84(R) Senate Bill 20

Frequently Asked Questions

Last update: 8/11/2016

Following the 84th Legislative Session Texas state agencies contracting saw several major changes come into effect on or about September 1, 2015. Senate Bill 20 (SB 20) significantly impact state agencies (excluding institutions of higher education).

SB 20 required state agencies only to submit statements of work (SOWs) greater than $50,000, but no more than $1,000,000, to the Texas Department of Information Resources (DIR) for DIR review and approval of services defined within the SOW. The purpose of the review is to confirm that the scope of work contemplated within the SOW is appropriate for the category of Master Contracts that will be offered in the SOW.

Submit an S​​​OW for Cooperative Contracts​ Services​

Senate Bill 20 requires state agencies to submit statements of work (SOW) greater than $50,000 to DIR for defined services. This requirement is limited to Texas state agencies, and excludes institutions of higher education.​​​

To access the SOW Submission portal, visit the Sign in to My DIR portal located at the top of the DIR website.​​

​Customer exemptions:

  • The SB 20 threshold requirements and statement of work review and signature processes do not apply to institutions of higher education, K-12, local governments, assistance organizations, or out-of-state customers.

Program exemptions:

  • The threshold requirements and statement of work review and signature processes do not apply to contracts procured through the Data Center Services (DCS) program that are signed by the contracted vendors (e.g. Atos, Capgemini and Xerox Corporation). Important Note: All SOWs that are being administered through DCS program, as a 'Pass-through' expense, will be subject to State Procurement Rules.  The Statement of Work draft will need to be sent to DIR for review and the final SOW will require DIR’s signature approval.
  • The threshold requirements do not apply to contracts procured under the Texas Government Code (TGC) Chapter 2170 for telecommunications services, such as TEX-AN Services and Managed Services for Telecommunications.
  • The Managed Services for Telecommunications contracts have a separate review process for approval of Statements of Work, but will not require DIR signature for executing the SOW.

DIR contracts requiring SOWs include, but are not limited to:

  • Deliverables-Based Information Technology Services (DBITS)
  • Managed Services for Information Technology
  • IT Security Services
  • Cloud Services

After September 1, 2015, each SOW greater than $50,000 must be reviewed by DIR prior to submission to vendors and then subsequently co-signed by DIR, the offering agency and the selected vendor, prior to any payments being made. Commodities are defined in Texas statute as hardware, software, and services. A state agency wishing to purchase a commodity item after September 1, 2015, will be required to follow certain thresholds when requesting pricing from DIR Cooperative Contract vendors. The threshold requirements, as well as the process for SOW review and signature, will be posted on the DIR website for reference.

These FAQs will be updated frequently as new questions arise. Please submit any feedback or additional questions to the DIR Public Information Officer.

The following FAQs provide news and instructions regarding SB 20:

