[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 141 (Monday, July 23, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 34820-34822]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-15355]





48 CFR Parts 5, 42, and 52

[FAR Case 2017-014; Docket No. 2017-0014; Sequence No. 1]
RIN 9000-AN43

Federal Acquisition Regulations: Use of Acquisition 360 To 
Encourage Vendor Feedback

AGENCY: Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration 
(GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking.


SUMMARY: DoD, GSA, and NASA are considering an amendment to the Federal 
Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to establish a standard survey for 
obtaining voluntary feedback from actual and potential offerors on 
Government contracts and solicitations. DoD, GSA, and NASA are seeking 
public input, particularly from Government contractors on the potential 
benefits and burdens of voluntary feedback surveys.

DATES: Interested parties should submit written comments to the 
Regulatory Secretariat Division at one of the addresses shown below on 
or before September 21, 2018 to be considered in the formulation of a 
proposed rule.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments identified by FAR Case 2017-014 by any of 
the following methods:
     Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov. Submit 
comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by entering ``FAR Case 
2017-014'' under the heading ``Enter Keyword or ID'' and selecting 
``Search''. Select the link ``Comment Now'' that corresponds with ``FAR 
Case 2017-014''. Follow the instructions provided on the screen. Please 
include your name, company name (if any), and ``FAR Case 2017-014'' on 
your attached document.
     Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory 
Secretariat Division (MVCB), 1800 F Street NW, Second floor, ATTN: Lois 
Mandell, Washington, DC 20405.
    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite ``FAR case 2017-
014'' in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received 
will be posted, without change, to http://www.regulations.gov, 
including any personal and/or business confidential information 
provided. To confirm receipt of your comment(s), please check http://www.regulations.gov, approximately two to three days after submission 
to verify posting (except allow 30 days for posting of comments 
submitted by mail).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Curtis E. Glover, Sr., Procurement 
Analyst, at 202-501-1448 for clarification of content. For information 
pertaining to status or publication schedules, contact the Regulatory 
Secretariat Division at 202-501-4755. Please cite ``FAR case 2017-


I. Background

    In 2015, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) issued 
guidance to test use of a standard survey that allowed offerors, 
whether or not they received award, to rate the agency's pre-award and 
debriefing processes for specific solicitations. See ``Acquisition 
360--Improving the Acquisition Process through Timely Feedback from 
External and Internal Stakeholders'' (March 2015) (available at: 
https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/whitehouse.gov/files/omb/procurement/memo/acquisition-360-improving-acquisition-process-timely-feedback-external-internal-stakeholders.pdf). Under the guidance, interested 
offerors were invited, at their discretion, to rate and provide 
comments regarding the issuance of solicitations covering a wide range 
of requirements, including information technology, medical equipment, 
and management support services. Survey questions asked for input 
regarding satisfaction with the pre-solicitation activities, 
solicitation documents, evaluation criteria, and the debriefing 
process. To view the online survey tool with the survey questions, go 
to https://www.acquisition.gov/360.
    Even though the data was limited in scope some trends did emerge. 
For example, contractors rated the robustness of agency debriefings 
with the lowest satisfaction scores in both iterations. This informed 
OFPP's education and outreach efforts and a memorandum, `` `Myth-
busting 3' Further Improving Industry Communication with Effective

[[Page 34821]]

Debriefings'', was ultimately issued in 2017.
    OFPP, DoD, GSA, and NASA believe that establishing a standard 
process in the FAR for obtaining voluntary feedback following a 
contract award will provide more meaningful insight on ways to 
strengthen the contracting process than can be derived by relying on ad 
hoc or periodic agency satisfaction surveys. Accordingly, language is 
being considered to encourage contracting officers, in accordance with 
agency policy, to invite interested sources--actual and potential 
offerors--to provide feedback on various aspects of the pre-award 
acquisition process and debriefings, with a particular emphasis on how 
information is communicated. Submissions are intended to be anonymous 
and for internal Government improvements only. Voluntary participation 
would not bestow respondents any direct benefits or protections in the 
acquisition process or any subsequent protests. In addition, OFPP, DoD, 
GSA, and NASA are considering language that would encourage Government 
acquisition officials to elicit feedback from their contractors on the 
agency's performance of its contract administration responsibilities.

