On July 31, 2018, the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee delivered its annual report to Congress on the status of the suspension and debarment system. The report shows a continued high level of activity relative to the last decade and serves as a reminder that exclusion from the federal marketplace continues to be a risk for contractors that do not “cut square corners” with the government.
The FY2017 report shows a modest decrease in the number of suspensions, proposed debarments, and debarments from the last fiscal year, a trend that has continued since the high-water mark set in FY2014.
But it also notes that the number of exclusions in FY17, over 3,000, are almost double those reported when the Committee first began formally tracking the data in FY09, approximately 1,800.
The decline in the total number of suspensions, debarments, and proposed debarments should not be viewed as an indication that suspension and debarment officials (SDOs) across the government are not vigilant or that they are not taking appropriate action when unethical individuals or contractors pose a threat to the public interest. Rather, it is likely that growing proactive engagement by contractors with SDOs even in the absence of lapses has decreased the need to suspend or debar contractors when problems do occur by ensuring that SDOs understand those companies’ commitment to ethics and compliance and that appropriate remedial actions are taken promptly where there is cause to question whether a company should be permitted to continue contracting with the government.
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