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Why is there duplication of contracting vehicles for State and Local governments?

Recently we received the following question on our GSA Schedules Facebook page: Can someone please kindly explain what seems to be duplication in effort in government cooperative purchasing http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/100739 and http://www.uscommunities.org/?

This is an interesting question. The U.S. Government and particularly the General Accountability Office and the Office of Management and Budget are both looking at the overlap of contracting vehicles; where the benefits of additional competition lay and where the drawbacks of confusion and cost in marketplace lay.

In regard to the Cooperative Purchasing program under GSA Schedules and US Communities, the US Communities contracts are closed solicitations that are pre-competed and awarded to one or multiple contractors.  There is a defined limited scope of product or service category and authorized user under these pre-competed contracts.  Access to the Schedules under the GSA Cooperative Purchasing program, named, defined and authorized by statute, allows, state, local, tribal, and educational institutions access to broad categories of products or services for use at any time, for any reason, using any funds available.  Within the broad category of products and services available under Schedule 70 (Information Technology) and Schedule 84 (Security and Law Enforcement Products and Services) each customer may access all the thousands of contractors, and narrow and define their requirements for each order, as well as take advantage of Schedule terms, conditions and pricing. 

In some cases, there may be overlap in the product or service categories on the two contracting vehicles, but both work to the same end...saving money for the American taxpayer.

Maryland State Capital

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