If an agency offers an internal support contract (thinks custodial, elevator maintenance, admin suport, etc.) to the SBA as an 8(a) sole source, does the follow-on contract have to remain within the program? (EX. Base+ 4 years for elevator maintenance awarded via 8(a) program sole source expires. Is follow-on effort required to go through SBA 8(a), or can we solicit via GSA E-Buy, Full and Open, etc.)
I have search FAR and wide for any regulation that supports the popular (amongst the Contracting Proferssionals I work with) belief that "once in the 8(a) program, always in the 8(a) program". I have yet to find any regulatory guidance that supports this thought process. I did find the following:
FAR 19.804-4, Repetitive Acquisitions (appears to instruct agencies to resubmit the offering to SBA for any follow-on contracts that the agency wants to remain in the program).
The above link takes you to an SBA document. On page 115 of this document you'll find the following:
"25. Must a Procuring Activity Offer a Follow-On or Repetitive Requirement to SBA If It Wishes to Award the Successor Contract Under 8(a) BD?
A procuring activity must submit a new offering letter to SBA if it intends to award a follow-on or repetitive contract as an 8(a) award. This allows SBA to consider the appropriateness of the requirement for the program, whether it should be accepted for sole source or competitive award, eligibility of any nominated concern, and the effect of the award on equitable distribution of contract opportunities. The procuring activity should notify SBA if it does not plan to reoffer the requirement. See 13 CFR 124.503(f).
13 CFR 124.503(f) says the following:
(f) Repetitive acquisitions. A procuring activity contracting officer must submit a new offering letter to SBA where he or she intends to award a follow-on or repetitive contract as an 8(a) award. This enables SBA to determine:
(1) Whether the requirement should be a competitive 8(a) award;
(2) A nominated firm?s eligibility, whether or not it is the same firm that performed the previous contract;
(3) The affect that contract award would have on the equitable distribution of 8(a) contracts; and
(4) Whether the requirement should continue under the 8(a) BD program.
Finally, on the FAQ's for the HHS OSDBU (http://www.hhs.gov/osdbu/faqs/), the following, unsupported statement:
Q. How do I find 8(a) opportunities at HHS? (I thought that it was mandatory for Federal Agencies to set-aside opportunities for 8(a) contractors.)
A. The Small Business Act defines the 8(a) program as a procurement program. At its inception, it sought to develop small businesses that were socially and economically disadvantaged while providing the Federal Government a faster way to obtain goods and services. Unlike Small Business set-asides, there is no statutory requirement for Executive Departments to use the 8(a) program. Contracting Officers must determine if a specific requirement is conducive to the 8(a) program. It has been the practice of the Federal Government to maintain these requirements in the 8(a) program once that determination is made. Contracting Officers are also required to notify the SBA if they intend to ?remove? a requirement from the 8(a) program. The SBA has the sole authority over this decision.
This HHS FAQ is the only mention on a Government website I can find that even mentions this practice/philosophy. Can anyone else provide the regulation (or lack thereof)?