  1. Is a state agency required to obtain DIR’s signature on a resulting Purchase Order when using the IT Staffing Services (ITSAC) contracts?
  2. For the threshold requirements listed in SB 20, does our agency still have to obtain two quotes from ITSAC vendors (one quote from the TIBH vendor) to fulfill the $50,000 or less requirement when using the best value solicitation process?
  3. For the ITSAC competitive solicitation process, is a state agency required to meet the threshold pricing request requirements or will DIR do that?
  4. Are “services” considered a “commodity item” as described in SB 20?
  5. Will DIR provide guidance on what SOW information needs to be posted on the DIR website?
  6. How do we submit our SOW to DIR?
  7. What is the process for getting DIR to sign our SOWs for purchases over $50,000?
  8. How long will the review take?
  9. How long will it take to get the SOWs signed?
  10. Does DIR have to review and sign Support Agreements or Maintenance Agreements?
  11. For contracts under $1 million, if an amendment is needed that causes the original PO to exceed $1 million, is the agency required to bid that out?
  12. If our agency issues a contract for $2 million and then later we have an amendment to add $40,000, is that acceptable and within the threshold requirements for SB 20?
  13. A customer issued a purchase order for $970,000 before September 1, 2015. In October, they need to execute an amendment for $1 million. Is that allowable?
  14. What happens if our agency fails to obtain DIR’s signature prior to executing and starting work on an SOW?
  15. Are we required to have DIR sign amendments to SOWs after DIR has signed the original SOW?
  16. Are agencies automatically delegated authority (granted exemptions) for IT commodity purchases greater than $1,000,000?
  17. How does SB 20 affect Deliverables-Based IT Services (DBITS)?
  18. How does SB 20 affect purchases that go through the state’s consolidated data center?
  19. Will there be specific items that DIR will be looking for in an SOW?
  20. For DIR’s training, now added to the Comptroller’s training, does DIR anticipate a cost associated with the training?
  21. Would DIR need to review technical services for contracts such as software implementation when there is a DIR contracted hourly rate?
  22. Will there be a mechanism for vendors to know that DIR has approved an SOW and payment will not be an issue?
  23. Do state agencies have to submit SOWs for Managed Services for Telecommunications through the customer portal?
  24. I have a threshold requirements question. Any agency submits an SOW for review. The agency selects only three vendors (but there are more in the category that they could have selected) for DIR to verify against. At the time of DIRs approval of the SOW, all three vendors have active DIR contracts; however, when the agency submits the final SOW, one or more of the contracts is no longer active. What will be the process for resubmission?
  25. For an IT Staffing Services (ITSAC) vendor that was solicited through the Best Value process and has remaining renewals, can a customer exercise a renewal option for September 1, 2015?
  26. For an IT Staffing Services (ITSAC) vendor that was solicited through the competitive solicitation process and has remaining renewals, can a customer exercise a renewal option for September 1, 2015?
  27. A state agency executed a seat management contract (Managed Services for Information Technology) with several renewal options. Each annual renewal is more than $1 million. Will we have to bid out the Request for Offers (RFO) each year to process renewal years?
  28. If it is time to re-bid our seat management contract and it is $1 million per year, does this mean that we cannot use the Managed Services for Information Technology contracts and will have to do an RFO?
  29. Will DIR be signing SOWs as a third party to the contract?
  30. Do SOWs have to be reviewed by DIR every year during the renewal process?
  31. Does DIR have to review SOWs for amendments to SOWs for new services?
  32. SB 20 requires agencies to post their SOWs on their website according to DIR rule. Can you elaborate?
  33. Can SOWs be for more than a one-year term? Can we do two- or three-year terms?
  34. For RFOs/RFPs over $10 million that include an SOW and require CATRAD review, how does that work? Does getting CATRAD approval supersede DIR's approval, or vice versa?
  35. Is there a template for SOWs that agencies need to use for things such as T&Cs?
  36. For the customer portal for SOWs, for contract renewals, will there be a place for agencies to list whether or not there are any changes to the SOW, and what those changes are?
  37. What are you looking at in the SOW review process?
  38. Can agencies use the Texas Electronic State Business Daily (ESBD) to publish SOWs to the vendor community, or do we have to submit to six vendors?
  39. For SOW reviews, how do the agencies know the value of the SOW prior to submitting?
  40. What if you suspect the SOW will exceed $50,000, and you had submitted as another value, can the agency retract or modify?
  41. What would be necessary for a project that's already in place, and was expected to be under $50,000 but IT has identified additional scope? What is necessary for the change orders?
  42. SB 20 and the Governor's directive specified putting all no-bid contracts on agency websites. What dollar threshold contracts do we need to post? Currently we're putting everything on there.
  43. Do rules for posting contracts publicly apply to only new contracts, or legacy ones too?
  44. How will confidentiality be protected, and what limitations will be imposed to ensure SOWs are secure?
  45. How will the "consults with agency" process work? CATRAD tells us what they want us to change, and if we disagree, we tell them why.
  46. 46. Are institutions of higher education required to follow the threshold requirements and submit their SOWs to DIR?
  47. 47. Does DIR have 30 days to respond on amendments and change orders? Will there be an expedite process for amendments and change orders?
 

1. Is a state agency required to obtain DIR’s signature on a resulting Purchase Order w​hen using the IT Staffing Services (ITSAC) contracts?

No. SB 20 requires DIR to sign SOWs for defined services. ITSAC contracts utilize a work order solicitation process for hourly rate services.

 

2. For the threshold requirements listed in SB 20, does our agency still have to obtain two quotes from ITSAC vendors (one quote from the TIBH vendor) to fulfill the $50,000 or less requirement when using the best value solicitation process?

Yes. When using the best value solicitation process for ITSAC, a state agency is required to solicit a response from the TIBH ITSAC contract (DIR-SDD-2316) for the selected labor category

3. For the ITSAC competitive solicitation process, is a state agency required to meet the threshold pricing request requirements or will DIR do that?

DIR will solicit responses from all ITSAC contracts for a selected labor category for the ITSAC competitive solicitation process. By this process, all state agencies will have met the pricing request threshold requirements of SB 20.

4. Are “services” considered a “commodity item” as described in SB 20?

Yes. Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 212, defines “Commodity Item” as information technology products and services.

5. Will DIR provide guidance on what SOW information needs to be posted on the DIR website?

Yes. Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 212 provides instructions for state agencies on what information needs to be posted. In addition, DIR will post guidance on its website to assist state agencies.

6. How do we submit our SOW to DIR?

DIR has created a portal for agencies to submit their SOWs electronically and provide information on the project being solicited.  SOW Submissions should be entered through the DIR Portal using "Sign in to My DIR" button located at the top of the DIR homepage. User names and passwords have been distributed to state agencies.  If you did not receive your username/password, please contact your agency Information Resource Manager (IRM).

7. What is the process for getting DIR to approve and sign SOWs for purchases over $50,000?

The process steps for SOW review are as follows:

  1. Agencies will submit draft SOWs to DIR for review before offering SOWs to vendor(s).
  2. DIR will review the SOWs and consult with the agency as necessary to ensure the scope of the SOW is within the scope of the Master Contract being solicited.
  3. DIR will respond via email with comments/findings/determination.
  4. Once approved, the agency will publish the SOW to vendors.
  5. The agency will evaluate Responses and negotiate the final version of the SOW in preparation for award.
  6. The agency and vendor will execute their portions of the final SOW.
  7. The agency will send the signed version of the SOW to DIR for review.
  8. DIR will review the final negotiated SOW to ensure it is still within the original scope and, when so, will execute the SOW and return to the agency.
  9. Once executed, the agency must post the SOW on its website.

8. How long will the review take?

DIR estimates that review of the draft SOW will take no more than thirty (30) business days, provided all information is received. However, best efforts will be made to complete the review period as quickly as possible. Expedited Requests require a letter from the Agency Executive Director, or their designee, and gives DIR three (3) business days for review.

9. How long will it take to get the SOWs signed?

DIR anticipates it will take no longer than three (3) business days to review and approve a final SOW, if the SOW has not changed from the previously reviewed draft submission.

10. Does DIR have to review and sign Support Agreements or Maintenance Agreements?

DIR does not have to sign Support Agreements or Maintenance Agreements if the Agreements are templates attached to a DIR contract.  In accordance with new Texas Government Code 2157.0685 (a) (added by SB 20, Section 16), because the agreements are specified in the DIR Master Contract, no SOW is required.

11. For contracts under $1 million, if an amendment is needed that causes the original PO to exceed $1 million, is the agency required to bid that out?

If the original contract was executed prior to September 1, 2015, then the procurement laws in effect at that time apply. If the original PO was executed after September 1, 2015 and the original PO and the amendment total exceed $1 million, then the amendment cannot be issued through the DIR Cooperative Contracts program and an RFO must be advertised. Amendments should be submitted as a new draft with reference to the unique ID number that was assigned to the originating submission.

12. If our agency issues a contract for $2 million and then later we have an amendment to add $40,000, is that acceptable and within the threshold requirements for SB 20?

Yes. If an agency issued a contract for $2 million prior to September 1, 2015 and later has an amendment for $40,000, then it is acceptable as the procurement laws in effect at that time apply.

13. A customer issued a purchase order for $970,000. After September 1, 2015, they need to execute an amendment for $1 million. Is that allowable?

Yes. If an agency issued a contract prior to September 1, 2015 and later has an amendment, then it is acceptable as the procurement laws in effect at that time apply.

14. What happens if our agency fails to obtain DIR’s signature prior to executing and starting work on an SOW?

DIR should not sign an SOW after work has already started. SB 20 requires DIR to sign the SOW prior to payment being made to the Vendor. A state agency should obtain DIR’s signature prior to work starting in order to avoid any miscommunication with respect to content of the SOW.

15. Are we required to have DIR sign amendments to SOWs after DIR has signed the original SOW?

Yes. DIR will be required to sign the SOW amendment.

