Acquisition Engagements Types
Generally speaking, there are two ways that 18F can work with a partner on a procurement - an Acquisition Consulting Engagement and an Assisted Acquisition Engagement.
Note - some common terms used in discussing acquisitions can be found in this primer on what it means to be staffed to an 18F procurement project.
Acquisition Consulting Engagement
On an Acquisition Consulting engagement, the partner owns the acquisition process using contracting staff at their agency with coaching from us. The partner is not required to use a GSA FAS procurement vehicle, though they may also be a FAS procurement vehicle. The 18F cross functional team, led by the Acquisition lead, will work closely with the partner throughout the life cycle of procurement. This includes the development of an overarching acquisition strategy, developing pre-award materials, engaging vendors, helping onboard the vendor and set up of vendor management.
The 18F team is helping the partner run through the required phases of the procurement but the partner’s contracting office takes the lead on executing these activities, and the acquisition lead on the 18F team will pull in other team members at various times (like the design lead or engineering lead) to review draft solicitation materials, to help evaluate written responses to the solicitation, to help screen vendors, and for various other purposes. (It is worth noting that this cross-functional team approach is unique in government procurement and is what positions 18F to do this work well with our partners.)
After a vendor is selected, and an award has been made, we’ll work with the client and vendor development team to identify a healthy delivery cadence during the post-award phase of the engagement (whether or not 18F is involved in that phase). The post-award phase could also include things like code review. Ideally, once the partner is able to engage with the vendor development team on their own we begin to transition off the project.
The partner’s contracting office will be the primary point of contact for the vendor for things like invoicing, time tracking, personnel changes and other contract questions.
On an Assisted Acquisition engagement, the partner outsources either all or a part of the procurement. On this engagement a GSA/FAS procurement vehicle is used to support the procurement. A Contracting Officer from the TTS Office of Acquisition is staffed to the engagement along with the required 18F cross functional team. The acquisition lead on the 18F team will take the lead on engaging with the Contracting Officer on setting up the procurement, developing soliciting materials, helping to identify potential vendors, and will work closely with others in the cross functional team at various phases of the the procurement. The designated 18F Team lead will still engage with the partner POC, if different than the CO, and will work in tandem.
While still collaborative, compared to an Acquisition Consulting engagement, the 18F contracting lead and project team will take a much more active role in setting up and running the procurement, and in managing the selected vendor after an award has been made because 18F is considered the Servicing Agency responsible for all contractual execution.
Want to learn more about our acquisitions projects?
Check out this primer on what it means to be staffed to an 18F procurement project.