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I have recently moved to be the sole procurement analyst at a smaller agency's contracting activity and have a challenge on my hands as we are moving to be more compliant with the push for using CPARS and we are currently using PPIRS. While it's obvious that your garden variety support contractor should never see anything in CPARS or PPIRS that affects anything not related to thier specific firm that they are the designated POC on due to potential OCI, what about contracted 1102s working in a contracting activity? Are they also forbidden from seeing things in CPARS and PPIRS? The DoD Policy Guides don't seem to give any leeway in this regard, but support contractors who are acting in an 1102 capacity would seem to be a different case to me. Is there any other specific policy prohibiting contractors from using or seeing the output from these systems aside from general fears about potential OCI? Our contracted 1102s are from very small businesses to help mitigate that sort of issue and sign extensive NDAs and disclosure documentation to prevent OCI. Is that good enough? Again, what is the governing policy here beyond the DoD Policy Guide for CPARS? Is there any? Or legal precedent?

This problem is acute for my contracting activity because we have, in an activity of only 20 personnel (all of which are operational 1102s but myself, even our SPE/Director signs contracts and our EAs, such as they are, are purchasing agents) less than half our Government and the rest are all contracted out 1102s. I'm the designated focal point for CPARS and PPIRS (I'm also Government) but using these systems in source selections and in contract administration, just in terms of getting the records properly populated and inputed into the system, is going to be difficult or well nigh impossible if a contractor can't touch or see it at all. Right now the three team leads/contracting officers are feds and all the specialists working under them with the exception of two are contractors.

Also, if this prohibition on any support contractor seeing the information is only a DoD policy, does it apply or not apply to civilian agencies if they are using CPARS, which is a DoD system? Or is the policy Government-wide but just documented in a strange place?

Any helpful tips on how to deal with this situation would be appreciated. My overall question would be what the policy for this is. DoD guides and training say contractors aren't to see the information under any circumstances, but I cannot find anything in the FAR or CFR that would have such a strong prohibition.

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Contractor support of the acquisition function, while discouraged, is not uncommon, at least in DoD. DoD is trying to eliminate such support via increases in the size of the acquisition workforce (e.g. Section 852). However, many contractor employees are still seen in many contracting offices performing many acquisition functions except signing the contract, including many offices in DC supporting OSD directly.

Since the DoD CPARS feeds into government wide PPIRS, I consider the data to be the same in terms of its nature and releasability to contractors. The CPARS data are primarily collected for consideration when agencies use past performance in source selections. The DoD policy is that contractors should have access only to data pertinent to their company. I do not believe that the CPARS or PPIRS policy folks have considered the issue of granting access to the data to contractor personnel supporting contracting offices.

The CPARS and PPIRS data represent source selection information. See the ninth entry in the definition of source selection information seen in FAR Part 2. See FAR Part 9.5 for controls on access to proprietary information including source selection info.

Until such time as DoD bans the use of contractor support in contracting offices, or new government contracting folks displace the contractor support, or the FAR and DFARS change, I believe your actions will be limited to recognizing the potential for conflicts of interest and to taking steps to mitigate them in your solicitations and contracts (e.g. OCI provisions and NDAs).

BTW, there is a FAR case on OCI ? 2011-001 working its way down the long and winding road through the FAR council. Here is a synopsis of the case: ?2011-001 Implements section 841 of the NDAA for FY 2009 (Pub. L. 110-147). Section 841 requires consideration of how to address the current needs of the acquisition community with regard to Organizational Conflict of Interest. Separately addresses the issues regarding unequal access to information.?

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Guest carl r culham

No references just a few of thoughts that first come to mind....

It would be paramount in my view that BOTH the Government and the contracted AQM resources would be making the effort to avoid any conflict of interest. I believe that a contracted resource could perform in the capacity indicated and take the necessary steps to avoid the conflicts. "Appearance of" might be a different matter. As I have expressed in this forum several times the final determination of a conflict may in fact lay with an agencies HR department and the ethics official. I suggest visiting with the ethics official with regard to your questions for further advice and counsel.

On another note it is interesting to me that one would be worried about, and indicate a lack of trust in the ability of an AQM contracted resource to perform appropriately with regard to CPARS but on the other hand the Federal government passes out secret and top secret credentials to hundreds of non-governemtn personnel to perform functions within the Federal bureacracy.

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I do not believe that the CPARS or PPIRS policy folks have considered the issue of granting access to the data to contractor personnel supporting contracting offices.