16. Are agencies automatically delegated authority (granted exemptions) for IT commodity purchases greater than $1,000,000?

Yes. DIR has updated the blanket exemption language on the DIR website.

17. How does SB 20 affect Deliverables-Based IT Services (DBITS)?

SOWs for DBITS contracts are within scope for the SB 20.

18. How does SB 20 affect purchases that go through the state’s consolidated data center? Do the thresholds or approval processes apply?

SB 20 will apply to all procurements made as a Pass-through expense in the DCS program; however, the SB 20 threshold requirements and SOW review and signature processes do not apply to contracts procured through the DCS program that are signed by the contracted vendors (e.g. Atos, Capgemini and Xerox Corporation).

19. Will there be specific items that DIR will be looking for in an SOW?

DIR will review SOWs to determine if the scope of work aligns with the DIR Master Contract(s) being solicited for responses. DIR will not validate if the scope of work is viable or if funding is available. That is the responsibility of the state agency.

20. For DIR’s training, now added to the Comptroller’s training, does DIR anticipate a cost associated with the training?

DIR does not charge a separate cost for the DIR training that has now been added to the Comptroller’s training; however, DIR may charge for future alternative training courses related to information technology contract negotiations.

21. Would DIR need to review technical services for contracts such as software implementation when there is a DIR contracted hourly rate?

No. These would not be considered SOWs and DIR would not need to review those agreements.

22. Will there be a mechanism for vendors to know that DIR has approved an SOW and payment will not be an issue?

DIR will sign the signature page of approved SOWs and provide it to the customer for their records.

23. Do state agencies have to submit SOWs for Managed Services for Telecommunications through the customer portal?

No. SB 20 requirements only apply to Cooperative Contracts; however, agencies must submit SOWs for Managed Services for Telecommunications directly to the Communication Technology Services division through the existing SOW review process.

24. I have a threshold requirements question. An agency submits an SOW for review. The agency selects only three vendors (but there are more in the category that they could have selected) for DIR to verify against. At the time of DIR's approval of the SOW, all three vendors have active DIR contracts; however, when the agency submits the final SOW, one or more of the contracts is no longer active. What will be the process for resubmission?

SB 20 requires a pricing request from three vendors if the value of the contract is greater than $50,000 but less than $150,000. As long as the selected vendor has an active DIR contract at the time of SOW execution, resubmission is not required.

25. For an IT Staffing Services (ITSAC) vendor that was solicited through the Best Value process and has remaining renewals, can a customer exercise a renewal option for September 1, 2015?

SB 20 only applies to contracts executed on or after September 1, 2015, so a state agency can exercise a renewal option for an IT Staffing Services vendor that was solicited through the competitive solicitation process and has remaining renewals if the original contract/PO was executed prior to September 1, 2015.

26. For an IT Staffing Services (ITSAC) vendor that was solicited through the competitive solicitation process and has remaining renewals, can a customer exercise a renewal option for September 1, 2015?

SB 20 only applies to contracts executed on or after September 1, 2015, so a state agency can exercise a renewal option for an IT Staffing Services vendor that was solicited through the competitive solicitation process and has remaining renewals if the original contract/PO was executed prior to September 1, 2015.

27. A state agency executed a seat management contract (Managed Services for Information Technology) with several renewal options. Each annual renewal is more than $1 million. Will we have to bid out the Request for Offers (RFO) each year to process renewal years?

SB 20 only applies to contracts executed on or after September 1, 2015, so a state agency can exercise a renewal option for a seat management contract that was executed prior to September 1, 2015.  After September 1, 2015, SB 20 requires state agencies to issue a procurement for any IT purchases greater than $1 million. Agencies should consult with their purchasing offices to determine whether it is in their best interest to bid out the contract for each renewal or bid out the contract as a whole.

28. If it is time to re-bid our seat management contract and it is $1 million per year, does this mean that we cannot use the Managed Services for Information Technology contracts and will have to do an RFO?

SB 20 requires state agencies to issue a procurement for any IT purchases greater than $1 million.

29. Will DIR be signing SOWs as a third party to the contract?

No, DIR will not be a third party to the contract. DIR is approving the SOW and stating that the SOW is within the scope of the contract.

