Source Selection Data

Source Selection Data is information related to the decision making process (including the decision itself) for an award of a contract to industry. Information in this category is generally only sensitive until after formal award of the contract.

Such information must be protected from disclosure outside the Government and limited within the Government to individuals with a need to know that information.

Statutory/Regulatory Responsibilities & Obligations

Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) specify procedures to be followed to protect source selection data.

Access to Source Selection Data

Bids may not be disclosed except on a need-to-know basis and only to government employees (FAR Part 14.401 Receipt and safeguarding of bids (48 CFR)).

Proprietary and source selection information may only be disclosed to individuals authorized by the head of an agency (FAR Part 3.104.5 Disclosure, Protection, and Marking of Proprietary and Source Selection Information). For contracts over $100,000, the names of individuals having access to the file shall be listed with the contract file.

Marking Source Selection Data

Source selection information shall be marked on the cover page and each page that contains source selection information with the legend SOURCE SELECTION INFORMATION.

Safeguarding Source Selection Data

Bids shall be "kept secure" in a "locked bid box or safe."


For knowing disclosure of non-government information to which a government agency has gained access in connection with a procurement action, Title 41 USC 423 - Procurement Integrity, provides both civil and criminal penalties. The criminal penalty is up to five years imprisonment. The civil penalty is a fine up to $100,000.

This applies mainly to government employees who receive non-government information, but also to non-government personnel who receive sensitive procurement information from government (for example, if government gives industry a bid package containing information from a potential subcontractor). This procurement integrity law applies only prior to the award of a contract. Once a contract has been awarded, other laws with lesser penalties may apply.

Title 18 USC 1905 applies to disclosure by a government employee of any information provided to the government by a company or other nongovernment organization, if the provider of the information identified it as proprietary or as being provided to the government in confidence. The penalty is mandatory removal from office (termination of employment), and the offender may be fined not more than $1,000 and imprisoned not more than one year.

Legal & Regulatory Authorities
Title 41 USC 421 Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council
Title 41 USC 423 Procurement Integrity
FAR Part 3.104-1 Procurement Integrity, General (48 CFR)
FAR Part 3.104.3 Statutory Prohibitions and Restrictions (48 CFR)
FAR Part 3.104-5 Disclosure, Protection, and Marking of Proprietary and Source Selection Information.
FAR Part 14.401 Receipt and Safeguarding of Bids (48 CFR)
FAR Part 15.407 Solicitation Provisions (48 CFR)
FAR Part 27.4 Rights in Data and Copyrights
FAR Part 52.215-12 Restriction on Disclosure and Use of Data (48 CFR)




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