation changes the VA’s approval authority stated in VAAR 817.204(a) from the DSPE to the HCA or designee.  It also adds a “-70” to the number to indicate that the new VAAR language supplements the FAR.

VAAR 832, Contracting Financing:  Class Deviation from VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) 832.202-1 and 832.402

VAAR 832.202-1 - This deviation implements EEI by retaining the delegation to the HCAs for the approvals in FAR 32.202-1(d).  It amends the VAAR to designate the paragraph in 832.202-1 as “(d)” to be consistent with the delegation of authority to the HCAs in FAR 32.202-1(d).  HCAs will be required to report the number of actions approved for the previous fiscal year, no later than December 31st of each calendar year, to the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) and the DSPE.  This reporting requirement will be incorporated into the VA Acquisition Manual (VAAM) to be published in the future.

VAAR 832.402 is amended to delegate authority to the HCAs to make the determination required by FAR 32.402(c)(1)(iii) and to approve advance payments for contracts for non-commercial items.  HCAs will be required to report the number of actions approved for the previous fiscal year, no later than December 31st of each calendar year, to the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) and the Deputy Senior Procurement Executive (DSPE).  This reporting requirement will be incorporated into the VA Acquisition Manual (VAAM) when published.

Rescinded Policy

Information Letter (IL) 049-05-8: Rescission of Information Letter (IL) 049-05-8, “Option Year Contracts and Terms Exceeding 5 Years,” dated March 22, 2005

IL 049-05-8, “Option Year Contracts and Terms Exceeding 5 Years,” dated March 22, 2005, is rescinded.

IL 001AL-09-02, Integrated Oversight Process (IOP), will be rescinded and replaced with a Procurement Policy Memorandum.  In the interim this acquisition flash will serve to notify the acquisition workforce that Contract Review Teams are no longer required and the Contract Review Board is required for procurements greater than $50 million dollars.

Applicability:  The changes noted apply to all the Heads of Contracting Activities and the acquisition workforce.

Action Required:  Comply with the class deviations, rescission and change in CRT and CRB requirements.

Additional Information:  Questions or concerns should be addressed to the Office of Acquisition and Logistics (003A), Procurement Policy and Warrant Management Service (003A2A) at (202) 632-5288 or va.procurement.policy@va.gov.