What Is Government Procurement?
“Government procurement” describes situations where a government agency seeks goods or services from a private, non-government entity. Unlike private companies, government agencies cannot simply decide to do business with another entity. They must go through an involved, formal process before entering a contract with a private business. Government agencies at all levels – including local, city, state, and federal agencies – must participate in this process.
The government procurement process tends to involve the following steps:
- Issuing a proposal and soliciting bids
- Accepting and reviewing bids until the set closing date
- Awarding the government contract to the lowest, qualified bidder (in most cases)
If your business is preparing to submit a bid to a government agency, you may be wondering what the agency has previously paid for similar goods and services. Fortunately, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) allows individuals and business entities to request and obtain certain types of records from the federal government, and all 50 states have similar freedom of information laws that apply to their governments.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has taken the formal position that, in most cases, the prices in government contracts are not inherently confidential. Therefore, your business can potentially use FOIA requests (or requests through an equivalent state law) to procure information on the prices in previous contracts. We can help you prepare and submit these formal requests.
Avoiding False Claims Act Issues
When your business submits a bid for a government contract, your organization in effect pledges to provide the goods or services at the price you named. A company can inadvertently run afoul of the False Claims Act if they become unable to fulfill its contractual obligations. The False Claims Act issues costly penalties to parties that deliberately submit false claims to the government. Should your business be unable to meet its contractual deliverables, the government agency could argue that you knew (or should have reasonably known) that you would be unable to deliver. Our national Veterans government procurement attorneys can defend your company against these types of allegations. We can also help you proactively avoid these problems by assisting your business during the initial government procurement process.
Navigating Government Contract Disputes
Should a contractual dispute develop between your business and a government agency, the Contract Disputes Act (CDA) will be used to resolve the case. If negotiations fail to produce an agreeable outcome, a Contracting Officer will issue a Final Decision on the conflict. Despite the verbiage, the Contracting Officer’s decision is not actually final. If you are dissatisfied with the decision, you can pursue an appeal before the Board of Contract of Appeals or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. Higher appeals can be sought via the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and subsequently the U.S. Supreme Court.
Our team can help your company explore and pursue all available appellate remedies.
We will do everything possible to protect your interests and secure an optimal result.
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