Defending and Responding to Contractor Suspension and DebarmentHaving received the government suspension or debarment notice, you have to seriously consider your company’s approach to defending and responding to the agency’s recommendation to the deciding office.

Contractor actions are serious business and having the right response can save your company’s future.

Defending and Responding — Initial Approach

Your first task is to present matters in opposition.  You generally have 30 days as the respondent to submit information or arguments as to why the suspension or debarment should not be imposed. You can do this in person or in writing.  

In order to improve their chances of getting serious consideration from the debarring official, most government contractors seek legal advice from suspension debarment lawyers that understand the procurement process.

  • You should submit your defense or response before attending a hearing or meeting with the debarment official.

When defending and responding to contractor suspension or debarment actions you should focus on full and complete disclosure related to the facts and circumstances for the alleged misconduct. Without this critical step, you may lose credibility in your response.

  • Note that all information you provide will become part of the administrative record.

Senior Company Officials Should Participate in Contractor Suspension and Debarment Responses: When submitting a response or defense to contractor suspension and debarment actions, contractors should seek direct input from key executives and senior officials. They are the best people to discuss the contractor responsibility and any steps taken to prevent similar situations in the future.

This is a good time to consider having outside legal counsel to help draft the response and to provide guidance with how to defend and respond to the debarment or suspension actions.

  • Providing affidavits and declarations are important when defending and responding to contractor suspension and debarment actions.

Confrontational in Suspension or Debarment Responses Does Not Help: Responding to a suspension or debarment action should focus on present contractor responsibility and current or proposed internal policies and controls. Debarment official decisions can be impacted by a showing of what level of internal steps you have taken to prevent future ethical violations or even criminal actions.  See how FAR 9.4 Debarred Meaning and Definition  impacts the outcome of negotiations

  • Effectively defending and responding to contractor debarment and suspension actions is all about how you plan to avoid future problems.

When Do Officials Give Suspension and Debarment Decisions?

The FAR 52.209-6 contemplates that contractor suspension and debarment decisions will be given in 30 working days after receipt of your defense and response. However, this can be extended in cases where the agency is allowed to provide a response. Read more about Administrative Agreements During Suspension or Debarment.

To Minimize Risk of False Claims, Get a Free Copy of Your False Claims Avoidance Chekclist

For help defending and responding to contractor suspension or debarment, call our suspension and debarment defense lawyers at 1-866-601-5518. FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.

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