The Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) mandate Contract activities to obtain competition in procurements to obtain the lowest priced, technical acceptable requirements. One of several exceptions to the FAR requirement to coordinate for competition is “unusual and compelling urgency.” However, this exception may not be what you think. The FAR describes this exception as applicable when the agency’s need for the supplies or services is of such an unusual and compelling urgency that the Government would be seriously injured unless the agency is permitted to limit the number of sources from which it solicits bids or proposals. Serious injury means that a delay in award of a contract would result in financial or other injury to the Government.
Many customers believe their requirement is “urgent” and compelling. “I need it now,” or “I have to have this by next week.” Most of the time a requirement becomes “urgent” because the requiring activity did not plan ahead and anticipate their needs. Therefore, the requirement cannot be given to Contracting in appropriate time to make an award in a proper manner. Another reason customer’s would like to use is it’s the end of the year and money is running out so we have to spend it.
Although these may seem like valid reasons to consider something urgent and compelling, the FAR does not agree. The FAR is very clear, as stated earlier, that a lack of advance planning by the requiring activity, or concerns related to the amount of funds available are not valid justifications for using an exception to competition.