Acquisition Reform:

Regulatory Implementation of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994

NSIAD-96-139: Published: Jun 28, 1996. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 1996.

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Pursuant to a legislative requirement, GAO reviewed federal agencies' compliance with the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act's (FASA) requirements for publishing revised procurement regulations, focusing on: (1) whether all regulations necessary to implement the act were published accordingly; and (2) efforts to make the regulations concise and understandable.

GAO found that: (1) with two exceptions, all proposed revisions to the FAR necessary to implement FASA were published in the Federal Register by the May 11, 1995, FASA deadline; (2) the two exceptions were the proposed regulation on fraud remedies, which was published on May 12, 1995, and an implementing regulation for the FASA provision requiring alternatives to payment bonds, which had not been published as of March 15, 1996; (3) of the 29 FAR regulations needed to implement FASA, only 13 were published in final form by the FASA deadline, September 8, 1995, and two more regulations had been issued in interim form; (4) an additional 11 final FAR regulations, however, were published by October 1, 1995; (5) according to officials involved in managing the regulation drafting project, key factors that slowed the process included translating FASA language into regulations useful to contracting officers and addressing public comments, especially on the more complex, innovative, or controversial regulations; (6) in general, there was less compliance with FASA deadlines with respect to the non-FAR regulations; (7) the FAR drafting teams devoted considerable effort toward making FASA regulations concise and understandable; (8) when proposed regulations were circulated to federal agencies or published in the Federal Register, the drafting teams received hundreds of comments, and the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, project managers, and drafting teams held public meetings to hear presentations from anyone who wanted to present oral comments on seven proposed regulations; (9) other efforts were made to make the regulations understandable to those who have to use them; (10) the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Federal Acquisition Institute, and the FASA implementation project worked together to develop a number of different training resources and explanatory materials that would help buying activities understand FASA changes; (11) training resources included a five-part videotape series, viewer reference materials, live, televised call-in question and answer sessions with drafting team leaders and other procurement experts, which were subsequently made available on videotapes and in written form, a side-by-side comparison of changes to the FAR with previous text of the FAR, and a process-oriented Guide to FAR Changes that highlighted changes in conducting procurements; and (12) officials responsible for sponsoring FASA training estimated that approximately 15,000 people viewed the five-part series when it was broadcast, and 1,600 people requested materials that were available following the broadcasts.

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