Tech Tool to Save Taxpayers’ Money
Posted byon March 24, 2010 at 10:33 AM EST
As regular readers of this blog know, I am an avid believer in the power of data. Evidence-based decisions drive a lot of what we do at OMB, from budget decisions to regulatory review.
Up until now, federal agencies have had very uneven access to information about how well a potential contractor had performed on prior contracts. On top of that, agencies have had limited insight into a contractor’s business ethics — on matters as basic as whether the contractor has had a criminal conviction or been found liable in a civil or administrative proceeding, such as for violation of employment laws, tax laws, anti-trust laws, and the like. That lack of data severely limited agencies’ to make informed decisions before agreeing to a new contract. As the government spends more than $500 billion annually on contracted goods and services, we have an obligation to the American taxpayer to do business with companies that will place a premium on performance and quality, and not do business with firms profiting in spite of a history of shoddy service or illegal behavior.
Thanks to an idea sponsored by Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, today we’re launching the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) to break down these barriers to information and increase the integrity of the federal procurement process. The President previewed the database earlier this month in Missouri, explaining that "[W]e’ll be able to see, before any new contract is awarded, whether a company plays by the rules, how well they’ve performed in the past."
Through FAPIIS, we will reduce the chances that the government does business with underperforming contractors, which will, in turn, decrease inefficiency and waste of taxpayer resources. The database allows agencies to obtain a comprehensive range of data, such as information on debarments and suspensions, agency assessments of contractor past performance, contract terminations, and contractor self-reporting of criminal, civil, and administrative actions. Federal contracting officials will be required to review FAPIIS before making awards above the "simplified acquisition threshold," currently $100,000, to protect American taxpayers from the waste and abuse of contractors who are proven bad actors.
With new tools like FAPIIS, additional resources, and an increased priority on oversight and accountability, we are cutting waste and working to giving the American people the effective and efficient government they deserve.
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