Glossary of Government Terms

8(a) Program
The Program was created in 1974 to help minority and other small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs) to grow through a program of federal contracting preferences and set-asides. Through the 8(a) Program, eligible firms can be awarded government contracts on a sole-source, noncompetitive basis. The program is named for the section of the Small Business Act that authorizes its policies and procedures.

Accounting
The recording, classifying, summarizing and interpreting in a significant manner and in terms of money, transactions and events of a financial character.

Acquisition Network (AcqNet)
Internet website for Government-wide acquisition information.

Acquisition
The acquiring of supplies or services by the Federal government with appropriated funds through purchase or lease.

Acquisition Plan (AP)
The acquisition plan is an administrative tool in which agency program offices report their upcoming formal contract actions. It is designed to assist the program and procurement offices in planning effective and efficient accomplishments of an assigned procurement.

Administrative Change
A unilateral contract change, in writing, that does not affect the significant rights of the parties (e.g., a change in the payment office or the appropriate data).

Advance
Upcoming bid opportunities not yet publicly available, from public meetings, purchasing patterns and budget reviews.

Affiliates
Business concerns, organizations, or individuals that control each other or that are controlled by a third party. Control may include shared management or ownership, common use of facilities, equipment and employees, or family interest.

Agency
Any executive department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the government.

Anti-Deficiency Act
Prohibits authorizing or incurring obligations or expenditures in excess of amounts appropriated by the Congress and apportioned by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Assistance
A relationship between a federal agency and contractor/recipient, the principal purpose of which is the transfer of money, property, services, or anything of value to a contractor/recipient in order to accomplish a public purpose of support or stimulation authorized by federal statute rather than of acquisition by purchase or lease of property or services for the direct benefit or use of the Federal government.

Awards
In the GovernmentBids.com system, an award is a complement to a notice. A notice must exist to create an award. The link between a bid and an award is always one to one. An award is also known as a supplier or a winner.

Basic Ordering Agreement (BOA)
A Basic Ordering Agreement is a written instrument of understanding, negotiated between an agency, contracting activity, or contracting office and a contractor, that contains (1) terms and clauses applying to future contracts (orders) between the parties during its term, (2) a description, as specific as practicable, of supplies or services to be provided, and (3) methods for pricing, issuing, and delivering future orders under the basic ordering agreement. A basic ordering agreement is not a contract.

Best and Final Offer
For negotiated procurements, a contractor's final offer following the conclusion of discussions.

Best Value
Method of evaluating bids in which the contracting officer uses many criteria, including the capabilities of the bidder, to determine which offer is in the best overall interest of the buyer.

Bid Database
A list of data relating to bids, usually including title, location, time frame, dates, and contact information.

Bid Notice
Information and updates related to a current bid. Can include special updates, notice of meetings or additional requirements, or other data.

Bidding Notification
Communication sent to potential vendors that relates to a current open bid. Often includes additional information or details related to the bid.

Blanket Purchase Agreement (BPA)
A simplified method of filling anticipated repetitive needs for services and products. BPAs are "charge accounts" that ordering offices establish with GSA Schedule contractors to provide themselves with an easy ordering tool.

Brand Name Description
A purchase description that identifies a product by its brand name and model or part number, or other appropriate terminology by which the product is offered for sale.

Budgeting
The process of translating approved expenditures into funding allocations for a specified period of time.

Business Information Centers (BICs)
One-stop locations for information, education and training designed to help entrepreneurs start, operate and grow their businesses. The centers provide free on-site counseling, training courses and workshops, and have resources for addressing a broad variety of business start up and development issues.

CAGE Code
The Commercial and Government Entity, CAGE code, is a five-character ID number that identifies government contractors. Although originated by the Department of Defense, CAGE codes are now also used by the Department of Transportation and NASA, among other Federal government agencies.

Call for Tenders
Call for bids.

Capability Statement
A one- or two-page document summarizing a company’s background, certifications, experience, capabilities, expertise, past performance and pertinent codes, such as DUNS, CAGE, etc.

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA)
The Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Program is a database maintained by the General Services Administration that classifies all federal programs that provide funding to local government agencies, private institutions, and individuals. Each program is assigned a number and name. See the CFDA website for more information.

Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE)
OSDBU office within the VA tasked with assisting VOBs and SDVOBs to find government contracts.

Central Contract Registration (CCR)
The federal entity with which vendors can register to do business with the Federal government. This online resource is located at www.ccr.gov.

Certificate of Competency
A certificate issued by the Small Business Administration (SBA) stating that the holder is "responsible" (in terms of capability, competency, capacity, credit, integrity, perseverance and tenacity) for the purpose of receiving and performing a specific government contract.

Certified 8(a) Firm
A firm owned and operated by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and eligible to receive federal contracts under the Small Business Administration's 8(a) Business Development Program.

Change Order
Unilateral written change order issued to a contractor to modify contractual requirements within the general scope of the contract. Such modifications are limited to changes to the drawings, designs, specifications, the method of shipment or packing, or the place of delivery.

