Contractors will need to be proactive to prevent potentially harmful information from becoming public. (FAPIIS)

A recent final rule in the Federal Register (FAR Case 2010-016) regarding Public Access to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information could have a significant impact on federal contractors.

The final rule implements section 3010 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2010 (Pub. L. 111-212), enacted July 29, 2010. The legislation requires that information in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) to be made publicly available. However past performance reviews are excluded from public release.

Contractors have the right to review the information before it becomes public by convincing the Government that the information qualifies as exempt from FOIA disclosure. As the government strives for more transparency and accountability, the purpose of FAPIIS is to provide a one-stop shop for contracting officers to review information about contractors’ business ethics, integrity, and performance. Information such as a Contracting Officer’s final determinations will be posted on FAPIIS including but not limited to: Default; Defective cost or pricing data, Being listed in the Excluded Parties Listing System, and Non-responsibility determinations.

Contractors will receive notification when new information is posted to the Contractor’s record. Contractors have 7 calendar days to provide written assertion that the FOIA disclosure exemption applies. Government officials have 7 calendar days to resolve the issue in accordance with agency FOIA procedures.

The burden will be on contractors to continuously monitor FAPIIS to determine if pending information releases could potentially harm them (e.g. release of proprietary and confidential information).

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Raul Espinosa

I agree and I will add a caveat. FAPIIS was a great idea conceived by POGO. Let me share another great idea which is being championed by the Fairness in Procurement Alliance (FPA) and its Umbrella Initiative Think Tank. What’s most needed and wanted – to bring transparency to government procurement – is a public database maintained by the private sector, which would report – in similar fashion than FAPIIS – on abusive contracting practices, especially against small businesses. The subject of ‘unfair justifications’ is causing havoc in small business circles as noted on this procurement advisory, http://bit.ly/Unfair_Justifications and there is a great need to create consequences for the acquisition units which are responsible for the barriers as noted on this OP-ED, http://bit.ly/Transparency_and_Consequenses_Needed. The road to fairness in contracting is a two way street! Get involved and make a difference!!

Jaime Gracia

In the spirit of transparency, I think this new rule misses the mark, in that the public should be able to see the past performance of contractors. It would be an important milestone to see how contractors are performing, and the quality of how taxpayer funds are being spent. No intellectual property, or proprietary information, will be shared in reporting performance. If contractors perform poorly, then the public should have the right to see that and demand action.

Successful lobbying efforts by industry have prevented this disclosure.

Ron Falcone

Regarding a prviate sector database; the governance structure could be a challange. Some would argue that a DB mantained by the private sector has the potential for bias. Do you envision a wiki-like DB?