Is it Sole Source or Single Source?

Is it Single Source or sole source?

There is a distinct difference between a “single-source” and a “sole-source” procurement under the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). The standards and principles for justification and approval of a sole-source procurement under the full-and-open competition requirements of FAR part 6 are much more stringent and complex than a determination for a single‑source procurement under Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) as outlined in FAR part 13.

Use of SAP is intended to promote efficiency in contracting, and reduce costs as well as administrative burdens for both agencies and contractors, while also improving opportunities for small businesses (FAR 13.002). The FAR specifies that SAP shall be used to the “maximum extent practicable” for procurement of needs with a value of $150,000 or less for noncommercial items, except in certain contingency operations when the threshold increases. SAP may be used for procurement of commercial items (under FAR part 12) with a value greater than $150,000 but $7 million or less (or $13 million for certain contingency operations).

FAR 13.104 requires that competition be promoted “to the maximum extent practicable” when using SAP. FAR 13.106-1(b) provides for “soliciting from a single source” when the contracting officer determines than only one source is reasonably available.

The FAR stipulates minimal requirements for soliciting from a single source under SAP and requires only a simple determination (not a detailed justification) by the contracting officer that going with one source is reasonable. When SAP is used for a commercial item valued within the dollar amounts stated above, the competition requirements of FAR part 6 do not apply, but FAR 13.501 does demand a more detailed, written justification (like that required by FAR part 6, which we’ll discuss in a moment) before an acquisition can be made from a single source.

Keep in mind your agency may also have specific policy or supplementing regulations that impose additional requirements

When the applicable simplified acquisition threshold of FAR part 13 is eclipsed, the competition requirements of FAR part 6 do apply.

Federal Acquisition RegulationAs such, one of the statutory exceptions to full and open competition listed in FAR subpart 6.3 must exist before a procurement can be made from one source. Some of the specific statutory exceptions defined by FAR 6.302 require a formal justification and approval be completed to support the “sole-source” procurement. FAR 6.303 describes in great detail the requirements and content for such a justification. The basic requirements for awarding without full and open competition include a written justification, a certification of the accuracy and completeness of the justification, and proper approval of the justification (FAR 6.303-1).

As you can see, the requirements are very different for a single‑source procurement versus a sole‑source procurement. The determination required for single‑source procurement under FAR part 13 is simplified and not as formal. Meanwhile, the standards and principles for justification and approval of a sole-source procurement under the competition requirements of FAR part 6 are much more stringent and complex. Keep in mind your agency may also have specific policy or supplementing regulations that impose additional requirements on single-source and sole-source procurements.

Well, cheers until the next turn off from the road.

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