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Acquisition Policy Flash! 17-12

What's Changed?

Class Deviation from the VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) Subpart 815.3, Source Selection, Section 815.303, Responsibilities

Purpose:  The purpose of this Acquisition Policy Flash is to distribute a deviation to the VAAR Subpart 815.3, Source Selection, under Section 815.303, Responsibilities.  The deviation accomplishes the following:

  1. Delegates to the Head of the Contracting Activities (HCAs) the authority to appoint an individual other than the delegated contracting officer as the source selection authority for a particular acquisition or group of acquisitions.  This authority is non-delegable.
  2. Requires the preparation of a request and justification for the execution of this authority to be submitted through channels to the appropriate HCA for approval/disapproval.

Dated:  December 15, 2016

Effective Date:  Immediately

Expiration Date:  This class deviation will remain in effect until incorporated into the VAAR or the VA Acquisition Manual (VAAM) or otherwise rescinded.

Affected VAAR parts:  VAAR 815.303

Background:  FAR 15.303(a) states, “Agency heads are responsible for source selection.  The contracting officer is designated as the source selection authority, unless the agency head appoints another individual for a particular acquisition or group of acquisitions.”

The FAR 15.303 does not prohibit delegating this authority.  It is in the Government’s best interest, when permitted by statute, to expedite procurement processes through the flow-down of procurement authority.

Currently, VAAR 815.303 states “The authority of the Secretary to appoint an individual other than the contracting officer to serve as the source selection authority (SSA) for a particular acquisition or group of acquisitions is delegated to the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) and is further delegated to the Deputy Senior Procurement Executive (DSPE).  If an Head of Contracting Activity (HCA) wishes to designate an individual other than the delegated contracting officer as the SSA for a particular acquisition or group of acquisitions, the HCA shall prepare a request and justification and shall submit the request through channels to the DSPE for approval,“ Therefore, a class deviation to VAAR 815.303 is required to delegate to the HCAs the authority to designate an individual other than the contracting officer as the source selection authority for a particular acquisition or group of acquisitions.

New Policy/Deviation:

“815.303, Responsibilities.

The authority of the Secretary to appoint an individual other than the contracting officer to serve as the source selection authority for a particular acquisition or group of acquisitions is delegated to the Head of the Contracting Activities (HCAs).  If an individual request someone other than the delegated contracting officer as the source selection authority for a particular acquisition or group of acquisitions, than the requester shall prepare a request and justification and shall submit the request through channels to the appropriate HCA for approval.”

Applicability:  The deviation applies to all VA contracting activities.

Action Required:  Follow the guidance provided by the deviation.

Additional Information:  Direct any questions or comments to Procurement Policy and Warrant Management Services via email at va.procurement.policy@va.gov or via telephone at (202) 632-5288.