Thursday, August 25, 2011

Representations and Certifications

Every Government contractor has had the experience of making representations and certifications as part of submitting a proposal to the Government. These days, representations and certifications are almost always submitted via the Online Representation and Certification Application (ORCA). The online submission eliminates the administrative burden for contractors of submitting the same information to various contracting offices and it establishes a common source for this information to procurement offices across the Government.

Prospective contractors complete the ORCA in conjunction with required registration in the CCR (Central Contractor Registration) and then update it annually or more often to ensure that they are kept current, accurate, and complete. Representations and certifications are effective until one year from date of submission or date of update.

The number of required representations and certifications is too long to list in this short blog post. However, a sample can be found in FAR 52-204-8. The listing includes such things as small business status, women-owned business, place of performance, affirmative action, bio based product certification, and the list goes on and on.

A recent settlement in a false claims suit announced by the Department of Justice illustrates the importance of ensuring that information submitted into ORCA is current, complete, and accurate. In the case just settled, the contractor falsely claimed that it had used disadvantaged business enterprises (DBE) for part of the work on a light rail transit project in Minnesota as required by the terms of the solicitation. The contractor claimed that materials and services were provided by DBEs when they were provided by non-DBE subcontractors. The DBEs were merely extra participants used to make it appear as if a DBE had performed the work. The contractor and a number of subcontractors agreed to pay the United States $4.6 million to resolve the allegations.

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