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Notice

Agency Information Collection Activities: Homeland Security Acquisition; Regulation (HSAR) Regulation on Agency Protests

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Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

ACTION:

30-Day notice and request for comments; extension without change of a currently approved collection, 1600-0004.

SUMMARY:

The Department of Homeland Security, will submit the following Information Collection Request (ICR) to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review and clearance in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DHS previously published this information collection request (ICR) in the Federal Register on Monday, November 16, 2020 for a 60-day public comment period. No comment was received by DHS. The purpose of this notice is to allow additional 30-days for public comments.

DATES:

Comments are encouraged and will be accepted until May 12, 2021. This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.1.

ADDRESSES:

Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to www.reginfo.gov/​public/​do/​PRAMain. Find this particular information collection by selecting “Currently under 30-day Review—Open for Public Comments” or by using the search function.

End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and 48 CFR Chapter 1 provide general procedures on handling protests submitted by contractors to Federal agencies. FAR Part 33.103, Protests, Disputes and Appeals, prescribes policies and procedures for filing protests and for processing contract disputes and appeals. While the FAR prescribes the procedures to be followed for protests to the agency, it allows agencies to determine the method of receipt. DHS will utilize electronic mediums (email or facsimile) for collection of information and will not prescribe a format or require more information than what is already required in the FAR. If DHS determines there is a need to collect additional information outside of what is required in the FAR, DHS will submit a request to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for approval.

The prior information collection request for OMB No. 1600-0004 was approved through November 30, 2021 by OMB in a Notice of OMB Action. This justification supports a request for an extension of the approval.

The information being collected will be obtained from contractors as part of their submissions whenever they file a bid protest with DHS. The information will be used by DHS officials in deciding how the protest should be resolved. Failure to collect this information would result in delayed resolution of protests.

Agency protest information is contained in each individual solicitation document, and provides the specified contracting officer's name, email, and mailing address that the contractors would use to submit its response. The FAR does not specify the format in which the contractor should submit protest information. However, most contractors use computers to prepare protest materials and submit time sensitive responses electronically (email or facsimile) to the specified Government point of contact. Since the responses must meet specific timeframes, a centralized mailbox or website would not be a practical method of submission. Submission of protest information through contracting officers' email or through facsimile are the best methods to use to document receipt of protest information, and are Start Printed Page 19004the methods most commonly used in the Government protest process.

This information collection may involve small business contractors, depending on the particular transaction. The burden applied to small businesses is minimal and consistent with the goals of achieving timely resolution of agency protests. This information is collected only when contractors choose to file a protest. The information is requested from contractors so that the Government will be able to evaluate protests effectively and provide prompt resolution of issues in dispute when contractors file agency level claims.

DHS/ALL/PIA-006 General Contact Lists covers the basic contact information that must be collected for DHS to address these protests. The other information collected will typically pertain to the contract itself, and not individuals. However, all information for this information collection is submitted voluntarily. Technically, because this information is not retrieved by personal identifier, no SORN is required. However, DHS/ALL-021 DHS Contractors and Consultants provides coverage for the collection of records on DHS contractors and consultants, to include resume and qualifying employment information. There is no assurance of confidentiality provided to the respondents.

The burden estimates provided are based upon reports of protest activities submitted to the GAO or the Court of Federal Claims in Fiscal Year 2019. No program changes have occurred or changes to the information being collected, however, the burden was adjusted to reflect an agency adjustment decrease of 6 respondents within DHS for Fiscal Year 2019, as well as an increase in the average hourly wage rate.

The Office of Management and Budget is particularly interested in comments which:

1. Evaluate whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility;

2. Evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used;

3. Enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and

4. Minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are to respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submissions of responses.

Analysis

Agency: Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Title: Homeland Security Acquisition Regulation (HSAR) Regulation on Agency Protests.

OMB Number: 1600-0004.

Frequency: On occasion.

Affected Public: Private Sector.

Number of Respondents: 93.

Estimated Time per Respondent: 2 hours.

Total Burden Hours: 186.

Start Signature

Robert Dorr,

Acting Executive Director, Business Management Directorate.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. 2021-07371 Filed 4-9-21; 8:45 am]

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