Proposed FAR Rule to Permit and Encourage Effective Communication Between Government and Industry

On November 29, 2016, the Federal Acquisition Regulation
(FAR) Council issued a proposed rule to carry out the requirements of Section
887 of the National Defense Authorization Act and make clear that “agency
acquisition personnel are permitted and encouraged to engage in responsible and
constructive exchanges with industry, so long as those exchanges are consistent
with existing law and regulation and do not promote an unfair competitive
advantage to particular firms.”  81 Fed.
Reg.  85914. 

In issuing the proposed rule, the FAR Council is seeking
comments on the parameters for such exchanges – which phases of the federal
acquisition process would benefit from more exchanges, which currently pose
barriers to effective communication, and whether greater discussions with
offerors would benefit competition in high dollar acquisitions.  As members of the public you can submit
comments on this proposed rule and the questions posed by the FAR Council;
comments are due on or before January 30, 2017.

TAKEAWAYS:

  • While the proposed rule encourages exchanges
    between government and industry, there are statutory and regulatory provisions
    that limit when and under what circumstances you can engage in communications
    with government personnel about government contracting matters.
  • There also are rules that prohibit you, during
    the conduct of a Federal procurement, from seeking, using or disclosing certain
    information that would be considered procurement sensitive.
  • It is important to know these rules before you attempt
    to communicate with the Government and other Industry members during the
    conduct of a Federal procurement.

 
If
you have questions about the Federal government contracting rules on the communications
and information exchanges, including questions about how to properly raise
concerns regarding a particular procurement, contact Susan Ebner or your FS
counsel.