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Information - The New York State VendRep System

What is the VendRep System?

The VendRep System allows business entities (vendors) to enter and maintain their Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire information in a secure, centralized database. This information will be available to New York State agencies that opt to use the System. An agency's decision to use the VendRep System will be announced in solicitation documents issued directly by the contracting agency.

Overview Information

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Benefits of the VendRep System

The VendRep System offers the following benefits to vendors:

  • Ease of completing, filing, accessing, and submitting of the Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire (efficiencies are multiplied for vendors who frequently bid and contract with the State);
  • Multiple authorized users, selected and managed by the vendor, can participate in completion of the online questionnaire;
  • Facilitation of questionnaire updates, which can be filed by changing only those responses that require a change, as previous entries are saved;
  • Elimination of need to fill out basic information on each questionnaire submission, as the System saves this data automatically;
  • Reduction of costs associated with paper documents, including copying, delivery, and filing (although copies of completed questionnaires can be made at anytime);
  • Completed questionnaire information is secure. It is available only to users in the vendor organization, as authorized by the organization. Furthermore, State contracting entity users may only view completed questionnaires upon certification by the vendor.
  • Facilitation of communication with State agencies, with State contracting entities having access to standardized information and current data; and
  • Consistency of responses to inquiries regarding System usage and questionnaire content, with the availability of online definitions, online help and an OSC administered Help Desk.

The VendRep System offers the following benefits to State agencies:

  • Direct, immediate, easy access to current, standardized vendor disclosures, eliminating the need for each State contracting entity to separately develop, maintain and administer the questionnaire;
  • Online information shared with authorized State contracting entity users;
  • Reduction of costs associated with paper documents, including receipt, distribution and filing;
  • Improved consistency, accuracy and timeliness of the information used in the vendor responsibility review;
  • User support, such as online definitions, online help, and the OSC Help Desk, to assist vendors and State agencies in interpreting questionnaire content and using the System, reducing the burden on individual State contracting entities and providing for greater consistency in understanding.
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VendRep System availability

The VendRep System will generally be available daily from 6:00 AM to 1:00 AM. Typically, the System will be unavailable from 1:00 AM to 6:00 AM for scheduled maintenance. An announcement will be added to the "News" section of the VendRep System homepage should the System be scheduled for maintenance outside of this regular window. Downtime will be scheduled to minimize disruptions to vendors and State contracting entities. As there may be times when the System will be unavailable within the 6:00 AM to 1:00 AM window, each vendor is encouraged to print its certified questionnaire for paper filing in the event the System is not available when needed.

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Requirements for VendRep System use

Users (both vendor and State contracting entities) must have Internet access (using Internet Explorer or Firefox) and an email address to enroll in and use the System. If these requirements cannot be met in the workplace, Internet access is generally available at locations such as the local library, printing stores and Internet cafes. Free email accounts available from providers such as Hotmail and Yahoo can be utilized for VendRep access. All vendors have the option of filing a paper questionnaire.

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Meeting disclosure requirements without Internet access

The Electronic Records Signature Act (New York State Consolidated Laws, State Technology Law, Article 3) provides that even where electronic access and databases are available, use is voluntary and a vendor must be provided the option of filing a paper form. A vendor that is unable or chooses not to use the VendRep System can submit its Vendor Responsibility Questionnaire in paper format in accordance with the State contracting entity’s requirements. Printable versions of the online questionnaires are available at www.osc.state.ny.us/vendrep or may be obtained by contacting the State contracting entity.

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Access to online questionnaire

Prior to certification, only authorized vendor users have access to view, edit and/or certify the vendor’s questionnaire responses. Once certified, the vendor's responses are viewable by State contracting entity users and OSC users who have been authorized through the secure enrollment process. These users will not be able to add, delete or otherwise edit vendor-supplied information contained in the VendRep System. In addition, vendor users are not able to access other vendors’ information online.

As with the paper questionnaires, information from an online questionnaire may be released if it is public information, and may also be released in response to a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request. Vendors providing information that is generally considered public information should expect that this information may be available to others requesting such information, just as it has been prior to the implementation of the VendRep System.

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Types of online questionnaires supported by the VendRep System

The VendRep System incorporates the use of a number of questionnaires, based upon identifying characteristics of the vendor, specifically whether the vendor is For-Profit or Not-for-Profit, and whether the vendor bids on or anticipates bidding on construction contracts. Not all vendors answer the same questions; however, similar vendors are required to answer the same set of questions.

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Information about firms and organizations on the System

In its initial release, the System includes the online questionnaires, basic vendor data (legal business name, tax identification number, etc.), the ability for vendors to attach documentation, and a link to certain contract data on file at OSC. This same information is available to authorized State contracting entity users only after the vendor has certified its questionnaire.

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Updating and certifying online questionnaires

An online questionnaire is considered "current" if it has been certified within six (6) months of the agency-defined due date for the questionnaire, e.g., a bid due date or when an agency is considering a vendor for an award. However, even where there is a current certified online questionnaire, it is the vendor’s responsibility to ensure that the questionnaire reflects any material changes that have occurred since the vendor last certified its questionnaire. (As a best practice, vendors should update their questionnaire responses any time the information previously provided changes in a material way, including but not limited to changes in individual contacts, business entity officials, or other critical events. Additionally, vendors need to review information provided to remove any that is beyond the look-back period.)

State contracting entities or OSC may require updates at other times, e.g., if information has become known about a vendor that raises a concern.

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Data security on the VendRep System

Controlled access to the System is provided through the OSC Online Services enrollment process. Only enrolled users (both vendor and State contracting entity users) can access the System. Users must enter a unique username and password to access the System. It is up to each organization (vendor or State contracting entity) to delegate rights to the System to its users appropriately. In addition, the System restricts vendor users from electronically accessing any other vendor’s information.

All users must read and agree to the VendRep System User Agreement, which details privacy requirements and data usage restrictions. All information transmitted to or from the System is protected by standard encryption technology and is stored securely on a server maintained by the OSC. Please refer to the Information on VendRep Questionnaires page regarding information that may be available under the Freedom of Information Law.

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New tool available for searching New York State Contracts

As part of its initiative to make doing business with New York State easier, OSC has launched a powerful new search tool for New York State contract transactions. This tool is an enhancement added to the VendRep System, available to enrolled State agencies and business organizations. Now participating vendors and agencies will have access to more data than ever.