Monday, January 24, 2011

FAPIIS Information Set to Go Public

Last April, the Government launched its contractor responsibility database called FAPIIS (Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity System). The purpose of this database is to enhance the government's ability to evaluate the business ethics and quality of prospective contractors competing for Federal contracts. Access has been limited to Government acquisition personnel for use in making responsibility determinations prior to award of a contract. 

The FAPIIS data base tracks five years worth of contractor misconduct and performance data. It includes criminal, civil, and administrative proceedings (input by contractors and prospective contractors through the CCR system), past performance evaluations, records of suspensions and debarments, administrative agreements issued in lieu of suspension or debarment, nonresponsibility determinations, terminations for default, defective pricing determinations, and instances where a contractor's behavior "might" have put its employees in harm's way. Also, cases where procurement officials denied or reduced contractor's award fees because of reckless or negligent behavior must now be disclosed. For contracts above the simplified acquisition threshold (currently $150 thousand), contracting officers must check the FAPIIS data base and document (in writing) its responsibility determination.

On January 24, 2011, the FAR Councils published an interim rule that will make all information in the FAPIIS database, except for past performance data, publicly available on April 15, 2011. The actual wording states that all information posted by contractors, offerors, and the Government after April 15, 2011 will be made publicly available which presumably means that data already in the database will not be made available to the public. There is a 60 day public comment period however since this new regulation is required by statute (section 3010 of the Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2010), don't count on significant revisions.

As expected, Government watchdog groups are enthusiastic about the increased transparency available through this new regulation while contractors and industry groups are not. A PSC (Professional Services Council) representative stated that "Making this data public opens the door to all kinds of misperceptions, misunderstandings and even mischief.” The Government is aware of these concerns and is emphasizing the importance of ensuring the integrity of the data base, cautioning procurement officials to redact company proprietary data, avoid information related to pending litigation, and give "thought and consideration" to the information they enter.

If you would like more information on FAPIIS, watch this short Federal Acquisition Institute trailer.

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