Acquisition councils rule on contacts with debarred companies

Agencies must limit contractual connections with companies that have been debarred, suspended or proposed for debarment from federal business, a Federal Register notice said today.

The civilian and Defense acquisition councils released a final rule instructing agencies not to place an order with a company falling into one of the three categories if the order exceeds the guaranteed minimum under an indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contract.

Agencies also are prohibited from buying goods or services from such vendors through the General Services Administration's Federal Supply Service schedules or by exercising contract options.

The rule was one of three final rules the councils released to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

The debarment rule comes more than a year after the councils proposed it and on the heels of GSA's proposed 2003 debarments of several companies, including MCI WorldCom and Sprint Corp.

The councils also issued a final rule instructing agencies how to debrief losing vendors in competitive acquisitions. They had proposed the rule Feb. 4.

Under the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994, agencies were allowed to give unsuccessful bidders a post-award debriefing about why they lost.

The final rule outlines what agencies should disclose during such discussions:

  • Significant weak or deficient factors in a vendor's offer

  • The cost and technical ratings of successful and unsuccessful bidders

  • Past performance of the losing vendor

  • The overall ranking of all bidders

  • A summary of the rationale for award

  • For commercial items, the make and model of the item to be supplied by the successful bidder.

  • The third final rule changes the FAR to incorporate the new capabilities of the revamped Federal Procurement Data System?Next Generation.

    The new system, which GSA launched Oct. 1, lets agencies enter all transactions between $2,500 and $25,000 as individual or summary actions. The rule sets a Sept. 30, 2004, deadline for agencies to enter these actions as individual reports.

    The councils also are requiring agencies to enter bidders' Dun and Bradstreet Data Universal Numbering Systems numbers for awards of more than $2,500.

    Jason Miller writes for Government Computer News

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