Chapter 6 - Assisted Acquisitions
- Purpose. An Interagency Agreement (IA) serves two purposes in an interagency acquisition.
- The IA establishes the general terms and conditions that govern the relationship between the requesting agency and the servicing agency.
- The IA provides information that is required to demonstrate a bona fide need and authorize the transfer and obligation of funds.
- Background. Assisted acquisitions (contracting) refers to the process where a non-Indian Health Service (IHS) contracting office (servicing agency) awards contracts or places orders on behalf of the IHS (requesting agency). (See Manual Exhibit 9-6-A) It does not include "direct ordering" (direct acquisitions) where an IHS contracting office issues orders under another agency's indefinite delivery contract, such as a General Services Administration or Veteran's Administration Federal Supply Schedule or a Government-Wide Acquisition Contract (GWAC). It also excludes interagency transfers for services or tasks provided directly by employees of the servicing agency.
- Authorities. Federal agencies commonly base their multi-agency contracting on various authorities including for example:
- Multiple Award Schedules. Contracting under the Multiple Award Schedules is governed by:
- Title III of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 (41 United States Code (U.S.C.) 301, et seq.)
- Title 40 U.S.C. 501, Services for Executive Agencies.
- Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts. Contracting under Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts is governed by Section 5112(e) of the Clinger-Cohen Act (40 U.S.C. 1412(e)).
- Franchise Fund Service Organizations
. Contracting under franchise fund service organizations is governed by Section 632 of the Government Management Reform Act (Public Law 103-356).
- Special Authorities. Some servicing contract activities using revolving funds (also known as working capital funds) operate under special authorities.
- Economy Act
. The Economy Act is a last resort authority to be used only when no more specific authority is applicable.
- Policy. It is IHS policy that all assisted acquisitions must be supported by an IA.
- 2-way Match. A type of invoice matching where the award quantity (or amount) is matched to the invoice quantity (or amount) before validating the invoice for payment. Since two documents are matched (award and invoice), this type of a control is called a 2-way Match.
- Alternatives. At a minimum, the alternative to using assisted acquisition is to use an IHS contracting office.
- Funds Certification Official. The second required tier reviewer and approver of requisitions in the Unified Financial Management System (UFMS) who verifies the Common Accounting Number and Object Class Code against the item that the funds are being used against and assures the legality of the proposed obligation.
- Interagency Acquisition. Interagency acquisition is the term used to describe the procedure by which an agency needing supplies or services obtains them using another agency's contract, the acquisition assistance of another agency, or both. Interagency acquisitions typically involve two government agencies: the requesting agency, which is the agency with the requirement, and the servicing agency which provides acquisition support, administers contracts for other agencies' direct use, or both. In some cases, more than one servicing agency may be involved in an assisted acquisition.
- iProcurement Recommending Approver. The first required tier reviewer and approver of requisitions in UFMS who approves requisition line items and supporting documentation.
- iProcurement Requestor. The individual responsible for preparing and submitting the requisition order of goods and/or services in UFMS.
- Special Authorities. Types of authority used to fund contractual obligations.
- Type "N" requisitions. Type "N" requisitions create a reservation of funds and automatically create an obligation in UFMS upon Final Approval action and typically do not require receiving as a pre-requisite for payment.
- Type "Y" requisitions. Type "Y" requisitions create a reservation of funds (commitments) but do not create an obligation upon approval. Instead, the requisition is interfaced to Purchase Request Information System Management (PRISM) for action by the assigned acquisition official. Receiving is typically a pre-requisite activity for payment, but the PRISM buyer can choose to specify a 2-way match obligation, when appropriate.
- iProcurement Requestor. The iProcurement requestor is responsible for:
- Preparing the IA and the Determination and Finding (D&F) for all new proposed assisted contracting requirements. The required contents of the D&F are prescribed at Subpart 17.5 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Department of Health and Human Services Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR) Subpart 317.503.
- Ensuring that all interagency fund transfers for assisted contracting requirements are supported by a written draft IA and a D&F.
- If the assisted acquisition involves purchase of property, the draft IA shall:
- Identify the authorized IHS receiving agent.
- Require that the servicing agency provide a copy of the order to the designated receiving agent.
- Require that the servicing agency verify that the property has been received by the designated IHS receiving agent prior to authorizing payment.
- The D&F shall contain the elements described in 9.6.3.
- The draft IA and D&F must be approved by the responsible Area Chief Contracting Officer (CCO) prior to obligation of funds to the servicing agency.
- After the contracting office has approved the action in PRISM, copies of the approved IA and D&F must be provided to the servicing agency and retained by the requesting program office.