Civil Functions
Functions primarily associated with the Civil Works program of the Army Corps of Engineers. This program encompasses planning, programming, designing, constructing, and operating Federal Water resource projects for navigation, flood control, hydroelectric power production, water supply, recreation, and related activities. Also included are cemeterial work and conservation management.

Commerce Business Daily (CBD)
A Department of Commerce publication used by federal agencies to publish a summary or synopsis of their upcoming procurements to notify interested businesses. Now largely replaced by the Fedbizopps internet site.

Commercial Item
Any supply or service, other than real property, that is customarily used for non-Government purposes and that has been sold, leased or licensed to the general public.

Commercial Market Representation
A Small Business Administration representative who reviews and rates the small business, small disadvantaged business and women-owned business subcontracting programs of major prime contractors and makes recommendations for improvement.

Commitment
The reserving of funds for obligation at the time the contract is signed by an agency's warranted Contracting Officer.

Competition
A procurement strategy where more than one contractor that is capable of performing the contract is solicited to submit an offer for supplies and services. The successful offeror is selected on the basis of criteria established by the agency's contracting office and the program offices for which the work is to be performed.

Competition Advocate
Senior official appointed to promote full and open competition in the acquisition of supplies and services by the agency.

Competition Category
There are five data fields in FPDS that are useful for assessing the level of competition of a contract: the Extent Competed, Reason Not Competed, Number of Offers Received, Statutory Exception to Fair Opportunity, and Type of Set Aside. FedSpending.org has combined information from all five of these fields into one overall summation of the amount of competition for each transaction, called the competition category. More specific "transactions" are summed by these new competition categories in various tables.

Construction Metrication Ombudsman
A senior GSA official responsible for ensuring that GSA is implementing the metric system of measurement in an efficient manner, while ensuring that the goals of the Metric Conversion Act of 1975 are observed.

Contact
In the GovernmentBids.com system, a contact is a combination of username and password that gives access to the website. A contact is always associated to a company (or a subscriber). A company (or a subscriber) can have more than one contact to access the website. Every extra contact is subject to additional costs. All contacts inside a company will have the same access rights. Each contact will have its own preferences on the website.

In governmental purchasing, a contract is defined as a mutually binding legal relationship obligating the seller to furnish the supplies or services and the buyer to pay for them. It includes all types of commitments that obligate the Government to an expenditure of appropriated funds and that, except as otherwise authorized, are in writing. In addition to bilateral instruments, contracts include (but are not limited to) awards and notices of awards; job or delivery orders or task letters issued under basic ordering agreements; orders, such as purchase orders, under which the contract becomes effective by written acceptance or performance; and bilateral contract modifications.

Contract Action
An action resulting in a contract, a modification to a contract, or a delivery order placed against an indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract.

Contract Administration
All the activities associated with the oversight of the contractor's performance of a contract from awards to closeout.

Contract Award
Occurs when the contracting officer has signed and distributed the contract to, or notified, the contractor.

Contract Quality Requirements
The technical requirements in the contract relating to the quality of the supply or service, and those contract clauses prescribing inspection and other quality controls that are binding to the contractor, to assure that the supply or service conforms to the contractual requirements.

Contract Requirements
In addition to specified performance requirements, contract requirements include those defined in the statement of work; specifications, standards and related documents; management systems; and contract terms and conditions.

Contracting
Involves purchasing, renting, leasing, or otherwise obtaining supplies or services from non-federal sources. Contracting includes a description of the supplies and services required, solicitation and selection of sources, preparation and award of contracts, and all phases of contract administration. It does not include making grants or cooperative agreements.

Contracting Activity
An element of an agency designated by the agency head and delegated broad authority regarding acquisition functions.

Contracting Office
The office authorized by an agency's Senior Procurement Executive that awards or executes a contract for supplies or services.

Contracting Officer
A person with delegated written authority, by an agency's Senior Procurement Executive or designee, to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and assistance agreements and make related determinations and findings.

Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) or Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (C0TR)
Individuals identified by program offices who are designated and authorized by the contracting officer to perform contract administration functions on his/her behalf. COR/COTR functions are limited to those specifically designated in writing by the contracting officer.

Contractor
An entity in private industry that enters into contracts with an agency to provide supplies or services.

Contractor Team Arrangement
An arrangement in which (a) two or more companies form a partnership or joint venture to act as potential prime contractor; or (b) an agreement by a potential prime contractor with one or more other companies to have them act as its subcontractors under a specified government contract or acquisition program.

Cooperative Agreement
An assistance instrument used when substantial involvement is anticipated between the Federal  government and the State or local government or other recipient during performance of the contemplated activity.

Cost Accounting Standards (CAS)
CAS were designed by the General Accounting Office (GAO) to achieve uniformity and consistency in the measurement, assignment, and allocation of costs to Government contracts. The standards were based on examinations of common cost accounting practices throughout the industry. CAS does establish limits and constraints on what is considered appropriate, allowing the CAS to meet the goal of providing consistency and uniformity in cost accounting.

