Agencies rely on contractor tool to spot procurement errors

Does federal contract award data need a few good proofreaders?

According to Jeff Sopko, executive vice president of the Alexandria, Va.-based PotomacWave consulting firm, about 20 percent to 30 percent of records in the government’s procurement database contain errors. “They stem from frequent changes in policy and procedures that take time to be implemented in source contract writing, as well as human errors,” he said. “The errors get pushed from the contract writing system to [the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation] with few validation checks.”


To address that problem, PotomacWave in 2012 created a software tool called FedDataCheck.

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Commerce Dept. not accurately reporting contracting data to FPDS-NG database

The Commerce Department isn’t accurately reporting contracting data to the federal government’s main procurement database, says a recent Commerce inspector general report.

Commerce Dept.The IG originally initiated the investigation to determine whether contracting officials effectively managed undefinitized actions, or a contract for which the terms, specifications or price are not agreed upon before the work is started. Undefinitized actions are only meant to be used to meet an urgent requirement, the report says.

But because NOAA and NIST incorrectly coded some of their contract actions as undefinitized in the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation, or FPDS-NG, the IG redirected the investigation to see how much of the reported data is accurate.

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Feds buy back USASpending website after contractor bankruptcy

The government procured its own spending transparency website and the primary data system behind it on the same day last month the contract to manage the systems was set to expire, new documents show.

The move frees up previously contested federal contracting data, which will facilitate increased competition for future contracts, according to outside observers and the General Services Administration.

It’s unclear if the purchase became necessary to keep the site running or if the opportunity arose as a result of Global Computer Enterprises, Inc.’s financial instability, which led to a bankruptcy filing last month.

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DOL could go it alone with acquisition platform

The Labor Department is seeking information on commercial capabilities that could help it better manage acquisition information as a subscription.

The department is interested in a dashboard that could provide access to regular acquisition news updates, and access to Government Accountability Office and other legal decisions, it writes in a May 12 request for information posted to Federal Business Opportunities.

This platform would also provide easy access to forms, templates and checklists, as well as other acquisition related tools and information.

Although the post is not a direct solicitation, even the department’s interest in such technology is notable given the concurrent efforts already underway within government to address the acquisition process.

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SAM ‘inelegant and cumbersome’ says GSA CIO

The System for Award Management (SAM) is operational but it’s not what the future of acquisition systems should look like, said Sonny Hashmi, chief information officer at the General Services Administration (GSA).

Commonly called “SAM,” the consolidated acquisition system launched in August 2012 to bring together three previously separate systems.

“It is still inelegant and cumbersome. We have done just enough to make it operational,” said Hashmi during an April 11 chat on GitHub.

Shortly after the system went live, SAM ran into a variety of problems that required the back-end security architecture, business process management layer and database schema to be completely reconfigured.

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If you encounter a business having trouble getting registered in SAM, be sure to tell them that they should not pay anyone to register their company in SAM.  SAM registration is free!  For details, please visit: