It is important for vendors to know if a contract has been awarded to them or not. The sooner the vendors are informed of this decision, the better for all involved parties. The winning bidder can prepare for commencement of the contract meanwhile the other vendors can shift their resources to pursue other business opportunities. “Preaward notices are required by FAR 15.503(a), and postaward notices are required by 41 USC 253b(c) and 10 USC 2305(b)(5), as implemented in FAR 15.503(b) (Notification to Unsuccessful Offerors).” (Compton, 2010). The requirements for announcing federal contract awards vary depending on the method of contracting.
FAR states that when purchasing commercial items or when using the sealed bidding method of contracting, federal agencies are not required to deliver neither pre-award nor post-award notifications or debriefings to non-winning bidders. Under the negotiated method (contracting by negotiation), government agencies must comply with FAR 15.505(c) to notify and debrief successful and unsuccessful bidders in writing, orally or acceptable method to the contracting officer Post-award notices provide bidders with the reason why a contract was not awarded to them and must include the following: number of vendors competing and amount of received proposals, a brief explanation why the contract was not awarded to them, name and address of the winning bidder, amount of the awarded contract, and a brief explanation of why the vendor was carefully chosen. Unsuccessful vendors can request a debriefing if the request is submitted on time. If the contracting officer believes that a debriefing is not suitable for the government, the contracting officer can decline the request Notifying Congress of a contract award is not a requirement by FAR, but agencies notify Congress when the contract pertains to their district It is not a requirement for the Department of Defense (DOD) to notify Congress about contractual awards under $750,000.
Although, to maintain transparency and to keep constituent’s trust it would be wise to revisit the limited notifications from the DOD. According to a report released by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the DOD issued Instruction 770.
18, which discusses the lack of award notifications within privately financed projects, or those projects less than $750,000. The GAO has found some discrepancies on how the DOD reports to the Congress and has made some recommendations. This GAO report concluded with three recommendations detailed below: