8(a) STARS II Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
For government customers
For industry partners
For government customers
1. Why should I use 8(a) STARS II?
8(a) STARS offers the unique opportunity to contract with highly qualified 8(a) small, disadvantaged businesses. Using GWACs is a faster alternative to time-consuming and costly full and open competitions. We also offer training and customer service to help you with contracting rules and regulations.
2. What can I buy using 8(a) STARS II?
GWACs are for information technology and IT-related services. You can also buy hardware, software and related supplies as part of an integrated solution. Leasing is prohibited under GSA's GWACs.
3. How do I access the contract?
Read the ordering guide for helpful instructions on how to use 8(a) STARS II.
In general, you need to follow these steps:
4. Are sole-source task orders permitted?
Yes, based on Section 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637 and FAR 19.8), you may award task orders under the $4 million competitive threshold on a sole-source basis. We also call this a directed order. Contract holders may take advantage of this unique provision based on self-marketing efforts or past performance.
You must give all contract holders within a functional area fair opportunity to compete when requirements exceed the $4 million competitive threshold in accordance with FAR 16.
5. Can state and local governments use 8(a) STARS II?
No. 8(a) STARS is authorized by the Clinger-Cohen Act to provide technology solutions to the federal government only. State and local governments can use IT Schedule 70 through the Cooperative Purchasing Program.
6. How can I be sure my scope is consistent with the contract?
GSA will review your task order or modification requirements for free to make sure the scope of your task order is compatible with the scope of our GWACs — we call this a scope compatibility review, and it takes approximately two to five business days.
7. How can I be sure my agency receives 8(a) credit?
Contracting officers can ensure their agencies receive 8(a) credit by conducting a task order size re-representation. Ordering contracting officers can conduct a task order size re-representation as a condition of new task order awards, if you think it is in your agency's best interest. Please contact the 8(a) STARS II team if you need assistance to conduct a task order size re-representation.
After you have made the award, you claim socioeconomic credit by reporting contract actions in the Federal Procurement Database System (FPDS).
8. If an 8(a) STARS II awardee has graduated from the 8(a) program, does the 8(a) credit still apply? Can we still award orders to them? Do other socioeconomic credits apply?
Familiarization with 13 CFR 124 provides in depth guidance on this topic. In short, yes, even if the awardee has graduated or will graduate from the 8(a) program, they can continue to receive new orders during the contract’s base period of five years. 8(a) credit and other applicable socioeconomic credits for that awardee will apply to those task orders issued during that base period.
For industry partners
9. How can new vendors join the 8(a) STARS II GWAC??
During the STARS II open season, scheduled for Spring 2015, vendors should review the 8(a) STARS II GWAC open season pre-solicitation notice QTA0015MDA2001 and Request for Proposals (RFP) at www.fbo.gov (FBO), and submit a competitive proposal. The pre-solicitation notice will precede the RFP on FBO by approximately 15 days. STARS II open season awards will result from competition.
10. My firm is not eligible to submit an offer on the 8(a) STARS II GWAC during open season, what other options do we have to participate?
We encourage all companies to consider subcontracting arrangements with any of the 8(a) STARS II industry partners.
11. If a NAICS code and a size standard are included on a task order solicitation, should I assume I must re-represent my status?
No. NAICS codes and size standards are commonly listed in solicitations, but that does not necessarily mean the customer agency requires an order level size re-representation. If the ordering contracting officer requires an order level size re-representation, they must clearly state it in the solicitation.
When in doubt, ask the ordering contracting officer what their intention was early in the solicitation period.
12. Where can I find information on agency procurement forecasts?
Acquisition Central features Agency Procurement Recurring Forecasts.
13. Where can I find further guidance for assisting my customer in making an award on 8(a) STARS II?
The 8(a) STARS II website provides a step by step process for placing an award on the contract. Please visit www.gsa.gov/8astars2, and review the right hand list entitled “Using 8(a) STARS II.”
14. Where can I find training on managing my GWAC contract?
The GSA 8(a) STARS II team has created a series of training videos to help you manage your GWAC contract; these videos can be accessed at http://interact.gsa.gov/sbgwacbootcamp.