Competition in Contracting Act - Explained
What is the Competition in Contracting Act?
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Table of ContentsWhat is the Competition In Contracting Act?How Does the Competition In Contracting Act Work?The Purpose of CICACICA and Protest Procedure
What is the Competition In Contracting Act?
Competition In the Contracting Act, also known as CICA, refers to a policy enacted in 1984 by Congress to encourage competition for government contracts. It is a United States legislation that governs contractors hiring procedures. All government requests for contract bids are supposed to adhere to this act.
How Does the Competition In Contracting Act Work?
The act requires that all the United States government agencies organize both full and open competition. That the procurement activities and procedures should be competitive. The competitive procedure is in the form of sealed bidding, formerly known as formal advertising. According to CICA, the contracting agency with contracts exceeding $25,000, must publish them in the Commerce Business Daily. The publication of notices for tender should be done at least 15 days before the issuance of a solicitation for bids. The publishing agency should leave the notice open for 30 days to give room for response. The thirty days covers the time between issuing of the solicitation and bid sealing. The period is provided to allow many bidders to apply for government contracts.
The Purpose of CICA
- The main purpose of enacting this law is to help the government save through competitive pricing. It gives room for the government to choose a contractor offering products or services at a fair price.
- It is expected that through competitive bidding, the small business also stands a chance of winning Federal Government contracts.
- The act ensures that agencies establish a competition advocate to challenge any procurement that limits competition.
CICA and Protest Procedure
Through CICA, there was an amendment to the protest procedure, contained in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 33. It states that any protest that takes place, before awarding a contract to the Government Accountability Office (GAO), will lead to the awards suspension. It will remain so, until that time when GAO, will pass a ruling on the protest. However, the amendment by CICA on the protest procedure has raised some arguments over the years. Questions have emerged in relation to the authenticity of the protests being filed. Although it is true that legitimate protests usually test the award process integrity, some contractors use it to exploit the protest mechanism. Some submit unnecessary protests to obstruct competition. For this reason, the protest procedure has been found to be expensive and time-consuming. That it also decreases the partnership and goodwill between contractors and the government.