Traditionally, contractors were required, as part of their response to a solicitation, to fill out a variety of representations and certifications such as those found at Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 52.212-3 (Offeror Representations and Certifications – Commercial Items). These “reps and certs” cover a range of issues including, but not limited to, type of business organization, small business information, socio-economic data, and Buy American Act compliance.
The days of paper submission, however, are over. On December 20, 2004 (69 Fed. Reg. 76340), the Government promulgated a final rule requiring contractors to provide electronic representations and certifications via the Business Partner Networks (BPN) Web site at http://orca.bpn.gov. The rule requires contractors to submit their reps and certs through this Web site. The burden is on the contractor to update these reps and certs if the information previously submitted via ORCA changes. The contractor also must make the government aware of changes regarding the reps and certs that affect individual solicitations to which the contractor is responding. See 69 Fed. Reg. 76340.
A contractor must be registered in ORCA if the solicitation requires the contractor to have registered with the Central Contractor Registration (CCR). See http://orca.bpn.gov/faq.aspx. New contractors should be aware that the ORCA process, which will result in the assignment of a Marketing Partner Identification Number (MPIN), will take “24 to 48 hours” after registration with CCR. See http://orca.bpn.gov. The MPIN is required for the contractor to use other government systems, such as the Past Performance Information Retrieval System (PPIRS) at http://www.ppirs.gov. See 69 Fed. Reg. 76343.
The electronic reps and certs “on file” with the ORCA Web site will be construed as taking preference over hard-copy versions. See 69 Fed. Reg. 76341. Consequently, the contractor must ensure that the ORCA data is accurate and up to date. Note that at this time ORCA only contains FAR reps and certs: agency-specific reps and certs may also be required by the solicitation. See 69 Fed. Reg. 76343.
Michael A. Hordell
This article is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on specific facts.