2-31.4 Disclosure and Use of Information

2-31.4.1 Policy

The contracting officer is granted broad discretion regarding the release of information during the purchasing process. Generally, it makes good business sense for potential suppliers to be as informed as possible during the process. However, contracting officers must take care that such information is disseminated fairly, and that the integrity of the process is not compromised.

2-31.4.2 After Receipt of Proposals

Information concerning the content of proposals or the number or identity of suppliers may not be disclosed outside the Postal Service, except when necessary for proposal evaluation, or to anyone in the Postal Service not having a legitimate interest.

During the preaward period, only the contracting officer or the contracting officer’s supervisor having contracting authority may transmit technical or other information and conduct discussions with suppliers. Technical or other information, such as general information that will not harm the integrity of the purchasing process, may be furnished upon request. However, information may not be furnished to any supplier if, alone or together with other information, it may afford that supplier an advantage over other suppliers. The contracting officer establishes what may be transmitted and/or discussed with suppliers, and must ensure that no leveling or technical transfusion occurs. For additional information on discussions, see Section 2-37, Hold Discussions.

Depending on the nature of the purchase, suppliers may place restrictions on the disclosure and use of data contained in their proposals. When it is anticipated that suppliers will wish to use such restrictions, purchase teams should include Provision A-1: Restriction on Disclosure and Use of Data, in the solicitation. The portions of the proposal that are so restricted (except for information obtainable from another source without restriction) must be used only for evaluation and may not be disclosed outside the Postal Service, except when necessary for proposal evaluation, without the permission of the offeror.