Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Government Contractor Suspensions and Debarments on the Decline

The Inter-agency Suspension and Debarment Committee (ISDC) recently issued its annual report summarizing agencys' suspension and debarment activities from fiscal year 2015. The purpose of the ISDC is to help agencies build and maintain the expertise necessary to consider suspension and debarment as necessary to protect contract and program integrity. The annual report is mandated by the 2009 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

From 2009, when the ISDC began collecting suspension and debarment data until 2014, the number of suspensions and debarments increased. In fiscal year 2015, however, the data shows slight reductions in suspensions and debarments.

Is this a positive trend or are agencies becoming lax in maintaining systems to flag incidents of improper business conduct? The report doesn't provide such analysis. However, the committee reported that the use of administrative agreements increased by 25 percent from 2014 to 2015. This, the report suggests, results from an emphasis on the use of proactive engagement tools, such as pre-notice engagement letters, which give contractors an opportunity to discuss the steps they are taking to address issues, that, if left unremediated, would likely result in suspension and/or debarment.

The agency with the most suspensions and debarments, unsurprisingly since they issue the most contracts, is the Defense Department. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Homeland Security (DHS) come in second and third, respectively. Four agencies didn't issue any suspensions or debarments in fiscal year 2015; Labor, National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, Nuclear Regulatory Commission, and Social Security.

You can read the entire committee report here.

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