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Federal Acquisition Regulation Amendment Encourages Government-Industry Communication

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U.S. government acquisition personnel may engage in communications with industry representatives as long as they do not violate laws against unfair competition, according to the amended Federal Acquisition Regulation.

In a notice on Federal Register, the Department of Defense, NASA and the General Services Administration jointly modified FAR policy to encourage constructive government-industry exchanges and improve communication between the two sectors.

The rule, which takes effect on Dec. 30, was initially proposed by the agencies in 2016. They called on the FAR Council to establish a clear provision that allows government officials to communicate with contractors as long as they are “responsible,” “meaningful,” “constructive” and within the limits of acquisition laws. The interactions do not necessarily have to be for market research or procurements.

To make solicitation engagements more productive, the rule encourages agencies to host more meetings with potential vendors and use interactive web-based technology. DOD, NASA and GSA also agreed that post-award exchanges will help minimize contract disputes, clarify roles and responsibilities, and provide opportunities for course correction.

The final rule is implemented under the National Defense Authorization Act and was reviewed by the Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council.