Suspension and Debarment

What is suspension and debarment?
The United States Government and most states have procedures for suspending or debarring contractors that have violated public contract laws, regulations or rules. In addition, contractors may be suspended or debarred based on a history of poor performance. Under both procedures, new contracts may not be awarded to the contractor.

A suspension is a temporary prohibition on receiving new government contracts pending completion of an investigation by one or more agencies. While suspensions do not have a termination date, they are typically limited to one year. The federal rules for suspension are in Part 9-407 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

A debarment is a final action prohibiting a contractor from receiving new contract awards for a fixed period of time. Debarments are typically at the completion on an agency investigation. The federal rules for debarment are in Part 9-406 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Contractors that have been suspended or debarred are listed on the “Excluded Parties List System,” published electronically at

Are there any specific suspension and debarment procedures that must be followed?
Yes, the procedures are located in the Federal Acquisition Regulation Parts listed in the above paragraphs.

Is suspension and debarment the same as being found “not responsible”?
No, suspension and debarment prevent the award of a contract by any public agency. A finding that a contractor is “not responsible” is limited to a specific bid or proposal. However, if the same agency repeatedly finds a contractor “not responsible,” that action can be considered a “constructive” suspension or debarment requiring the agency to comply with the formal procedures provided in the applicable Federal or State laws or regulations.

Are there any other adverse actions that can be taken against a contractor or individual that has been suspended or debarred?
Yes. In addition to being suspended and debarred the government may take any other action appropriate under the circumstances. Such actions include but are not limited to criminal prosecution, civil false claims suits, termination of contract and claims for contract damages, actions alleging violation of the Truth in Negotiation Act and actions provided for under the many federal and state statutes that provide both civil and criminal penalties.