Cost Plus Fixed Fee (CPFF)
A cost-reimbursement contract that provides payment to the contractor of a negotiated fee that is fixed at the inception of the contract. The fixed fee does not vary with actual cost but may be adjusted as a result of changes in the work to be performed under the contract. This contract type permits contracting for efforts that might otherwise present too great a risk to contractors, but provides the contractor only a minimum incentive to control costs. (FAR 16.306)

Cost Analyses
The review and evaluation of the separate cost elements and proposed profit of a contractor's cost or pricing data. Cost analysis always includes price analysis.

Cost or Pricing Data
Factual and verifiable data that includes: (a) direct costs; (b) indirect costs; (c) profit or fee; (d) vendor quotations; (e) information on changes in production methods and in production or purchasing volume; and (f) information on management decisions that could have a significant bearing on costs.

Cost Reimbursement Contracts
Contracts based on payment by an agency to a contractor of allowable, reasonable and allocable costs incurred in the contract performance to the extent prescribed in the contract. These contracts may not require completion of the contract work, but rather the best efforts of the contractor. The types of cost reimbursement contracts include: (a) cost, (b) cost sharing, (c) cost-plus-fixed fee (CPFF), (d) cost-plus-incentive fee (CPIF), and (e) cost-plus-award fee (CPAF) contracts.

Cradle-to-Grave
The total concept of a procurement from inception through development, procurement, performance and final disposition.

Current Year
The fiscal year in progress. Also called execution year.

Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS)
The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-character identification number provided to entities interested in contracting with the Federal government. The numbers are distributed by the private company Dun & Bradstreet (D&B). Companies interested in contracting with the government must have a different 9-digit D-U-N-S number for each physical location and different address in the company, as well as each legally distinct division that may be co-housed at the same address or location. You do NOT have to pay for a DUNS number as a government contractor. Contact Dun and Bradstreet for more information.

Default
Failure by a party to a contract to comply with contractual requirements.

Defective Pricing
Inaccurate cost/pricing data, to include delivery orders placed against Federal Supply Schedules (FSS), certified by a contractor to be accurate, current, and complete.

Defense Acquisition Regulatory Council (DARC)
A group composed of representatives from every military department, the Defense Logistics Agency, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and that is in charge of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) on a joint basis with the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council (CAAC).

Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA)
Responsible for performing all contract audits for the Department of Defense and providing accounting and Financial advisory services regarding contracts and subcontracts to all DoD Components responsible for procurement and contract administration.

Defense Contractor
Any person who enters into a contract with the United States for the production of material or for the performance of services for the national defense.

Deliverable
A report or product that must be delivered to the government by the contractor to satisfy contractual requirements.

Dependability
A measure of the degree to which an item is operable and capable of performing its required function at any time during the life of the contract.

Direct Cost
Any cost specifically identified as a final cost objective for a particular contract action. Includes cost factors such as direct labor and materials.

Direct Labor
Labor required to complete a product or service. Includes fabrication, assembly, inspection and test for constructing an end product. Also, labor expended by contractor personnel in performing contractual requirements.

Direct Materials
Includes raw materials, purchased parts and subcontracted items required to manufacture and assemble completed products. A direct material cost is the cost of material used in making a product.

Disabled Veteran-Owned Business Enterprise (DVBE)
A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a service-disabled veteran of the military. The service-connected disability can be 0% compensation. See SDVOB for Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business.

Direct Payments
A classification of federal assistance spending in USAspending.gov. This classification of spending contains two types of payments - "specified use" and "unrestricted use."

Specified use:
Financial assistance from the Federal government provided directly to individuals, private firms, and other private institutions to encourage or subsidize a particular activity by conditioning the receipt of the assistance on a particular performance by the recipient. This does not include solicited contracts for the procurement of goods and services for the Federal government.

Unrestricted use:
Financial assistance from the Federal government provided directly to beneficiaries who satisfy federal eligibility requirements with no restrictions being imposed on the recipient as to how the money is spent. Included are payments under retirement, pension, and compensatory programs.

Educational and Nonprofit Institutions
Any corporation, foundation, trust, or institution operating on a not-for-profit basis. Included are educational and scientific institutions, hospitals of a non-profit nature, and state, local, and other non-Federal government agencies.

DOD
Department of Defense. This United States federal agency deals with the armed forces and the military, and has specialized purchasing requirements in many cases.

Disbursements
In budgetary usage, gross disbursements represent the amount of checks, cash, or other payments issued, less refunds received.

Effective Competition
A market condition that exists when two or more contractors, acting independently, actively compete for an agency's business in a manner that ensures that the agency will be offered the lowest price or best technical design to meet its minimum needs.

Electronic Commerce (EC)
Electronic techniques for accomplishing business transactions including electronic mail or messaging, Web technology, electronic bulletin boards, purchase cards, electronic funds transfer and electronic data interchange.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
A technique for electronically transferring and storing formatted information between computers, utilizing established and published formats and codes as authorized by the applicable Federal Information Processing Standards.

