Feds want more detailed info on contractors' time, costs

Rules would help agencies better manage the incoming information.

Federal officials continue their efforts to draw a clearer picture of the government’s blended workforce from reports on company services based on type of contract and dollar value, a revised proposed rule issued May 2 reveals.

Officials have proposed more detailed reporting requirements from contractors that have cost-reimbursement and time-and-materials services contracts — the riskiest types compared with contracts with a set price, according to an addition to the proposed rule initially issued April 20.

If a company has a cost-reimbursement or a T-and-M services contract, it would have to report its hours of work as low as the $150,000 simplified acquisition threshold, which allows agencies to make purchases without the lengthy formal procedures of purchasing.

Read the initial proposal.

Read the addition to the proposal.

For contracts with a set price, contractors would have to report their work based on a phased-in approach laid out in President Barack Obama’s fiscal 2011 budget. Requirements would be set at $5 million in fiscal 2011 and then declining steadily to $500,000 in fiscal 2014, according to the revised notice. The expected result is that agencies would be able to better manage the incoming information.

Companies with the riskier types of contracts have historically tracked information on their work hours to invoice the government, but under the new proposal they would be required also to report that information to the agency.

For indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity contracts that issue task and delivery orders, the reporting threshold would be based on the dollar amount and the type of orders.

Officials want four pieces of information for each report:

  • The contract number.
  • The total dollar amount invoiced for services performed during the previous fiscal year under the contract.
  • The number of contractor direct labor hours used on the services during the previous year.
  • Data reported by subcontractors, which includes subcontract number and amount of labor hours invoiced by a first-tier subcontractor.

Acquisition regulators are proposing the changes based on the fiscal 2010 Consolidated Appropriations Act. Congress included the reports because of “the absence of complete and reliable information” on the number of contractors doing services work compared to federal employees doing the same.

“Federal agencies are not well equipped to determine whether they have the right balance of contractor and in-house resources to accomplish their missions,” lawmakers wrote in a report accompanying the appropriations law.

The law delves deeply into each services contract to get clearer information that includes:

  • A description of the services and the role the services played in achieving objectives.
  • The agency’s office administering contract and the office using the services.
  • The total dollar amount obligated for the services.
  • The total dollar amount invoiced.
  • The contract type and date of award.
  • The name of the contractor and place of performance.
  • The number and work location of contractor and subcontractor employees.
  • Whether the contract is a personal services contract.
  • Whether the contract was awarded on a noncompetitive basis, regardless of the date of the award.

The information would be added into a new Service Contract Reporting Portal, which is being developed. The information would also be available to the public.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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