AUGUST 2019
  "BOND AID" A Workshop on Developing a Business's Bond Program
NEW DATE
Wednesday , September 25, 2019
9:30 AM - 12:00 PM
NEPA Alliance Procurement Technical Assistance Center
1151 Oak Street
Pittston, PA 18640
 
The NEPA Alliance Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) is conducting a free workshop on developing a bond program for a small business. Subject matter expert, Matthew J. Alferio, President of AssuredPartners of NEPA will touch on the relevant topics which can affect a business's bond program. The Workshop will point out the issues an underwriter reviews so a business will know what to expect when trying to obtain or improve its bond line-of-credit.
 
The Workshop will touch on topics such as but not limited to: 
  • The Nature of Bonding
  • The Bond Process
  • How to Financially Qualify - Financial Statement Review
  • Why do Businesses Fail 
Each Workshop attendee will receive a copy of "Bond Aid: A Contractor's Guide to Bonding" Current Edition prepared by Matthew J. Alferio CPCU, CLU, AFSM, ARM.
 
Registration runs from 9:30 AM to 10:00 AM. The Workshop will start promptly at 10:00 AM.
 
There is no cost to attend this event, but space will be limited to the first 20 registrants.
 
To register online please click the button below.
  
   Register Now  
For more Workshop information, please call the NEPA Alliance PTAC at 866-758-1929 or 570-655-5581.
 Unique Entity Identifier Update
(Bye Bye DUNS)
As you may be aware, the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) has made changes to the Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) used to do business with the federal government. Currently, GSA uses the proprietary D-U-N-S® number as the UEI for doing business with the government. GSA is moving to a new, non-proprietary identifier which will be requested in, and assigned by, the System for Award Management ( SAM ).

Starting in December 2020, the D-U-N-S® number will no longer be the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government. What is changing?
  • The process to get a UEI to do business with the government is changing.
  • The definition of entity uniqueness is not changing.
Change can be confusing. Change can be frustrating. We want to make the change easier by sharing information about the coming changes and transition plan.

Over the next 18 months, GSA will:
  • Phase-out the D-U-N-S® number as the official identifier for doing business with the government.
  • Introduce a new UEI, generated in SAM, as the official identifier for doing business with the government.
  • Make it easier to request an UEI to do business with the government.
  • Transition to a new service provider to validate entity uniqueness.
  • Receive continued support from Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) during the transition.
  • Retain D-U-N-S ® numbers already assigned to records for historical purposes following the transition.
UEI Details:

The SAM-generated UEI is a new data element assigned by  SAM . Businesses already assigned D-U-N-S ® numbers prior to the completion of the transition will retain the DUNS for historical purposes and D&B open data limitations remain in effect in perpetuity.

The new UEI is stored as a twelve (12)-character, alpha-numeric value within databases and passed as such within interfaces and extracts.

This 12-character value will adhere to the following rules:
  • The letters 'O' or 'I' will not be used, to avoid confusion with zero and one.
  • The first character will not be zero, to avoid cutting off digits that can occur during data imports - for example into spreadsheet programs.
  • Nine-digit sequences will not be used in the identifier to avoid conflict with the nine-digit DUNS® number or Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • The first five characters will be structured to avoid conflict with the Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) Code.
  • The UEI will not be case sensitive.
  • The final character will be a checksum of the first 11 characters. Checksums are used to detect errors within data.
  • The UEI will not contain the entity's Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Indicator. The EFT Indicator will remain a separate field in SAM.
New Process:

The process to get an UEI to do business with the government will be changing.
  • Today, entities go to D&B to request their D-U-N-S ® number.
    • Only after their D-U-N-S ® number is assigned, can they go to SAM and register to do business with the government.
  • Today, entities must record any changes to their legal business name and physical address with D&B.
    • Only after their D-U-N-S ® record is updated, and the data is available to SAM, can they update their entity registration.
  • Today, entities may have to contact two different help desks if they have questions about their UEI. They contact the D&B help desk for issues related to their D-U-N-S ® number or D-U-N-S ® record, and the Federal Service Desk (FSD) for help with their SAM entity registration.
  • Starting in December 2020, GSA is making it easier to get an UEI by streamlining the request and ongoing management process. Entities will go to a single place, SAM, to:
    • Request their UEI and register their entity to do business with the U.S. Government.
    • Make any updates to their legal business name and physical address associated with the UEI.
    • Entities will have a single customer support helpdesk for all UEI and entity transition.
Over the next 18 months, GSA will transition to the new UEI supported by the new entity validation services. GSA will be using a three-phased approach to minimize disruption. The high-level implementation schedule will be released later in FY 2019, Quarter 4.

Current State: (Present - July 2019)
  • The D-U-N-S ® number is the official identifier for doing business with the government.
  • Entities will continue to register in SAM.gov using the D-U-N-S ® number assigned by D&B.
  • Entity uniqueness continues to be validated by D&B as part of the D-U-N-S ® number assignment process.
  • GSA publishes the technical standard for the new SAM-generated UEI.
Transition Phase: (July 2019 - December 2020)
  • The D-U-N-S ® number remains the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government.
  • Entities continue to register in SAM using the D-U-N-S ® number assigned by D&B.
  • Entity uniqueness continues to be validated by D&B as part of the D-U-N-S ® number assignment process.
  • GSA publishes updated technical specifications, which include the new SAM-generated UEI, for interfacing systems.
  • GSA develops tools needed to generate UEIs.
  • GSA develops an interface to new entity validation service provider to determine entity uniqueness.
  • GSA supports robust testing of new interfaces with agency systems.
  • GSA communicates upcoming changes to stakeholders, sharing more detail as available.
Future Phase; Transition Complete (December 2020)
  • The SAM-generated UEI becomes the official identifier for doing business with the U.S. Government.
  • Entities request new unique Entity IDs through SAM.gov before starting their entity registration.
  • Entity uniqueness is determined by the new entity validation service provider.
  • D-U-N-S ® numbers already assigned to records are retained for historical purposes.
  • Your registration will automatically be assigned a new UEI which will be displayed in SAM.
  • Purpose of registration, core data, assertions, representations & certifications, Points of Contacts, etc. in SAM will not change and no one will be required to re-enter this data.
  • D-U-N-S ® assigned to the registration will be retained for search and reference purposes.
Confused? You are not alone. Do not hesitate to call the NEPA Alliance PTAC at 866-758-1929 or 570-655-5581 for support.
Protecting Your Company with an Ethics & Compliance Program
Earlier this year, the Department of Justice Criminal Division published new guidance for corporate compliance programs, providing factors for evaluating their effectiveness. Although meant for prosecutors, this guidance offers companies a better understanding of the Department of Justice's views on the design, implementation, and operation of effective compliance programs. For a detailed overview of the new guidance, please click here

So, what does this mean for your company? How can you ensure that your corporate compliance program meets the Department of Justice criteria of effectiveness?

To begin, let's consider why a company needs a compliance program in the first place. Most common legal violations in government contracting such as misrepresentation of certification status, conflicts of interest, mishandling of funds, and fraudulent billings stem from unethical beliefs that permeate the company's organizational culture. Ethics are the compass or moral principles that govern an organization's behavior; and in their absence, the organization is at high risk of taking illegal actions. What's worse is that many legal violations can happen quietly, without management realizing what has taken place.  

Unfortunately, the cost of such behaviors to the business can range from lost revenue to loss of reputation, and even prosecution. Additionally, the damage to the human capital of the company can impact morale, productivity, reputation, relationships, future projects, and income.

However, a solid ethics and compliance program can help prevent illegal behaviors and is required in some contracting circumstances. Here are a few suggestions to help you set up an ethics and compliance program in your business.
  • It always starts at the top! Clearly communicate leadership commitment to ethics and secure the buy-in from everyone in the organization. 
  • Designate someone to be the company's Ethics and Compliance Officer to lead the effort and ensure that everyone in the organization supports this person.
  • Review the Department of Justice guidance for corporate compliance programs. Make a note of areas where your company is not meeting the criteria for an effective compliance program.
  • Get your team together and look at what you have in place, including existing controls. Discuss where improvements may be necessary.
  • As a company, look for areas at risk and identify controls to improve these risks.
  • Hold regular ethics training for all employees and make it part of onboarding new employees.  
  • Research other companies' ethics and compliance programs - many posts them on their website. 
  • Reach out to your attorney and ask if they have any resources for setting up a corporate compliance program.
In the current regulatory climate, having an effective ethics and compliance program has become a prerequisite to doing business. Without it, the company may face harsh penalties if it ever finds itself in trouble. 

PA e Marketplace Solicitations
 

The following is a list of upcoming PA e-Marketplace procurements available from various Commonwealth agencies. Many of these solicitations may not yet be advertised. Refer to the solicitations section for those procurement opportunities available for response. You can access the solicitations by the project title's hyperlink shown below:

ID Number: 115248 - Agency: General Services 
Project Title:  Monitoring of Alosines

ID Number: 115237 - Agency: General Services
Project Title:  PSP Duty Weapons
 
ID Number: 114987 - Agency: General Services 
Project Title:  Catering Services

ID Number: 114897 - Agency: Transportation
Project Title:  Appraisal Review Services

ID Number: 115172- Agency: Environmental Protection
Project Title:  Cap and Trade
 
ID Number: 115150 - Agency: State Police
Project Title: Speedometer Calibrations
  
Source: PA eMarketplace 


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