II. Request for Public Comments

    The FAR Council welcomes input on any matters related to vendor 
feedback, including specific examples of industry standards, 
alternative regulatory approaches, and legal definitions that work well 
in other areas. The Council also invites comment on the overall cost of 
complying with the Council's existing regulations and any specific 
regulatory requirements that are particularly burdensome. The specific 
survey questions to be used in conjunction with a rulemaking are posted 
on https://www.acquisition.gov/360.
    Respondents are encouraged to offer their feedback on the above 
language--as well as the underlying survey questions--in addition to 
the following additional questions:
    (1) What are the benefits to industry in providing actual and 
potential offerors with increased opportunity to submit feedback on how 
well the Government is performing its pre- and post-award activities? 
What are the benefits to the Government?
    (2) Is the approach discussed in this advance notice of proposed 
rulemaking the most effective way to elicit feedback about the 
Government's pre-award activities? If not, how might effectiveness be 
improved? What is the best way the Government can obtain honest and 
open feedback on the contract administration process?
    (3) Approximately, how long would you estimate it will take to 
complete the survey at https://www.acquisition.gov/360? What is a 
reasonable estimate of an organization's costs to complete the survey 
and what are the elements of this cost (e.g., personnel involved and 
time to complete)?
    (4) How would you quantify or otherwise describe the benefits or 
burdens of this type of feedback mechanism to actual and potential 
    (5) Should any of the information provided by industry be available 
for industry review? How should the FAR Council work proactively with 
industry to consider changes based on any data submitted?
    (6) Is there different information which should be collected on the 
survey based on the type of company or the type of acquisition?
    (7) Would you view the voluntary opportunity to provide input as 
burden? If so, are there modifications which would decrease the burden 
associated with the Government collecting this information?
    (8) Would you be more likely to complete the survey if it were 
available as a hyperlinked button within each solicitation page of 
    (9) What measures would help assure you that answers would remain 
anonymous? For example: Should the solicitation number itself and/or 
the specific Product Service Code (PSC) be stripped from the data 
agencies review? Should there be a time delay in agencies receiving 
survey responses? Should the Government discard survey submissions when 
two or fewer responses are received for a solicitation or would you 
prefer that the Government reviews data from all responses?
    (10) What recommendations would you advise to ensure data quality? 
Similar to the example above, should the Government discard survey 
submissions when a minimal number are received for a particular 
solicitation or contracting office or would you view this effort more 
as a forum to provide comments?
    This advance notice of proposed rulemaking was determined to be 
significant for the purposes of E.O. 12866.

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 5, 42, and 52

    Government procurement.

    Dated: July 13, 2018.
Cecelia Davis,
Acting Director, Office of Government-wide Acquisition Policy, Office 
of Acquisition Policy, Office of Government-wide Policy.

    Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA are proposing to amend 48 CFR parts 
5, 42, and 52 to read as follows:

1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 5, 42, and 52 continues to 
read as follows:

    Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 51 
U.S.C. 20113.


2. Add section 5.407 to read as follows:

5.407  Feedback on the Pre-Award Process and Debriefings

    (a) Agencies are encouraged to seek regular voluntary feedback from 
interested sources that participate in an agency's acquisitions to 
understand strengths and weaknesses in how information is communicated, 
how acquisition techniques and methodologies were executed, and 
consider this feedback, as appropriate, to improve the effectiveness 
and efficiency of the acquisition process.
    (b) The contracting officer should insert the provision 52.XXX-XX, 
Acquisition 360: Voluntary Survey, in accordance with agency 


3. Add section 42.1401 to read as follows:

42.1401  Policy.

    (a) Agencies are encouraged to seek regular and voluntary feedback 
from their contractors on the agency's performance of its contract 
administration responsibilities.
    (b) Feedback might be sought on matters such as the contractor's 
evaluation of the agency in terms of--
    (1) Adherence to contract terms, including the administrative 
aspects of performance;
    (2) Reasonable and cooperative behavior in responding to contractor 
communications and addressing contractor requests; and
    (3) Business-like concern for the interest of the contractor.
    (c) Agencies should consider this feedback, as appropriate, to 
better understand strengths and weaknesses and improve the 
effectiveness and efficiency of their contract administration 

[[Page 34822]]


4. Add section 52.XXX-XX to read as follows:

52.XXX-XX  Acquisition 360: Voluntary Survey

    As prescribed in 5.407(b), insert the following provision:

Acquisition 360: Voluntary Survey (DATE)

    (a) All actual or prospective offerors are encouraged to provide 
feedback on the pre-award process, including debriefings. Feedback 
may be made anonymously by going to https://www.acquisition.gov/360.
    (b) None of the information provided will be reviewed until 
after contract award and will not be considered in nor impact source 
selection in any way.

(End of provision)

[FR Doc. 2018-15355 Filed 7-20-18; 8:45 am]