Commerce Business Daily:

Classification of Procurement Notices

GGD-89-113BR: Published: Aug 23, 1989. Publicly Released: Sep 25, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed 2,413 procurement notice synopses in 4 editions of the Commerce Business Daily (CBD) to determine the extent to which contracting agencies misclassified the synopses into the wrong categories of supplies and services.

GAO found that contracting officials: (1) misclassified 137 of the 2,413 procurement notices, including 106 of 963 service and 31 of 1,450 supply synopses; (2) assigned a miscellaneous services code to 43 of 137 misclassified synopses; (3) appeared to misclassify an additional 45 synopses, on the basis of Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) guidance; and (4) were not always aware of traditional classifications not noted in FAR guidance. GAO also found that: (1) the Department of Commerce withdrew CBD editorial staff authority to change incorrect codes in September 1988, citing contracting official responsibility for code accuracy; (2) misclassified synopses could violate requirements for obtaining full and open competition; (3) Commerce believed that interested parties could avoid misclassification problems by working with firms that purchased CBD in electronic form to help potential bidders to locate relevant procurement information; (4) Commerce issued guidance to contracting officers for assigning classification codes; (5) CBD staff occasionally advised contracting officers about incorrect classification codes; and (6) Commerce has proposed replacing the present FAR classification codes with the more descriptive and detailed Federal Procurement Data System product and service codes.

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