Electronic Posting System (EPS)
A method of posting notices of solicitations and the actual solicitations to the Internet. It allows businesses to register to receive email notification of opportunities in their area of interest. The single Government point-of-entry (GPE) for Federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000 is at Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps).

Emerging Small Business
A small business concern whose size is no greater than 50 percent of the numerical size standard applicable to the Standard Industrial Classification code assigned to a contracting opportunity.

Entity
In the GovernmentBids.com system, an entity is a company or a governmental association. An entity is also known as a buyer.

Equity
An accounting term used to describe the net investment of owners or stockholders in a business. Under the accounting equation, equity also represents the result of assets less liabilities.

Escalation
Determination of price adjustments based on increases or decreases to indexes specifically identified in the contract.

Evaluation Criteria
Standards that are used to evaluate an offeror's technical and operational effectiveness.

Expenditure
A charge against available funds, evidenced by a voucher or a claim. Expenditure represents the actual payment of funds.

Facilities Contract
Provides for the procurement, construction and installation of facilities or the use, maintenance, management, accountability, or disposition of facilities.

Fair and Reasonable Price
A price that is fair to both parties, considering the agreed-upon conditions, promised quality and timeliness of contract performance. "Fair and reasonable" price is subject to statutory and regulatory limitations.

Federal Acquisition Regulation Council
Governing body that ultimately makes FAR interpretations and rulings. Regulation used by all federal agencies in their acquisition of supplies and services with appropriated funds. It is issued within applicable laws under the joint authorities of the Administrator of General Services, the Secretary of Defense and the Administrator for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, under the broad policy guidelines of the Administrator, Office of Federal Procurement Policy, Office of Management and Budget.

Federal Assistance Award Data System (FAADS)
One of the current databases maintained by the Federal government to report information and data on all types of financial assistance awards made by federal agencies listed in the Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (see above). The data includes the type and amount of financial assistance, the type and location of the recipient, and the geographic place of performance.

Federal Fiscal Year
The Federal government operates on a fiscal year that begins on October 1 and ends the following September 30. Fiscal years are notated with FYXXXX or FYXX. The year notates the calendar year when the fiscal year will end. For example, fiscal year 2007 (FY07) runs from October 1, 2008 through September 30, 2009.

Federal Procurement Data Center (FPDC or FPDS)
Part of the U.S. General Services Administration, operates and maintains the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS). The FPDS is the central repository of statistical information on Federal contracting. The system contains detailed information on contract actions over $25,000 and summary data on procurements of less than $25,000. https://www.fpds.gov/

FedBizOpps
The federal business web site that lists many Federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps via the Internet. Located at www.fedbizopps.gov. Was formerly in printed format as the Commerce Business Daily.

Federal Information Processing (FIP)
A machine or a group of inter-connected machines, consisting of input, storage, computing, control and output services. These services function by using electronic circuitry in the main computing element to perform logical operations automatically through internally stored or externally controlled programmed instruction.

Federal Solicitation
A United States Federal government request for proposals, bids, or information.

Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) Program
A simplified process for procuring commonly used supplies or services by placing delivery orders against Federal Supply Schedule contracts that have been awarded by the General Services Administration (GSA) for use by all agencies.

FIP Resources
A comprehensive term referring to all computer-related resources, including computer hardware, firmware, software, personnel, documentation, supplies, services and support services.

Firmware
Software that is built into integrated circuits in a permanent or semi-permanent form. Firmware lies midway between hardware and software in terms of performance and flexibility.

Fixed-Price Contract
Contracts that provide for a firm price or, in appropriate cases, an adjustable price. Fixed price contracts providing for an adjustable price may include a ceiling price, a target price (including target cost) or both. Unless otherwise specified in the contract, the ceiling price or the target price is subject to adjustment only by operation of contract clauses providing for equitable adjustment or other revision of the contract price under stated circumstances. The contracting officer shall use firm-fixed price or fixed-price with economic price adjustment contracts when acquiring commercial items.

Formula Grant
Allocations of money to States or their subdivisions in accordance with distribution formulas prescribed by law or administrative regulation, for activities of a continuing nature not confined to a specific project.

Fraud
Acts of fraud or corruption or attempts to defraud an agency or to corrupt its agents, acts that constitute a cause for cor suspension under federal law or regulation.

Full and Open Competition
With respect to a contract action, "full and open" competition means that all responsible sources are permitted to compete.

Full and Open Competition After Exclusion of Sources
All responsible sources that meet certain criteria, such as business size or location in a labor surplus area, are permitted to compete. These competitions are specifically authorized by the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA).

Government Impact (Credit) Card
Federal government credit card that cardholders may use to make purchases up to $2,500.

Government Property
Equipment and facilities furnished by the government to a contractor or recipient, or acquired by a contractor or recipient, at government expense for use during the performance of a contract or assistance agreement.

Grant
An assistance instrument used when little Federal government involvement is anticipated in the performance by the recipient.