The CPARS and PPIRS data represent source selection information. See the ninth entry in the definition of source selection information seen in FAR Part 2. See FAR Part 9.5 for controls on access to proprietary information including source selection info.

Until such time as DoD bans the use of contractor support in contracting offices, or new government contracting folks displace the contractor support, or the FAR and DFARS change, I believe your actions will be limited to recognizing the potential for conflicts of interest and to taking steps to mitigate them in your solicitations and contracts (e.g. OCI provisions and NDAs).

Thank you for the feedback as that somewhat follows my thinking. Section 852 is another matter though, of course, because my agency isn't DoD so we correspondingly do not have the impetus of insourcing or other things to help us expand the tiny sliver of acquisition workforce here other than use contractors. My agency, being the dreaded non-defense discretionary spending, is also looking at a budget cut that will likely reduce our number of feds and our already tiny statutory cap of employees further.

My primary concern isn't actually with the PPIRS/source selection piece, while that is important. My concern is more getting the actual records themselves populated and entered into CPARS. As the contractors are serving as the CS' and keeping tabs on the contracts for their COs, they are the best ones to work the CPAR and make sure it is accurate. If they can't touch it or see it at all, it has to fall on the CO, and here we only have four of those, who are consequently our team leads, in an office of 20. It's not hard to see how soon Team Leaders' ability to manage is going to be further compromised because they are going to be drowning in required CPARS reports if they can't farm the drafting of the CAPR out to the specialists, who happen to be contractors.

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My primary concern isn't actually with the PPIRS/source selection piece, while that is important. My concern is more getting the actual records themselves populated and entered into CPARS. As the contractors are serving as the CS' and keeping tabs on the contracts for their COs, they are the best ones to work the CPAR and make sure it is accurate. If they can't touch it or see it at all, it has to fall on the CO, and here we only have four of those, who are consequently our team leads, in an office of 20. It's not hard to see how soon Team Leaders' ability to manage is going to be further compromised because they are going to be drowning in required CPARS reports if they can't farm the drafting of the CAPR out to the specialists, who happen to be contractors.

I am unaware of a prohibition against a CPARS focal point designatiing a contractor to make inputs to CPARS. I just called the CPARS help desk to ask the question, but no one answered the phone. While I await a return call, you may wish to contact the help desk directly. The phone number may be found here - http://www.cpars.csd.disa.mil/cparsfiles/cpars/freqask.htm - along with other information on CPARS.

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Contractors are not allowed access to CPARS accept as the assessment contractor representative for responding to assessments. I am the Focal Point for my office. CORs on service contracts over $1M perform the annual assessments in CPARS. It is part of their designated COR assigned duties. Do you have assigned CORs on your service contracts over $1M.

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Contractors are not allowed access to CPARS accept as the assessment contractor representative for responding to assessments. I am the Focal Point for my office. CORs on service contracts over $1M perform the annual assessments in CPARS. It is part of their designated COR assigned duties. Do you have assigned CORs on your service contracts over $1M.

I pulled out one of my Navy manuals on CPARS guidance dated October 2000. Here is what it says at paragraph 7.2.3:

Quote

"Support contractors may provide data entry assistance for CPARS at the Contract Data Entry Clerk and the Assessing Official Representative access levels, provided that any necessary disclosure agreements have been executed. At no time may support contractors contribute to CPAR development in the form of ratings and comments."

Unquote

I also extracted the following quote from a DOJ document dated October 2010 on this site: http://www.justice.gov/jmd/pe/pdfs/2011-01.pdf.

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3. QUESTION: How does a Focal Point get the CDE access so that they can register a contract without having to go through the process of registering the contract and then actually filling out the user authorization matrix? RESPONSE: There is an optional role in CPARS called the Contract Data Entry (CDE) role. The purpose of the CDE is to help out in the registration of contracts in CPARS. The CDE role is the only role that can be filled by a support contractor. If an office that has someone available that can go into CPARS and just register contracts, then a Focal Point can give the CDE access to those contracts so that they can go in and register the actions. The CDE will have access to basic contract information: Summary information. Much of it is pre-populated. No matter what your role is if you are going to be involved with writing CPARS or providing input you have got to get access from your Focal Point.

Unquote

I have not heard back from the CPARS help desk.

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So contractors CAN enter administrative data but can not enter assessment or rating information. Interesting. I did not know that. Thanks for the info.

I just spoke with the CPARS Help Desk. The representative confirmed that support contractors can do data entry (i.e. CDE), but cannot enter assessment / rating info.

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