Proposal would require specific subcontracts be made public

Under a newly proposed rule, contractors would have to report specific subcontract awards to a public database to assess the quality of the reported information, according to a notice in the March 21 Federal Register.

The Civilian Agency Acquisition and Defense Acquisition Regulations councils recommended the rule in the Federal Acquisition Regulation to coincide with requirements in the Federal Financial Accountability and Transparency Act, which was signed into law in 2006.

The Office of Management and Budget is constructing a searchable Web site where the public can inspect the information, and the law requires the pilot program for collecting contract and grant award information. The legislation mandates that the program gauge how well agencies collect subcontracting award data. However, the councils said in the notice that the government has no way to verify the submitted data, nor does it guarantee the information.

The proposed rule applies to contracts of $500 million or more and requires reports on all first-tier subcontractor awards of more than $1 million. The councils chose the thresholds so an adequate number of award reports would be entered into the database without putting a significant burden on contractors during the pilot program. The figures will be posted on FederalSpending.org, OMB's Web site for the financial information, the notice states.

The councils will continue with rulemaking to create the final subcontract reporting database. They anticipate a decrease in the thresholds in the final reporting requirement. It may apply to contracts of more than $100,000, the simplified acquisition threshold, and subcontract awards of more than $25,000, the notice states.

The pilot program will begin as late as July 1 and end no later than Jan. 1, 2009.

The comment period on the proposed rule ends May 21, the notice stated.

Matthew Weigelt is a reporter with Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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