Grants Officer
A contracting officer who contractually obligates the government by awarding grants.

Grant Recipient
Any non-federal entity, usually a state or local government, or a private, usually non-profit organization, such as an educational or religious institution, a relief agency, or an individual.

General Services Administration (GSA)
The GSA is a centralized federal procurement and property management agency created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public. It acquires, on behalf of federal agencies, office space, equipment, telecommunications, information technology, supplies and services. GSA is comprised of 4,000 associates and provides services and solutions for the office operations of over 1 million federal workers located in more than 8,000 government-owned and leased buildings in 2,000 US communities.

Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs)
GWACs are defined in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) as task orders or delivery order contracts for information technology (IT) established by one agency for government-wide use.

Government Agency
When the contractor is a Federal/State/Local government agency of the United States and outlying areas (educational institutions are excluded).

Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone)
The HUBZone Empowerment Contracting program provides federal contracting opportunities for qualified small businesses located in distressed areas.

Improper Influence
An influence that induces or tends to induce a federal employee to consider awarding a federal contract or purchase on any basis other than its merit. Independent Verifications and Validation Contract (IVV or IV and V): Contracts through which testing and validation or developed software is accomplished by someone other than the developer.

Industry
All concerns primarily engaged in similar lines of activity, as listed and described in the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) Contracts
Also known as multiple award Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) task order contracts, provides a broad range of IT support services and resources for administrative, research, development and operational activities.

Information Technology
Any equipment, or interconnected systems(s) or subsystem(s) of equipment used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission, or reception of data or information. Includes computers, ancillary equipment, software, firmware and similar procedures, services and related resources.

Interested Party
A prime contractor or an actual or perspective offeror whose direct economic interest would be affected by the award of a contract or by the failure to award a contract.

Intermediary Organization
Organizations that play a fundamental role in encouraging, promoting and facilitating business-to-business linkages, and mentor-protégé partnerships. These can include both nonprofit and for-profit organizations: chambers of commerce, trade associations, local, civic and community groups, state and local governments, academic institutions and private corporations.

Invitation For Bid (IFB)
An IFB is the method used for the sealed bid process. Typically, an IFB includes a description of the product or service to be acquired, instructions for preparing a bid, the conditions for purchase, packaging, delivery, shipping and payment, contract clauses to be included and the deadline for submitting bids.

Joint Venture
In the SBA Mentor-Protégé Program, an agreement between a certified 8(a) firm and a mentor firm to perform a specific federal contract.

Kickback
Any money, fee, commission, credit, gift, gratuity, thing of value, or compensation of any kind that is provided, directly or indirectly, to agency procurement or program officials by any prime contractor employee, subcontractor, or subcontractor employee for the purpose of improperly obtaining or receiving favorable treatment in connection with obtaining a contract.

Life Cycle Cost
The total cost to any agency for recurring, operating, supporting and disposing of the items being acquired over the life of the contract.

Market Survey
Attempt to determine the availability of qualified sources capable of satisfying an agency's procurement requirements. This testing of the marketplace may range from written or telephone contacts with knowledgeable federal and non-federal experts regarding similar or duplicate requirements and the results of any market test recently undertaken, to the more formal sources-sought announcements in pertinent publications or solicitations for information of planning purposes.

Mentor
A business, usually large, or other organization that has created a specialized program to advance strategic relationships with small businesses.

Micro-Purchase
An acquisition of supplies or services, the aggregate amount of which does not exceed $2,500, except in the case of construction; the limit is $2,000.

Multiple Award
Contracts awarded to more than one supplier for comparable supplies and services. Awards are made for the same generic types of items at various prices.

Municipal Contracts
Contracts with a city, village, town parish, or related local government.

Negotiation
Contracting through the use of either competitive or other-than-competitive proposals and discussions. Any contract awarded without using sealed bidding procedures is a negotiated contract.

North American Industry Classification System (NAICS)
The NAICS replaced the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Codes. NAICS is an industry classification system used by the statistical agencies of the United States for classifying business establishments. NAICS includes 1,170 industries of which 565 are service-based industries.

Notices
In the GovernmentBids.com system, a notice can be a Bid, a Federal Bid, a Pre-bid, a Federal Pre-Bid and a Free Bid.

Notification list
A compilation of vendors who have requested official notification from an agency or governmental entity of bid changes and awards.

Offer
A response to a solicitation that, if accepted, would bind the offeror to fulfill the resulting contract. Responses to invitations for bids (IFB) are called bids or sealed bids; responses to requests for proposals (RFP) are referred to as offers or proposals; responses to requests for quotations (RFQ) are designated as quotes.

Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)
The Small Business Act reads, "There is hereby established in each federal agency having procurement powers an office to be known as the 'Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.' The management of each such office shall be vested in an officer or employee of such agency who shall:

  • Be known as the 'Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization' for such agency;
  • Be appointed by the head of such agency;
  • Be responsible only to, and report directly to, the head of such agency or to his deputy;
  • Be responsible for the implementation and execution of the functions and duties under Section 8 and 15 of this Act;
  • Have supervisory authority over personnel of such agency to the extent that the functions and duties of such personnel relate to functions and duties under sections 8 and 15 of this Act;
  • Assign a small business technical adviser to each office to which the Administration has assigned a procurement center representative
  • Who shall be a full-time employee of the procuring activity and shall be well qualified, technically trained and familiar with the supplies or services purchased at the activity;
  • Whose principal duty shall be to assist the Administration procurement center representative in his duties and functions relating to section 8 and 15 of this Act;
  • Cooperate and consult on a regular basis with the Administration with respect to carrying out the functions and duties described in paragraph (4) of this subsection.

One-Stop Capital Shops:
OSCSs are the SBA's contribution to the Empowerment Zones/Enterprise Communities Program, an inter-agency initiative that provides resources to economically distressed communities. The shops provide a full range of SBA lending and technical assistance programs.

Option
A clause contained in a contract that gives an agency the unilateral right to extend the term of the contract or obtain additional quantities of products or services at the prices contained in the contract for that option period or additional quantity of products or services.

Organizational Conflict of Interest
Activities or relationships with other persons that interfere with a contractor or contractor employee rendering impartial assistance or advice to an agency.

Package
In the GovernmentBids.com system, a set of access rights to the website according to services selected at the registration.

Parties Excluded from Procurement Programs
Contractors included on the "Consolidated List of Debarred, Suspended and Ineligible Contractors." This list is compiled, maintained and distributed by the General Services Administration (GSA).

Partnering
A mutually beneficial business-to-business relationship based on trust and commitment and that enhances the capabilities of both parties.

Pre-Award Survey
An evaluation by a contracting activity of a prospective contractor's capability to perform a proposed contract. Site visits to contractor facilities are often conducted to determine qualifications and eligibility to receive awards.

Prebids
Information relating to bids, including conferences, available plans or specifications, and other details.

Price Analysis
The process of examining and evaluating a proposed price by comparing it with other offered prices or prices previously paid for similar goods or services.

Price Competition
Two or more bids or offers were received under formal advertising or negotiated methods of procurement and award was made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder or offeror.

Prime Contract
A contract entered into by an agency for the purpose of obtaining supplies, materials, equipment, or services of any kind.

Prime Contractor
A corporation, partnership, business association, trust, joint-stock company, educational institution or other non-profit organization, or individual who has entered into a prime contract with an agency.

Private Bids
Specific types of bids, often defined by statute or regulations that are outside the realm of the public bidding process.

Procurement
The government purchasing process, generally referring to advertising, soliciting, specifying, selecting, and awarding purchase contracts through a competitive bidding process. E-procurement is generally considered the electronic and internet-based version of this.

Procurement Activity
The organization within an agency authorized to enter into contractual relationships.

Procurement Automated Source System (PASS)
A database managed by the Small Business Administration that contains information on over 230,000 small businesses. PASS must be queried and reviewed by agency personnel to locate potential contractors. Not all small businesses are in the PASS database, but it does represent a good sampling of the availability of business in a particular industry. One of the primary reasons for the PASS search is that if any sources are found, the results are included in the "Justification for Other than Full and Open Competition (JOFOC)."

Procurement Center Representative (PCR)
Small Business Administration (SBA) representatives assigned to federal agencies to assist in conducting their small business programs by recommending sources and the use of appropriate set-asides. PCRs have the authority to challenge a contracting officer's decision not to conduct a particular procurement as a set-aside; they also review and make recommendations on proposed subcontracting plans.

Procurement List
A list of supplies and services that the Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled has determined to be available for mandatory purchase by federal agencies.

Procurement Official
Any civilian or military official or employee of an agency who has participated personally and substantially in any of the following activities for a particular procurement:

  • Drafting a specification or a statement of work for that procurement;
  • Reviewing or approving a specification or statement of work developed for that procurement;
  • Preparing or developing procurement or purchase requests for that procurement;
  • Preparing or issuing a solicitation for that procurement;
  • Evaluating bids or proposals for that procurement;
  • Selecting sources for that procurement;
  • Negotiating to establish the price or terms and conditions of a particular contract or contract modification;
  • Reviewing and approving the award of a contract or contract modification. (FEDERAL ACQUISITION REGULATION, 3.104-4,(h)(1))

Program Manager
The Program Manager is usually not involved in contracting, but they are typically the “end user”. They are the people who use your products or services in the process of doing their job. They are the scientists, technical staff, commissary staff, first-responders and any and all people involved in pursuing the agency’s mission. While they do not buy the products and services, they do influence the specifications and choices. You do want to get to know your key “end users”.

Project Grants
The funding, for fixed or known periods, of specific projects. Project grants can include fellowships, scholarships, research grants, training grants, trainee-ships, experimental and demonstration grants, evaluation grants, planning grants, technical assistance grants, survey grants, and construction grants.

