By Emily Long – 03/01/10
The General Services Administration is looking for feedback on its federal contractor performance database, according to a notice published on Monday in the Federal Register.
GSA is soliciting comments on the necessity of the data gathered in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information Systems to the acquisition process. The agency also is looking for ideas to improve data quality and for ways to minimize the reporting burden through information technology.
The system, known as FAPIIS, will collect data on criminal, civil or administrative proceedings against contractors and grant recipients. All companies with contracts or grants exceeding $10 million will be required to submit information to the database, which was mandated by a provision in the 2009 Defense Authorization Act.
Federal contracting officers will be expected to check the database when making a responsibility determination or conducting a past performance evaluation for all new contracts worth more than $500,000.
Stan Soloway, president and chief executive officer of the Professional Services Council, said a potential problem with the system is the scope and diversity of the information required could make it difficult for someone not trained in law to determine the severity and patterns of abuse.
“How do we avoid penalizing those whose errors are administrative rather than defrauding? Companies will have to pay close attention to the information entered,” he said.
The database hasn’t yet been created, said Gary Therkildsen, federal fiscal policy analyst at the nonprofit OMBWatch. Monday’s notice asks for comments to fine-tune some of the system’s details, which indicates GSA is coming to the end of the process, he added.
GSA estimates that of the 12,000 to 14,000 contracts worth more than $500,000 annually, 5,000 recipients will be required to submit information to the database. Contractors will be required to update FAPIIS on a semiannual basis. Including time required for record-keeping, the agency has calculated a total reporting burden at 505,000 hours.
The request for comments ends March 31, 2010.
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