GSA Schedules for non-Federal Acquisitions
While the federal acquisition market is already large enough, GSA Schedules are also available for local, tribal and state government purchases. Which means additional opportunities for your business as soon as you win the GSA Schedule award. This article explains four ways for local and state governments to purchase goods and services via GSA Schedules.
The eligibility of various entities to participate in GSA acquisition programs is determined by GSA’s Office of Acquisition Policy. The Order 4800.2I provides the complete list of authorities and organization that can use GSA Schedules for supply. In particular, the list includes city administrations, state administrations, tribal organizations, state or local instrumentalities (including elementary, middle and high schools and other educational institutions), foreign assistance organizations and others.
State and local government purchasing options
GSA defines four ways local and state governments can use to order products and services via GSA Schedules:
1. Cooperative purchasing
This program allows eligible authorities to purchase:
- Schedule 70. IT products (software, hardware, firmware, equipment and IT services)
- Schedule 84. Security products and solutions (alarm systems, firefighting systems, special security equipment or clothing, and corresponding services)
In addition to the above Schedules, cooperative purchasing opens access to part of GSA Schedule 70 SIN through Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA). For a contractor like you this means that recurring needs of the local or state authority will automatically be fulfilled (while within the performance period of the contract, of course) saving time and effort both for the contractor and for the governmental agency.
The main advantage of the Cooperative Purchasing program is that eligible entities can run state and local government contracts and purchase whatever they need at any time and with no particular financial restrictions. From the businesses’ point of view this means you receive a steady supply of orders with little to no extra paperwork.
2. Disaster purchasing
This program opens up the entire scope of GSA Schedules for purchasing by eligible entities (see above) as soon as such a purchase is required to facilitate disaster preparation or to quickly respond to disaster, or recover from it. Whenever Federal Emergency Management Agency declares a disaster, any GSA Schedules become open for purchase by local and state entities as part of the GSA Disaster Purchasing program.
Important notice: even if you hold a GSA contract, participating in this program is voluntary for you. You may or may not follow the usual ordering procedures. Also, you do not take responsibility for whether your products or services are used to prepare for, respond to, or recover from a disaster. This is solely local government responsibility.
3. The DoD 1122 program
Department of Defence manages this program to counteract drug dealing, acts of terrorism and otherwise manage homeland security. Under the 1122 Program eligible entities can purchase equipment and supplies from contractors to support their preventive activity in the above mentioned cases. Such equipment includes, for example:
- Law enforcement and security equipment (like body armors or tactical equipment)
- Marine craft and equipment (i.e. inflatable boats, beasons, monitors etc.)
- Firefighting and rescue equipment
- Special clothing
- Various tools
- Power equipment (generators, batteries and such)
- And so on
State and local government contracts under the 1122 program are reviewed by the Governor of the corresponding states and are either approved or not. Specifically, the Governor decides whether the request is valid, and if the budget estimates and requested supplies are true and matching the current needs.
Participation in the 1122 Program is voluntary. This means that as a GSA Schedule contractor you can decline any state and local government purchases without explaining the reason. However, if you are firm about fulfilling the order, then why not?
4. Public health emergencies program
Somewhat similar to the Disaster purchasing program, Public Health Emergency program allows non-federal local, tribal and state organizations to purchase goods and services in case of health emergencies: epidemic, toxic hazard, mass vaccination events, biohazard (including terrorist attacks) and such.
The PHE Program makes all Schedules available for local and state government purchasing. So if you are an eligible GSA contractor, you can participate in this program to get some more orders. And considering that public health emergencies take place literally every day, the amount of orders from non-federal governments may well worth participation in the program.
Also note that there is no need to create separate offerings in the GSA Advantage! or GSA eBuy systems specifically for PHE. The contracting officers will look for opportunities and contact vendors within their existing contracts during emergencies.