Protégé
A firm in a developmental stage that aspires to increasing its capabilities through a mutually beneficial business-to-business relationship.

Protest
A written objection by an interested party to a procurement action conducted by an agency.

Public Tenders
Public (government) bids

Public Law 10650 (PL 106-50)
Also know the Veterans Entrepreneurship Act, a federal law passed in 1999 that sets as a goal that 3% of the value of all federal contracts and subcontracts shall be awarded to service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses. This law also created the Veterans Corporation.

Public Law 108-183 (PL 108-183)
The Veterans Benefit Act of 2003, signed by President Bush December 16, 2003. The new Public Law enables SDVOBs to receive sole source and restricted competition contracts for goods and services used by the US government. Congress enacted this statute after data collected from more than 60 federal departments and agencies over a period of three years showed that half of them reported no procurement dollars expanded with SDVOB companies.

Purchase Order
An offer made by an agency to buy certain supplies or non-personal services from commercial sources and based on specified terms and conditions. The aggregate amount shall not exceed the small purchase limit, currently $100,000.

Purchase Request (PR)
A document that is used to initiate a procurement action. Whether referred to as a PR, requisition, or procurement directive, it provides the necessary authorization to proceed with a procurement.

Qualified Borrower
An individual who is an eligible reservist and who has an outstanding direct 7(a) loan or a 7(b) disaster assistance loan that he or she received before being ordered to active duty; or a small business that has an outstanding direct 7(a) loan or a 7(b) disaster assistance loan that he or she received before becoming an eligible reservist who is an essential employee and who has been ordered to active duty.

Qualified Film Producers List (QFPL)
A list of producers qualified to make Government film productions. The Department of Defense (DOD), Federal Audiovisual Contract Management Office (FACMO) maintains this list.

Qualified Producers List (QPL)
A list of vendors who have been qualified in advance of a solicitation to provide a particular product or service.

Qualified Video Producers List (QVPL)
A list of producers qualified to make Government video productions. The DOD, FACMO maintains this list.

Ratification
The process used by an agency's contracting officers to approve and legitimize an otherwise proper contract made by an individual without contracting authority.

Request for Proposal (RFP)
Request for Proposal. A process where an agency or government can seek a specific proposal from vendors. Follows a specifications process and formalized set of standards and procedures. Generally seeks less vendor input than a Request for Information (RFI) but more than a Request for Quote (RFQ).

Request for Information (RFI)
Request for Information. A process where an agency or government can seek vendor input on a proposed product or process. Allows for more information and consideration, rather than asking for a more specific proposal, or an actual price quote for a specified product or service.

RFP
See Request for Proposal.

Request for Quote (RFQ)
Request for Quote. A process where an agency or government can seek prices from vendors for a specified product or service. Part of the competitive bidding process, this generally means less flexibility than a Request for Information (RFI) or RFP.

SCORE
The Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) is a 12,400-member volunteer association sponsored by the SBA. SCORE matches volunteer business-management counselors with prospective small business owners in need of expert advice.

Senior Procurement Executive
The Senior Procurement Executive for an agency is appointed by the agency head and is responsible for managing an agency's procurement activities.

Service-Disabled, Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB)
A small business that is at least 51% owned and controlled by a service-disabled veteran of the military. The service-connected disability can be 0% compensation.

Settlement Agreement
A written agreement, in the form of a modification to a contract, settling all or a severable portion of a settlement proposal resulting from termination of a contract for the convenience of the agency.

Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP)
May be used for contracts up to $100,000. Methods prescribed for making purchases of supplies or services using imprest funds, purchase orders, blanket purchase agreements, government-wide commercial purchase cards, or any other appropriate authorized methods.

Small Business

  • A small business that is at least 51 percent unconditionally owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged, or owned by an Indian tribe or native Hawaiian organization.
  • "Socially disadvantaged individuals" are individuals who have been subjected to racial or ethnic prejudice or cultural bias because of their identity as members of a group without regard to their qualities as individuals.
  • "Economically disadvantaged individuals" are socially disadvantaged individuals whose ability to compete in the free enterprise system is impaired due to diminished opportunities to obtain capital and credit as compared to others in the same line of business who are not socially disadvantaged.
  • Individuals who certify that they are members of named groups (Black Americans, Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian-Pacific Americans, Sub-continent-Asian Americans) are to be considered socially and economically disadvantaged.
  • The preferred terminology for these businesses is Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs).

Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (SADBU)
A less-used term meaning the same thing as OSDBU.

Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
SBDCs offer a broad spectrum of business information and guidance, as well as assistance in preparing loan applications.

Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) Contract
A type of contract designed to foster technological innovation by small businesses with 500 employees or less. The SBIR contract program provides for a three-phased approach to research and development projects: technological feasibility and concept development, the primary research effort, and the conversion of the technology to a commercial application.

