Ethics in Government Procurement

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PROC 5860 MID-TERM EXAM

1. There are seven statutory exceptions to contract without providing for full and open competition. Select two of those authorities and discuss (in your own words) the rationale for using the exception.

The Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) of 1984 requires that all acquisitions be made using full and open competition. Seven exceptions to using full and open competition are specifically identified in FAR Part 6. Written justification must be provided when utilizing any of these exceptions. Additionally, depending on the dollar value of the purchase, the exception, along with supporting documentation, must be certified and approved at certain levels. Two of the seven statutory exceptions include:

• Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services – If the government has a requirement for which only one source is capable of providing due to the uniqueness or high degree of specialization, or for which there is not a suitable substitute, or for which other sources have been deemed inadequate (in terms of compatibility, quality, service, support, etc) then this exception could apply.

• Authorized or require by statute – Several laws require that certain procurement opportunities be offered to organizations such as the Federal Prison Industries, Agencies for the Blind and Severely Disabled, or Government Printing and Binding.

• National Security – When disclosure of the government’s needs would compromise national security, the government is authorized to limit competition. However, this exception is not to be utilized simply because the acquisition is classified or because access to classified material is necessary to submit an offer.

2. Market Research:

a. What are the two broad categories of market research? Differentiate between the two.

• Strategic (Market Surveillance) – not necessarily aimed at a specific procurement action but rather utilized to gain a general knowledge and sense of the market; gather and analyze data on a continual basis

• Tactical (Market Investigation) – tailored and detailed investigation of the market aimed at specific procurement action; collect, evaluate, and analyze information to meet agency needs

b. Identify three sources for conducting market research.

• Internet
• Government websites/government databases
• Trade journals/professional organizations

3. What is the role of contracting in the acquisition planning process?

The role of contracting in the acquisition planning process is to ensure the acquisition complies with statutory and regulatory requirements. Additionally, contracting personnel will ensure that the acquisition plan reflects appropriate acquisition streamlining techniques and a sound business approach to buying the needed goods and services. Other contracting roles include (but are not limited to):

• Issuance of the solicitation
• Evaluation of proposals, audits, and field reports
• Negotiation process
• Contract selection type, preparation, review, and clearance • Contract award
• Contract management

The contract specialist serves as the principal business advisor and principal agent for the government, and is responsible for developing the solicitation, conducting the source selection process and managing the resultant contract and business arrangement. They also research contracts in the marketplace to identify general business practices, such as commercial terms and conditions, contract type, bid schedule breakout, and the use of incentives.

4. Conflict of Interest comes in two varieties: personal and organizational. Identify two potential situations which may allude to a conflict of interest and the mitigation strategies you would employ.

As stated in the FAR, “Government business shall be conducted in a manner above reproach…with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none.”...
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