Contractor database to go public by year's end

GSA officials says regulations are progressing to open the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System

The database that holds details about federal contractors and their performance records will likely open to the public by the end of the year, a General Services Administration official said this week.

The fiscal 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act, which became law July 29, opens the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) to the public, but officials still must approve regulations regarding an open version of the database, said Sara Merriam, GSA press secretary. The database is currently only open to government officials.

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On Aug. 9, the defense and civilian acquisition regulatory councils opened a Federal Acquisition Regulation case on making the database public. The language of the interim rule is still being processed by the councils, according to a list of open FAR cases.

There is no specific date as to when the regulators will release the interim rule for public review, Merriam said.

She said an open FAPIIS meets the Obama administration’s goal of transparency and collaboration throughout the government, including acquisition. Since the information currently exists for contracting officers to help with making procurement decisions, the government should leverage that information for a broader audience, she said.

The database contains specific information on federal contractors and grantees’ reliability and their history of work with the government. It stores data from numerous existing federal databases as well as information such as work reviews from agencies.

FAPIIS is intended to increase the amount of information available to contracting officers can use as they evaluate companies competing for contracts. So far, FAPIIS has been opened only to contacting officers and chairmen and ranking members of congressional committees. Once opened, officials can block only contractors’ past performance reviews.

The move to open the database has roused passions both sides of the issue. Watchdog groups have said an open FAPIIS will help with oversight, but business groups have said the information could smear companies' reputations, especially with mistakes in the data.

About the Author

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

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