Small Business Size
SBA's size standards define whether a business entity is small and, thus, eligible for Government programs and preferences reserved for "small business" concerns. Size standards have been established for types of economic activity, or industry, generally under the NAICS. Small and Small Disadvantaged Businesses include: Women Owned Businesses (WOBs), Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Businesses (SDVOBs), Veteran-Owned Businesses (VOBs), Historically Underutilized Business Zoned Businesses (HUB Zone), Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority institutions (OMIs).

Small Business Administration (SBA)
The SBA is a Federal government agency that has grown in terms of total assistance provided and its array of programs tailored to encourage small enterprises in all areas. SBA programs now include financial and federal contract procurement assistance, management assistance, and specialized outreach to women, minorities and armed forces veterans.

Small Disadvantaged Business Concern
A small business concern that is at least 51 percent owned by one or more individuals who are both socially and economically disadvantaged. This can include a publicly owned business that has at least 51 percent of its stock unconditionally owned by one or more socially and economically disadvantaged individuals and whose management and daily business is controlled by one or more such individuals.

Small Purchase:
Currently the term "small purchases" applies to procurements with thresholds of $100,000 or less. FASA has replaced the current term and threshold for "small purchase" with a new term called "simplified acquisition threshold" whose threshold includes procurements of $100,000 or less. There are two purchase categories under the simplified acquisition threshold. Purchases under $2,500 are called micro purchases. For these purchases, the small purchase set-aside for small business is dissolved. Small business reservation does apply to values of $2,501 - $100,000. If an agency has interim or full Federal Acquisition Computer Network (FACNET) capability, which is the ability to perform certain functions electronically, the $100,000 threshold on simplified acquisitions applies; otherwise, the threshold is $50,000. The higher threshold for simplified acquisition supports the acquisition streamlining initiative and provides small business contractors with increased set-aside opportunities.

Special Item Number (SIN)
A SIN means a group of generically similar (but not identical) supplies or services that are intended to serve the same general purpose or function.

Sole Source Procurement
A contract for the purchase of supplies or services that is entered into by an agency after soliciting and negotiating with only one source. Such procurements must be fully justified to indicate the reasons why competition is not possible.

Solicitation
A formal document that elicits proposals for acquisition or financial assistance awards. Solicitation instruments include Invitations for Bid (IFB), Requests for Proposals (RFP) and for small purchase actions, and Requests for Quotation (RFQ).

Source Selection Plan
The document that explains how proposals from offerors will be evaluated. The Plan includes the evaluation factors to be used, relative weight of the factors, and the methodology to be used by evaluators in evaluating proposals.

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code
A code representing a category within the Standard Industrial Classification System administered by the Statistical Policy Division of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The system was established to classify all industries in the US economy. A two-digit code designates each major industry group, which is coupled with a second two-digit code representing subcategories.

Standards
Technical requirements for processes, procedures, practices and methods that have been adopted as standard.

State Tenders
State bidding

Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code
A code representing a category within the Standard Industrial Classification System administered by the Statistical Policy Division of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. The system was established to classify all industries in the US economy. A two-digit code designates each major industry group, which is coupled with a second two-digit code representing subcategories.

Statement of Work (SOW)
A detailed statement describing the buyer’s requirements, including, if necessary, what products, services and methods will be used to fulfill the need.

Subcontract
A contract between a prime contractor and another source to obtain outside supplies for services that prime contractor needs to perform the contract requirements. Subcontracts include any agreement, other than an employer/employee relationship, which a prime contractor enters into for the purpose of fulfilling a government contract.

Subcontracting Plan
A written plan, submitted by a prime contractor and approved by a contracting officer, that describes goals and actions the contractor plans to take to use small and disadvantaged businesses to the maximum practicable extent in performing the contract.

Subscriber:
In the GovernmentBids.com system, a subscriber corresponds to any company interested in using the website.

Supplier
Vendor

Task Order
An order for services placed against an established contract, or with Government sources.

Technical Direction
The direction or guidance of the scientific, engineering and other technical aspects of a project, as distinguished from the administrative and business management aspects.

Tender
A bid or offer to provide a good or service to government at a specified price.

Unauthorized Commitment
The placing of an order, orally or in writing, for supplies or services by an agency employee who does not have a contracting officer warrant authorizing them to enter into a contract on behalf of the agency. Unauthorized commitments also include orders placed by contracting officers that exceed their authorized dollar limit.

Unsettled Contract Change
Any pending contract change or contract term for which a modification is required, to include a change order that has not been negotiated, but has been effected.

Unsolicited Proposal
A written proposal that is submitted to an agency by an outside source offering to perform an agency's work more effectively or efficiently. The unsolicited proposal shall not be in response to a formal or informal request, unless it is an agency request constituting a publicized general statement of need.

Value Engineering
An organized effort to analyze the functions of systems, equipment, facilities, services and supplies for the purpose of achieving the essential functions at the lowest life-cycle cost consistent with required performance, reliability, quality and safety.

Women-Owned Small Business
Companies that meet the definition of a small business (noted above), and are at least 51% owned by a woman or women who are U.S. citizens and who also control and operate the business. The preferred terminology for these businesses is Women Business Enterprises (WBEs).