The OFCCP has announced that it is about to launch a new online portal “to modernize how the agency receives required notices about construction contract and subcontract awards.” The new “Notification of Construction Contract Award Portal” (NCAP), will officially launch on Friday, August 26, 2022.
OFCCP regulations require covered federal construction contractors to provide the agency with written notice of the award of qualifying subcontracts within 10 days (41 C.F.R. § 60-4.2(c)). Contractors are required to use Form CC-314 for these notifications, which is a two-page form that must be completed and submitted for each qualifying subcontract.
Form CC-314 had long since been approved for use in “electronic” (online) applications and the OFCCP has invested heavily over the past several years in new data infrastructure to move more transactions online. Since the notification form had already been approved for online use, all the agency needs to do is launch the Portal; no additional rulemaking or approvals are required.
Do I Have to Use the Online Portal?
At this point, no. The OFCCP is authorized to require contractors to use Form CC-314, which is now available online in addition to the paper form (which, somewhat ironically, is actually an “electronic,” fillable PDF form). Contractors will initially have the option to use either the traditional form or the new Portal.
OMB authorization for Form CC-314 does not expire until July 31, 2024, at which point the OFCCP will have the option to drop the “paper” form, but we have no indication that the agency intends to do so.
Should I Use the Online Portal?
If your organization has lots of qualifying federal subcontracts to report, you will want to consider the new Portal because it will have a “batch upload” option for submitting multiple notices. This new option could result in increased efficiency for contractors.
For the occasional notice, it might be six one way, half a dozen another. Using the new Portal will likely require some administrative time to set up an account, but after that the notification process should not be much different than it is now if you are not using the bulk upload option.
Should I Not Use the Online Portal?
As far as we can tell there is nothing particularly nefarious about the OFCCP’s new NCAP other than the fact that the agency is moving more transactions online in general. This is likely to increase efficiency within the agency, freeing up resources that can then be redirected to more enforcement activity, and increasing the OFCCP’s ability to coordinate and share information across regional and district offices.
Could the agency decide to integrate Portal use into their audit selection process for construction contractors? To the extent that anything is possible, sure, but that could go either way. The agency could decide to target contractors that don’t use the new Portal, those that do, or not consider it at all.
Where Can I Learn More?
The NCAP site currently notes that further guidance in the form of FAQs, how-to videos, and a user guide are all “coming soon.” However, the OFCCP has scheduled a free webinar on the “go live” date, Friday, August 26, 2022 at 2:00 PM EDT. The join link and other webinar information can be found here.
If you have questions about this or any other OFCCP initiative, feel free to reach out to us at BCGi@Biddle.com.