New Clause for FSS Contracts Requires Digital Certificate Purchase

The General Services Administration has finalized, without change, a proposed rule amending the GSA Acquisition Regulation. The March 13, 2014, final rule, Electronic Contracting Initiative, adds a new clause at GSAR 552.238-81, Modifications (Federal Supply Schedule).

The new clause will be used in solicitations and contracts involving multiple- and single-award schedules. The clause includes an alternate that will be used for schedules that only accept electronic modifications. The alternate, which only applies to FSS contracts managed by GSA, links to eMod, GSA’s electronic tool.

According to the final rule, all of GSA’s 19,000 existing FSS contractors—and all new FSS contractors— will be required to obtain a digital certificate to comply with the alternate clause requirement to submit information through eMod. This requirement does not apply to FSS contracts managed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

A digital certificate is an electronic credential that asserts the identity of an individual and enables eMod to verify the identity of the individual entering the system and signing documents. The certificate is valid for two years, and contractor must renew the certificate and pay a new fee after the certificate expires.

GSA has authorized two FSS vendors—IdenTrust, Inc. and Operational Research Consultants, Inc. (ORC)—to issue digital certificates at a price of $119 per issuance. Training and information on obtaining a digital certificate is available at the eMod website.

The final rule goes into effect on April 14, 2014.

About William Van Huis

Bill Van Huis is a Senior Writer/Analyst for Wolters Kluwer Law & Business who tracks and analyzes new regulations impacting federal government contracting. He also follows court decisions involving bid protests and contract disputes. You can find his work in WK publications like Government Contract Reports and the FAR and DFARS Matrix Tools. Bill is a Certified Professional Contracts Manager, and he has a law degree from Southern Illinois University, where he graduated summa cum laude. Prior to joining WK, Bill worked both inside and outside state and local government in the areas of procurement and municipal finance. Bill also worked as a staff attorney for the Illinois Supreme Court.
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