Determinations and Findings
The Library of Congress Fiscal Operations Improvement Act of 2000 (P.L. 106-481) establishes FEDLINK as a Revolving Fund program beginning October 1, 2001. Although the Act does not require the analysis described in FAR 17.503 for Economy Act purchases, the factors below support the conclusion that: (1) a FEDLINK acquisition is in the best interest of the Government, and (2) FEDLINK's services cannot be obtained as conveniently or economically by contracting directly with the vendor.
1. Using FEDLINK's established procurement vehicles saves your agency considerable contracting lead time and expense.
a. FEDLINK has already conducted negotiated formal procurement with vendors to establish the terms and conditions under which FEDLINK will issue orders for member agencies. FEDLINK performs CBD synopses as needed, and will conduct individualized requests for quotation (RFQs) for members where appropriate. In addition, the FEDLINK transfer pay fee covers accounting and invoice payment costs. In FY2000, FEDLINK saved members approximately $6.3 million in cost avoidance through its centralized contracting and accounting services.
b. The prices that vendors offer to the FEDLINK consortium reflect the volume of purchasing done through the program and the centralized services FEDLINK provides to the vendors (e.g., contract and license negotiation, invoice processing, and electronic funds transfer). Some vendor discounts are as much as 50% below market price. In FY2000, FEDLINK saved members more than $12 million in vendor volume discounts.
2. FEDLINK has expertise to enter into a contract for information services which is not available within the requesting agency.
a. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with decades of experience in purchasing library materials, electronic resources, and library support services. The FEDLINK program is a consortium of over 1,000 libraries and other federal offices, representing agencies from all branches of the U.S. federal government and independent agencies. FEDLINK has been in operation since 1976. Annually, the Government purchases over $100 million in online and CD-ROM databases, serials, books, document delivery, bibliographic utilities and other information and library support through the Library of Congress' FEDLINK program.
b. FEDLINK has six contracting officers, six professional librarians and an attorney who specialize in preparing solicitations, conducting competitions, and negotiating contracts and licenses with information industry vendors. Through experience, they have developed statements of work that reflect the requirements of librarians and end users, and the standards and capabilities of the information industry.
c. For bibliographic utility services, the Library of Congress has negotiated an agreement that enables federal libraries to become members of the OCLC Online Computer Library Center consortium and use its 46 million record database for cataloging, interlibrary loan, and reference work. Under that agreement, FEDLINK serves as the official "OCLC Affiliated Network" for federal libraries, providing them with training and administrative support as well as a federal procurement vehicle and prices at Network member rates. Libraries that do not contract with OCLC through an approved OCLC Network are charged OCLC's significantly higher "independent" rates.
3. FEDLINK follows standard federal contract administration procedures.
a. As a legislative branch entity, the Library of Congress is not subject to the FAR. Nevertheless, Library of Congress Regulation 1614-2 establishes that it is the Library's policy to follow the FAR, unless deviation therefrom is in the best interest of the Library. As stated in the FEDLINK Member Handbook, p.1-2, as a service to FEDLINK customers, most of whom are executive branch agencies subject to the FAR, the Library strictly adheres to the FAR for its FEDLINK contracting.
b. FEDLINK agreements and delivery orders issued thereunder contain appropriate FAR clauses. Overall, contract administration is provided by six contracting officers, five Contracting Officer's Technical Representatives (COTRs), a Vendor Services Coordinator, two teams of invoice examiners, and the librarian/official point of contact at the requesting agency. FEDLINK contract actions above the simplified acquisition threshold are reviewed by an internal contract review board (of non-FEDLINK contracting officers), the Chief of Contracts and Logistics, and the Office of the General Counsel.
Additional References (Not Required)
FAR 1.7 for Determinations and Findings (D&F) and FAR 17.503 (D&Fs for Interagency acquisitions under the Economy Act) http://www.arnet.gov/far/loadmainre.html.