30. Do SOWs have to be reviewed by DIR every year during the renewal process?

SB 20 requires agencies to seek DIR approval when entering into an SOW greater than $50,000 executed on or after September 1, 2015. DIR would need to review, approve and sign the SOW renewal. If the SOW was executed prior to September 1, 2015 and has existing renewals the laws in effect at the time the SOW was executed apply and DIR does not need to review the SOW.

31. Does DIR have to review SOWs for amendments to SOWs for new services?

SB 20 requires agencies to seek DIR approval when entering into an SOW greater than $50,000, therefore each year you enter into an SOW, DIR would need to sign, review, and approve that SOW.

32. SB 20 requires agencies to post their SOWs on their websites according to DIR rule. Can you elaborate?

DIR has updated TAC 212 with the following information:

Upon execution of the SOW, each statement of work entered into by the agency will be posted on the agency’s Internet website as follows:

Post the SOW in its entirety, subject to the exceptions in the Texas Public Information Act and opinions of the Office of Attorney General;

Maintain the posting, at a minimum, throughout the term of the SOW, including any renewals or extensions;

Maintain a listing of the SOWs in alphabetical order by vendor name or numerical order by contract number in a central location; and

Maintain a current agency contact person with related email address and phone number to contact for information regarding the SOW.

33. Can SOWs be for more than a one-year term? Can we do two- or three-year terms?

Yes, agencies may enter into an SOW for multiple years.  SB 20 requirements for Cooperative Contracts set monetary thresholds and request SOWs to be reviewed and approved by DIR.  SB 20 does not have term limitations on SOWs; however, if the amount of the SOW is greater than $1M, then the state agency will be required to issue a procurement.

35. Is there a template for SOWs that agencies need to use for things such as T&Cs?

Agencies should continue using current templates for SOWs that are attached to DIR Cooperative Contracts. When using a Cooperative Contract, agencies may supplement DIR’s terms and conditions, but cannot weaken them.

40. What if you suspect the SOW will exceed $50,000, and you had submitted as another value, can the agency retract or modify?

Yes, an agency Super User has the ability to withdraw an SOW once it has been submitted to DIR for review.

42. SB 20 and the Governor's directive specified putting all no-bid contracts on agency websites. What dollar threshold contracts do we need to post? Currently we're putting everything on there.

For SOWs greater than $50,000 issued for DIR contracts, upon execution of the SOW, each statement of work entered into by the agency must be posted on the agency’s website; however, SB 20 includes numerous requirements for posting contracts on an agency’s website. DIR recommends agencies perform a thorough review of SB 20.

43. Do rules for posting contracts publicly apply to only new contracts, or legacy contracts too?

SB 20 requirements apply only to contracts entered into after September 1, 2015.

44. How will confidentiality be protected, and what limitations will be imposed to ensure SOWs are secure?

The SOW portal for submitting SOWs is secure and not open to the public. Agencies are required to post all executed SOWs as part of SB 20, but should be sensitive to confidential information contained in the SOW. DIR considers all final SOWs public information and will release all final SOWs that are requested through a public information request (PIR) in accordance with Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Act.  However, if your agency’s SOW contains any confidential information that is likely excepted from disclosure by law, please refer to the Acknowledgement Instructions provided with the SOW Final Submission and follow those instructions. If DIR receives a PIR for any SOWs marked as confidential, your agency will be notified and DIR will submit the information to the Office of the Attorney General for a determination as to if the information should be disclosed.  Your agency will need to brief the OAG as to any legal justifications for withholding of the information.

45. How will the "consults with agency" process work? CATRAD tells us what they want us to change, and if we disagree, we tell them why.

DIR envisions it working similarly to our current exemption process where there is a back and forth discussion with the agency; however, DIR does not expect there to be flexibility if an agency is using an incorrect contract type for soliciting a service (e.g., soliciting hardware using a DBITS contract), or requesting services that are outside the scope of the DIR contract.

47. Does DIR have 30 days to respond on amendments and change orders? Will there be an expedite process for amendments and change orders?

DIR estimates that review of the draft SOW amendment or change order will take no more than thirty (30) business days, provided all information is received. However, best efforts will be made to complete the review period as quickly as possible. Expedited Requests require a letter from the Agency Executive Director, or their designee, and gives DIR three (3) business days for review.