Can contract info be safely published online?
Goal is to promote efficiency, accountability and transparency in the contracting process
- By Alice Lipowicz
- May 13, 2010
Anticipating that federal contract actions may eventually have to be posted online, the General Services Administration and federal acquisition councils are seeking advice from the public and affected businesses on how best to achieve that goal.
GSA and civilian and defense acquisition councils today released an advance notice of proposed rule-making that will be published in the Federal Register on May 13. The councils are seeking assistance on how to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to enable the public posting of contract actions.
The goal is to promote efficiency, accountability and transparency in the contracting process, the notice said. At the same time, the councils said they intend to conform to statutory and regulatory prohibitions against disclosing protected information belonging to the government or contractors.
Written comments are due within 60 days.
According to the notice, the aim is to simplify public access to contracting information through “uniform, consistent processing methods that are fair and equitable as well as cost effective and efficient.”
Also, federal classified information must be managed according to the national security protocols. The councils are interested in methods to identify the types of information that should not be posted or released to the public, the notice said. Provisions for redacted copies of contracts also may be developed.
The public is encouraged to comment on the benefits of public postings, as well as on possible impacts to government and contractor business systems, including the cost of proposal preparation.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.