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Procurement Integrity

ACON 059


General Information

Government business must be conducted in a manner above reproach. The general rule is to strictly avoid any conflict of interest or even the appearance of a conflict of interest. The official conduct of Government personnel must be such that they would have no reluctance to make a full, public disclosure of their actions.

Cornerstones of procurement integrity are:

  • Refrain from using public office for public gain
  • Treat all members of the public with fairness and impartiality
  • Public service is a public trust

When you accept a position with the federal Government you are expected to act in a manner that brings credit to yourself and your agency. You are also expected to conduct Government business in a manner above reproach, with complete impartiality and with preferential treatment for none. While we all accept this, it is sometimes difficult to know just how to act in certain situations. As a member of the government acquisition workforce, you are provided guidelines to help you. The Restrictions on Obtaining and Disclosing Certain Information statute (formerly known as the Procurement Integrity Act) and FAR 3.104 (Procurement Integrity) provide guidelines with which to operate. The regulations direct you to avoid even the appearance of misconduct. It is always best to keep a contractor and potential contractor at “arm’s length,” and conduct yourself in the same manner with all contractors. This includes the handling of bids/proposals, contract discussions, security of sensitive information, and administration of the contract. It also extends to possible employment with a contractor after your Government service has ended.

Below are elements of a typical statement a Governmental official might have to sign prior to their involvement in specific procurement. This provides an idea of what conduct you must be careful of during your interactions with contractors.

  1. I acknowledge that acquisition planning, source selection plans, offeror proposal data, offeror identity (including subcontractors or team members), and information concerning the process and its status are procurement sensitive information that shall not be discussed outside the designated individuals participating in a specific acquisition without advance authorization from the Contracting Officer.
  2. I acknowledge my responsibility to safeguard all materials pertaining to any acquisition planning or source selection (e.g., acquisition plan, source selection plan, proposals, evaluation criteria, worksheets, or notes). I will return all materials pertaining to any acquisition upon completion of the evaluation process to the Contracting Officer.
  3. I will only use acquisition/contract information for official/authorized Government purposes, and the information will not be used for private gain by myself or another person, either by my direct or indirect action or by giving counsel, recommendations or suggestions to another person. This information includes, but is not limited to, proposal evaluation or ratings, offeror/contractor proposals or proprietary information, business or trade secrets, and financial or technical data.
  4. I certify that I am not aware of any matter which might reduce my ability to participate in any acquisition activities in an objective and unbiased manner or which might place me in a position of a conflict, real or apparent, between my responsibilities as a participant and other interests. If after the date of this certification, a potential conflict occurs, I will notify the Contracting Officer and thereafter, until advised to the contrary, I will not participate further in any way (by rendering advise, making recommendations, voting or otherwise) in any acquisition activities.
  5. I acknowledge that I am aware of applicable Federal statutes and regulations relating to standards of conduct, solicitation and acceptance of bribes and gratuities, conflicts of interest, procurement integrity, and potential restrictions on post-employment depending on my role in an acquisition process (see FAR Part 3, Improper Business Practices and Personal Conflicts of Interest).

Seek advice from your Agency Ethics Official for more detailed information on procurement integrity.