Contractor “Naughty List” to be Public Information

The Federal Administrative Court of Germany

Image by solidether via Flickr

The federal database of contractor integrity information is about to go public.  According to Federal News Radio, the database containing contractor criminal activities, canceled contracts, defaults, etc. was previously only accessible to the government.  That is about to change as vendor information will be open to anyone with an internet connection.  What will this mean for contractors and the contracting process?

Good question.  On one hand, federal contracting officers are required to look at this database before making an award.  Contractors fear past bad experiences will haunt them for years to come, despite the fact that responsibility for the negative result is sometimes shared with the purchasing agency.  On the other hand, the information is self-reported by the contractor.  Failing to report negative events or leaving out details might theoretically result in the suspension of a contractor, but  there is little or no real policing of this performance data.

Rob Burton, former deputy administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said in the article, “That’s the bottom line. It’s really not [enforceable]. So much of our federal procurement system is based on self-certification. We rely on the contractors to tell us, because it’s just such a big system that there’s really no way for the government to find out.”

In the end, business reputation is critical to long-term success–database or not.  Sure, shoddy work can be swept under the rug for a while in a large procurement system like the Federal government’s.  However, it will catch up with you.  Focus on selling and delivering strong value and you won’t have to worry about the negative results of being listed in a database like this.


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