GSA proposes putting fed contracts online

The General Services Administration today asked for public comments on a pilot project that will put federal contracts on the Web.

GSA's Integrated Acquisition Environment program office is conducting the pilot. The office is responsible for improving federal acquisition processes through a technology-based, integrated infrastructure.

Comments are due by Aug. 5 at Notice.2003-N01@gsa.gov, according to the Federal Register.

Some information about contracts is available on the Federal Procurement Data System Web site, which contains information about government contract awards; and on FedBizOpps, a Web site that provides notices, solicitations and related information that vendors need to bid on and negotiate contracts with agencies. However, federal contracts are not routinely posted on the Web.

According to GSA's Federal Register statement, some public interest groups asked that agencies put their contracts online in order to improve weak contacting practices and reduce repetitive requests under the Freedom of Information Act for contracts that are of public interest.

The pilot will be responsive to taxpayer interests and reasonable in cost and burden on the government, according to GSA. It may be expanded to include grants. Proprietary information in a contracts covered by the pilot would be redacted before posting, GSA said.

GSA specifically asked for comments on:

* Parameters of the pilot ? for example, should GSA consider the size or type of contract, amount of competition sought, product or service purchased, awards related to specific federal programs or length of time contracts should be available after they have been posted.

* Guidance needed to ensure posting is consistent with applicable laws and regulations ? for example, is guidance needed on the redaction of proprietary information, identification of contracts whose disclosure would compromise national security or the application of the Freedom of Information Act generally.

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