Final FAPIIS Rule Adds Protection for Contractors
February 1, 2012
The final regulations implementing the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) has now been issued. FAPIIS is a database that contains a variety of information about government contractors, all of it available to the public with the exception of past performance reviews. FAPIIS has been in use since March 2010 based on an interim set of regulations.
The final regulations, issued on January 3, 2012, added an important safeguard for contractors. Industry has expressed concerns that information that would normally qualify for an exemption from public release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would be available to the public once it was added to FAPIIS. The final regulations addressed that concern. Henceforth, any information added to FAPIIS by Contracting Officers will be subject to a 14 delay prior to becoming available to the general public. The contractor will be notified when information concerning their firm has been added to FAPIIS. The contractor will have 7 days to object to the inclusion of that information if they believe it is exempt from public release based on one of the FOIA exemptions. The Contracting Office then has 7 days to remove the information from FAPIIS and the FOIA objection will then be addressed in accordance with the agency’s normal FOIA procedures.
The opportunity presented by the new 14-day delay rule makes it that much more important for contractors to monitor what is being said about them on FAPISS. All contractors should establish procedures to ensure that:
- FAPIIS is reviewed as required and timely objections are filed to the inclusion of information that may qualify for a FOIA exemption
- The required semi-annual contractor updates to FAPISS are made
- Contractor comments are added to fully explain the context of any potentially adverse information
- Contractor personnel (especially business development and sales personnel) are aware of the information in FAPIIS that may reflect poorly on the contractor
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