- Ensuring that the D&F reflects a consensus reached with the contracting office during the development of the annual acquisition plan as to the best acquisition method and that the D&F describes the alternatives that were considered; e.g., to use an IHS contracting office or to use a servicing agency other than the one selected.
Initiating requisitions for assisted contracting or for increasing funds under existing assisted contracting agreements.
- iProcurement Recommending Approver and Funds Certification Officials. For assisted acquisitions activities, the iProcurement recommending approver and funds certification officials are responsible specifically for:
- Verifying that type "N" requisitions that identify a Federal agency as the supplier do not involve assisted contracting or are otherwise appropriate for direct obligation.
- Verifying that such requisitions which are initiated for assisted contracting or for increasing funds under existing assisted contracting agreements are amount based. One authorized exception is printing requirements to be referred to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Program Support Center that identify the Government Printing Office as the supplier. Type "N" requisitions that involve assisted contracting must be rejected.
- Chief Contracting Officer. The CCO can approve up to $500,000. Amounts above $500,000 must be approved by the Head of the Contracting Activity. The CCO is responsible for:
- Obtaining the small business review of the D&F.
- Approving or rejecting the D&F, as appropriate.
- Reviewing the draft IA to ensure that all IHS and HHS required clauses and provisions as well as any IHS requirements that apply to the proposed acquisition are described in the IA, including a description of requirements to ensure that purchased property is properly received and accounted for.
- Must verify that the supporting documentation is current for requisitions that add funding to an existing assisted contracting agreement.
- Upon approval of the supporting documents, the CCO must use the existing amount based requisition to create a PRISM document type "IAA" (Inter Agency Agreement) and specify line item type "2-way match." In case the requisition provided for creating the IAA is not amount based but is quantity based, the requisition must be canceled and the iProcurement requestor asked to process an amount based requisition. After the PRISM IAA document is approved and the obligation is verified as posted correctly in UFMS, the CCO must provide the UFMS Purchase Order (PO) number to the iProcurement requestor.
The iProcurement requestor must note the UFMS PO number on the IA and complete processing of the IA with the servicing agency.
All assisted acquisitions must be supported by an IA and an Assisted Contracting D&F. The Financial Management Service instructions for interagency agreements
- Obligations. Obligations for interagency fund transfers are processed by approving type "N" requisitions in iProcurement payment to the servicing agency is then made through an Interagency Payment and Collection (IPAC) transaction, process bypasses the contracting office and there is no assurance that the appropriate supporting documentation is in place. Accordingly, requisitions for interagency agreements that involve assisted acquisition must be entered as type "Y" and the obligation must be approved in PRISM by an authorized contracting officer.
- iProcurement Form.
- The "supplier name" field should be left blank.
- The requisition type should be "Y" (to be sourced in PRISM).
- The servicing agency should be identified in the "Note to Buyer" field.
- The supporting D&F and draft IA must either be attached as "miscellaneous" attachments or provided separately to the CCO.
- Please note that the current IPAC solution limits IPACs to be matched to POs with a unit price of $1.00 so any requisitions initiated for assisted contracting or for increasing funds under existing assisted contracting agreements must be amount based so that the unit price is internally stored as $1.00.
- Reference the iProcurement Manual for periodic updates to requisition entry instructions. The iProcurement Manual may be found on the UFMS Sharepoint site: https://workgroups.ihs.gov/sites/UFMSDocs/default.aspx
- Required Elements. Required D&F elements per the FAR 17.5 and the HHSAR 317.503.
- A finding that:
- The supplies or services cannot be obtained as conveniently or economically by contracting directly with a private source, OR
- The acquisition will appropriately be made under an existing contract of the servicing agency, entered into before placement of the order, to meet the requirements of the servicing agency for the same or similar supplies or services, OR
- The servicing agency has the capability or expertise to enter into a contract for such supplies or services that is not available within the requesting agency, OR
- The servicing agency is specifically authorized by law or regulation to purchase such supplies or services on behalf of other agencies.
- A description of the servicing organization(s) contemplated (the assigned HHS contracting office shall be one of the servicing organizations contemplated).
- For each organization and alternative approach contemplated, the anticipated benefits to the HHS Operating Division (OPDIV); the anticipated costs, including associated fees or other compensation; and the contract/order placement timeframe.
- The tradeoffs (cost, schedule, performance) among the approaches considered.
- The recommended multi-agency or intra-agency contracting approach.
- The conclusion that the contract to be awarded by the selected servicing organization is the most advantageous alternative to the Government, notwithstanding fees and the increased risk associated with assisted contracting.
- The steps that will be taken to ensure that contract funding will comply with the Anti-Deficiency Act and the Bona Fide Needs Rule