When President Obama signed this year’s supplemental appropriations bill, he delivered a big win for the good government community, as a little known transparency amendment attached to the bill became law. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), will require the General Services Administration (GSA) to make most of the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) publically available.
To refresh your memory, FAPIIS is the government’s recently created "one-stop shop" for contractor performance data, compiling information from the many disparate performance databases scattered throughout the federal government.
Now, the public will have access to information on a contractor’s past performance, specifically if the government has slapped them with any penalties, including non-responsibility determinations, terminations for default, administrative agreements over suspension or debarment, and criminal and civil proceedings.
Unfortunately, past performance reviews – which are similar to report cards that contracting officers (CO) fill out on a contractor’s performance of a past contract – will not be available. To gain enough support for the amendment, Sanders excluded past performance reviews from disclosure, a huge loss to be sure.
In the bigger scheme, though, FAPIIS becoming public is important. The public has the right to see the past performance of contractors, and can better hold both the government and contractors accountable through access to the data. Moreover, the amendment lays the groundwork for future reforms, which should include making past performance reviews publically available.
Now, the looming question is how long will it take GSA to implement the new law. Making FAPIIS public may take some time and the amendment did not specify a timetable or deadline for the agency to meet. Stay tuned to find out.