Bidding for Government Contracts: Why You Need Background Checks
Nearly 11 million independent contractors go to work every day in the United States. In many cases, contract roles within the government are held to strict background check policies. This stands to reason, given the sheer number of contractors employed and the significance of the roles they fill. If your company is looking to win bids for government work, instituting a thorough background screening process now is a key first step.
In 2011, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that it is “reasonable and proper” for the federal government to conduct a background investigation of those who work under government contracts. The Court’s decision was filed on the grounds of needing a reliable, secure, and competent workforce. The law had existed since 1953 for government employees, but the 9/11 commission suggested it be changed to include contractors, as well. A number of contractors at the Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Lab, run under contract by NASA, had challenged the law. The Supreme Court heard the case but maintained the need for contractor background investigations.
It might seem, given this legislation, that your company doesn’t need to conduct background checks of its own. However, consider the following. Bid responses for government contracts can take a great deal of time and resources to prepare and submit. If your company is submitting a bid and including proposed contract employees who have not undergone a background investigation, your entire bid package could be thrown out, depending on the RFP’s restrictions. Even if your bid response is maintained, if any one of your employees is submitted for a federal background check and fails, this could result in your company being removed from consideration.
Companies that handle sensitive government data, like the contractors at Cal Tech, or those involved in construction of government facilities, may in particular face the need to perform their own background checks before submitting a bid.
Not long ago, USIS, a Pennsylvania contractor who performed background checks on behalf of the government, lost its contract. The United States government began to conduct more of its own background investigations. Today, over a million contractors hold clearance with the Department of Defense. Recent headlines, such as Rob Porter, a former political aide who resigned his position as White House Staff Secretary for President Donald Trump after domestic abuse allegations, working under a temporary security clearance due to investigation backlog and despite a questionable past, underscore the importance of background investigations before an individual assumes a job’s responsibilities. The government has a backlog of 700,000 investigations. If employees and contractors can begin to work while before their background investigation is processed, who knows how many would not have passed but have been given access to sensitive data or placed the public in harm’s way. Imagine if your company had placed Rob Porter as a government contractor. Though the government is supposed to conduct its own investigations, you also have a responsibility to bid only using vetted individuals.
If your company would like to bid for government contracts but doesn’t yet have a background investigation system in place, it isn’t too late. Alliance Risk Group is well versed in background investigations for a variety of industries and can help you to mitigate risk when it comes to your submitted bids. Contact us today!
To read more about background checks and how they can help mitigate risk in your industry, click here.