GSA, SBA deploy online system to track subcontracting goals

Agencies and large contractors can now file data online demonstrating whether they are meeting federal subcontracting goals using a new system that went operational late last week, according to the General Services Administration and the Small Business Administration.

The Electronic Subcontractor Reporting System (ESRS) reached initial operating capability for most civilian agencies Oct. 28. ESRS is a significant development in the Bush administration's e-government initiative because it gives agencies and large contractors a one-stop shop for proving they are meeting milestones for subcontracting with small, disadvantaged and women-owned businesses. The Defense Department will begin using the system in later this fiscal year.

Previously, agencies and vendors filed separate paper forms and verified their benchmarks to SBA through the mail. This process was time consuming, inefficient and at times bred confusion about who was to file what and when, SBA officials said.

'ESRS is expected to provide this data more accurately and timely,' said Robert Taylor, SBA deputy associate administrator for government contracts.

GSA's Integrated Acquisition Environment's e-government team started work on ESRS earlier this year, tapping Symplicity Corp. of Arlington, Va., to develop and implement the program.

GSA had hoped to deploy the system in August and go to full-scale operation in the first quarter of fiscal 2006, but changed the schedule so ESRS could be fully integrated with the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation, an online system that tracks agency spending for goods and services.

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