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Federal Acquisition Regulation; Debriefing-Competitive Acquisition

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Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

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AGENCIES:

Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION:

Final rule.

SUMMARY:

The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have agreed on a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to implement sections 1014 and 1064 of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 on requirements for debriefing unsuccessful offerors under competitive proposals.

DATES:

Effective Date: January 12, 2004.

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FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

The FAR Secretariat, at (202) 501-4755, for information pertaining to status or publication schedules. For clarification of content, contact Ms. Julia Wise, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 208-1168. Please cite FAC 2001-18, FAR case 2002-014.

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SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

A. Background

This rule amends the FAR to include requirements for debriefing unsuccessful offerors under competitive proposals, as required by sections 1014 and 1064 of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 which amended 10 U.S.C. 2305(b) and 41 U.S.C. 253b, respectively. Specifically, 10 U.S.C. 2305(b)(5)(D) and 41 U.S.C. 253b(e)(4) require each solicitation for competitive proposals to include a statement that prescribes minimal information that shall be disclosed in postaward debriefings. Some of the requirements were already incorporated into the clause at FAR 52.215-1, Instructions to Offerors—Competitive Acquisitions, but the notification for debriefings was overlooked during the drafting of the clause at 52.212-1, Instruction to Offerors—Commercial Items. This rule amends FAR 52.212-1 and 52.215-1 to implement the statutory requirements, and the past performance debriefing requirement at FAR 15.506(d)(2), by listing all the prescribed minimal information that shall be disclosed in postaward debriefings.

DoD, GSA, and NASA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 68 FR 5778, February 4, 2003. Two respondents submitted public comments. The Councils considered the comments before agreeing to publish the proposed rule as final without change. A summary of the comments and their disposition follows:

Comment: The revised FAR clauses should include a debriefing requirement to reveal the number of “points” an offeror received under the evaluation of its past performance.

Response: The Councils do not concur. The clauses, as revised by this final rule, establish a clear requirement for agencies to provide the results of its evaluation of an offeror's past performance. However, agencies successfully use different methods (e.g., adjectival, color coding, and point scoring) to evaluate proposals. Specifying a particular method would limit agency discretion with no apparent associated benefit.

Comment: The revised FAR clauses should include a debriefing requirement to reveal the sources, other than the offeror, of any past performance information received.

Response: The Councils do not concur. FAR 15.506(e) prohibits the identification of individuals providing reference information about an offeror's past performance.

Comment: The rule should be revised to address the requirement to release unit price information clearly and consistently within the FAR.

Response: The Councils appreciate that, as a result of recent court cases, especially MCI WorldCom v. GSA, 163 F. Supp. 2d 28, the treatment of unit prices under exemption no. 4 of the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552(b)(4)) is in a state of flux which may Start Printed Page 69258ultimately require that FAR 15.503(b)(1)(iv) addressing the release of unit prices be clarified. The Councils will continue to evaluate this issue and will consider whether a case needs to be opened to address this issue.

This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

The Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the rule primarily clarifies language pertaining to disclosure of information in post-award debriefings currently authorized by statute and does not change existing policy.

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

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List of Subjects in 48 CFR Part 52

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Dated: December 4, 2003.

Laura Auletta,

Director, Acquisition Policy Division.

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Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA amend

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PART 52—SOLICITATIONS PROVISIONS AND CONTRACT CLAUSES

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1. The authority citation for

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Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 U.S.C. 2473(c).

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2. Amend section 52.212-1 by revising the date of the provision; and adding paragraph (l) to read as follows:

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Instructions to Offerors—Commercial Items.
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Instructions to Offerors—Commercial Items (JAN 2004)

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(l) Debriefing. If a post-award debriefing is given to requesting offerors, the Government shall disclose the following information, if applicable:

(1) The agency's evaluation of the significant weak or deficient factors in the debriefed offeror's offer.

(2) The overall evaluated cost or price and technical rating of the successful and the debriefed offeror and past performance information on the debriefed offeror.

(3) The overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during source selection.

(4) A summary of the rationale for award;

(5) For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful offeror.

(6) Reasonable responses to relevant questions posed by the debriefed offeror as to whether source-selection procedures set forth in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed by the agency.

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3. Amend section 52.215-1 by revising the date of the provision and paragraph (f)(11) to read as follows:

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Instructions to Offerors—Competitive Acquisition.
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Instructions to Offerors—Competitive Acquisition (Jan 2004)

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(f) * * *

(11) If a post-award debriefing is given to requesting offerors, the Government shall disclose the following information, if applicable:

(i) The agency's evaluation of the significant weak or deficient factors in the debriefed offeror's offer.

(ii) The overall evaluated cost or price and technical rating of the successful and the debriefed offeror and past performance information on the debriefed offeror.

(iii) The overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during source selection.

(iv) A summary of the rationale for award.

(v) For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful offeror.

(vi) Reasonable responses to relevant questions posed by the debriefed offeror as to whether source-selection procedures set forth in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed by the agency.

(End of provision)

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[FR Doc. 03-30478 Filed 12-10-03; 8:45 am]

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