Public to be given access to US contract data

16 February 2011
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16 February 2011 | Lindsay Clark

The US government is set to offer the public access to its contracting data from April this year.

The Federal Budget statement said the government would continue to improve the “integrity and transparency of the procurement system” by giving the public access to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System, which contains data on a contractor’s track record and business ethics.

The statement said: “For the first time, taxpayers will be able to see the information that contracting officers use to protect the public’s resources from the waste and abuse of contractors who are proven bad actors.”

The planned publication of contractor data is part of an effort to cut spending by $1.1 trillion (£681 billion) over the next decade, as the administration struggles to reduce its deficit, which is expected to reach $1.65 trillion (£1.02 trillion) this year.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has announced a five-year freeze on all discretionary spending outside of security. “Over a decade, this freeze will save more than $400 billion (£248 billion), cut non-security funding to the lowest share of the economy since at least 1962, and put the discretionary budget on a sustainable trajectory,” he said.

The US government has also announced progress in its planned contracting reforms in a bid to save $40 billion (£25 billion) by the end of 2011, over a two-year period.

“In the financial year 2010, agencies spent nearly $80 billion (£50 billion) less than they would have spent had contract spending continued to grow at the same rate it had under the prior administration,” said Jack Lew, director of the Office ofManagement and Budget (OMB).

Contract spending fell for the first time since 1997, the OMB said. In the 2010 financial year spending was $535 billion (£331 billion) compared with $550 billion (£340 billion) the previous year.

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