GSA proposes vendors must e-sign modifications to schedule contracts

Wednesday - 5/29/2013, 2:47pm EDT

Every contractor with a spot on the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Schedules would have to obtain an electronic credential to make modifications to their contracts.

GSA issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register Tuesday that would change the agency's supplement to the Federal Acquisition Regulations to require the use of electronic modifications.

"Use of eMod will establish automated controls in the modification process that will ensure contract documentation is completed and approved by all required parties," GSA wrote in the proposal. "Additionally, eMod will foster GSA's Rapid Action Modification (RAM), which allows contracting officers to process certain modification requests to the FSS contract (e.g., administrative changes) as unilateral modifications with no requirement for contractor signature on the Standard Form 30, Amendment of Solicitation/Modification of Contract (SF30)."

GSA said all 19,000 FSS contract holders, including 15,800 small businesses, will need to get a digital certificate, which will assert the identity of an individual and enables eMod to verify the identity of the individual entering the system and signing documents.

The digital certificates will be valid for two years and cost $119 per issuance. GSA said two contractors, IdenTrust and Operational Research Consultants, offer digital certificates under the schedule that can be used on the e-Mod system. Additionally, DoD's external certificate authority (ECA) can be used with the e-Mod system, GSA said.

GSA said small and large businesses will benefit from this change because e-Mod will make "the process for submitting information is simplified, more structured and easy to use, and processing time is significantly reduced. For example, submission of a paper modification request is often a labor intensive process that involves repeated exchanges of information via standard mail and/or facsimile. The electronic process will include controls to prevent submission of incomplete requests that require follow-up. Contractors will be able to offer the latest products and services to the federal government faster and more often due to this streamlined submission process."

Comments on the proposed rule are due by July 29.

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