Federal agencies that issue contracts without putting them up for competition now must publicly justify their decisions.
In a final rule published Wednesday in the Federal Register, the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council modified the Federal Acquisition Regulation to require officials to post documents on their agency websites explaining any lack of competition.
The “justification and approval” documents also must be made available on an as-yet-undetermined governmentwide website no later than 14 days after a contract is awarded, and must remain on the site for at least 30 days. In the case of noncompetitive contracts awarded on the basis of “unusual and compelling urgency,” the documents must be posted within 30 days of contract award.
The rule, which implements a provision in the 2008 National Defense Authorization Act, does not apply to contracts or documents that would create a security risk for an agency.
The councils also adopted a series of other FAR rule changes, including:
- Mandating that contracting officials conduct market research before issuing an indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity task or delivery order for non-commercial items above the $100,000 simplified acquisition threshold.
- Implementing the Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System to fulfill small business reporting requirements.
- Prohibiting non-federal employers from firing, demoting or discriminating against an employee as a form of reprisal for disclosing information to the government regarding a contract. The rule applies to state and local government and contractor whistleblowers.
- Giving the Government Accountability Office and agency inspectors general access to contractor and subcontractor records related to Recovery Act funds. Contractor employees also would be subject to interviews by the watchdogs.
— By Robert Brodsky – Fedexec.com – June 16, 2010