Jump to content

Search the Community

Showing results for tags '[]'.

  • Search By Tags

    Type tags separated by commas.
  • Search By Author

Content Type


Forums

  • Instructions and Terms of Use
    • Terms Of Use
    • Before You Register, Before You Post, Instructions for Writing Your Question
  • Contracting Forum
    • What Happened?
    • Polls
    • For Beginners Only
    • About The Regulations
    • COVID-19 And Its Effect on Contracting
    • Contracting Workforce
    • Recommended Reading
    • Contract Award Process
    • Contract Pricing Including CAS & Allowable Costs
    • Contract Administration
    • Schedules, GWACS, MACs, IDIQs
    • Subcontracts & Subcontract Management
    • Small Business, Socioeconomic Programs
    • Proposed Law & Regulations; Legal Decisions

Blogs

  • The Wifcon Blog
  • Don Mansfield's Blog
  • Government Contracts Blog
  • Government Contracts Insights
  • Emptor Cautus' Blog
  • SmallGovCon.com
  • The Contractor's Perspective
  • Government Contracts Legal Forum
  • NIH NITAAC Blog
  • NIH NITAAC Blog

Product Groups

There are no results to display.

Categories

  • Rules & Tools
  • Legal Opinions
  • News

Find results in...

Find results that contain...


Date Created

  • Start

    End


Last Updated

  • Start

    End


Filter by number of...

Joined

  • Start

    End


Group


AIM


MSN


Website URL


ICQ


Yahoo


Jabber


Skype


Location


Interests

  1. It’s commonly misunderstood that the FAR requires procuring agencies to consider the capabilities, past performance and experience of an offeror’s proposed subcontractors. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. But now, as part of a comprehensive new final rule, the SBA will require agencies to consider the capabilities, past performance and experience of small business subcontractors in certain cases. Many people believe that the FAR mandates consideration of a subcontractor’s qualifications, particularly past performance. Instead, for negotiated procurements, FAR 15.305(a)(2)(iii) says that agencies “should” consider the past performance of certain subcontractors–but “should” is not the same as “must.” Some other types of acquisitions, like FSS orders, don’t even go that far. While procuring agencies are bound to follow the ground rules set forth in their solicitations, they have broad discretion over the significance and weight given a subcontractor’s qualifications. For small business primes, in particular, this can occasionally lead to unpleasant surprises: the prime expects to get high scores thanks to its subcontractors’ capabilities, only to find that the agency has a different view. In a final rule published October 16, 2020, the SBA has taken some of the guesswork out of figuring out whether a procuring agency will consider a subcontractor’s qualifications. The final rule, which will be codified as 13 C.F.R. 125.2(g), says: When an offer of a small business prime contractor includes a proposed team of small business subcontractors and specifically identifies the first-tier subcontractor(s) in the proposal, the head of the agency must consider the capabilities, past performance, and experience of each first tier subcontractor that is part of the team as the capabilities, past performance, and experience of the small business prime contractor if the capabilities, past performance, and experience of the small business prime does not independently demonstrate capabilities and past performance necessary for award. It’s an important change, especially because the rule requires the procuring agency to consider the subcontractors’ qualifications “as” the qualifications of the prime contractor. That said, it’s also important to note that the new rule has three important limits. First, the rule only applies to the offer of a “small business prime.” Large business primes cannot avail themselves of the new rule. Second, the rule covers a “team of small business subcontractors.” Unfortunately, SBA’s commentary accompanying the final rule didn’t delve any further into this issue, but it seems SBA’s intent is that the new rule apply only to small business subcontractors, not large business subcontractors. Third, the subcontractor or subcontractors in question must be identified in the proposal. This, of course, is only logical: there is no good reason for a procuring agency to give an offeror evaluation credit for a mystery subcontractor. Despite these limits, the new SBA regulation will undoubtedly prove beneficial to many small prime contractors. The new regulation takes effect November 16, 2020. Questions about this post? Or need help with a government contracting legal issue? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919. The post SBA Requires Consideration of Some Subcontractors' Capabilities, Experience & Past Performance first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  2. If you’ve attended one of my presentations on joint ventures over the years, you’ve probably heard me climb up on my soapbox and proclaim that the so-called “three in two” joint venture rule is one of my least favorite rules in government contracting. If you ask me, the rule is both terribly confusing and so easily circumvented as to be largely meaningless. Perhaps the SBA was listening to me and others who strongly dislike the rule, because the the three-in-two rule is going away. Effective November 16, 2020, the SBA will replace the three-in-two rule with a different and much less confusing requirement–basically, a “two” rule. First things first: the three-in-two rule is an affiliation rule, not a hard limit on what joint ventures can and cannot do. When the three-in-two rule is violated, the SBA may find that the joint venture partners are affiliated for all purposes. Affiliation is not a good thing, but being affiliated with your joint venture partner is different than being prohibited from working with that partner at all. That said, because affiliation can cause joint venturers to lose small business eligibility, it’s reasonable for most joint venturers to essentially treat the three-in-two rule as a hard limit (which is what many people already believe it to be). There have been a few iterations of the three-in-two rule over the years. Under the version in effect as of the date of this post (October 2020), when a joint venture wins its first contract, a two-year window opens. During the two-year window, the joint venture can submit additional offers, until the joint venture receives its third award. If the joint venture submits an offer after the two-year window closes, or after the joint venture has received three awards (whichever comes first), the SBA may find that the joint venture partners are affiliated. The three-in-two rule has long been very confusing–especially the “three” part. “Three contracts” sounds simple enough, but what exactly is a “contract”? Do subcontracts qualify? Commercial contracts? Orders under IDIQs? How about blanket purchase agreements, which, technically, aren’t contracts at all? The SBA has provided a few answers over the years, but not nearly enough to dispel the confusion surrounding the requirement. Fortunately, the SBA’s new rule is significantly less confusing. The new rule simply deletes the “three” part, imposing an across-the-board two year window on joint venture bids: [A] specific joint venture entity generally may not be awarded contracts beyond a two-year period, starting from the date of the award of the first contract, without the partners to the joint venture being deemed affiliated for the joint venture. Once a joint venture receives a contract, it may submit additional offers for a period of two years from the date of that first award. An individual joint venture may be awarded one or more contracts after that two-year period as long as it submitted an offer including price prior to the end of that two-year period. SBA will find joint venture partners to be affiliated, and thus will aggregate their receipts and/or employees in determining the size of the joint venture for all small business programs, where the joint venture submits an offer after two years from the date of the first award. Under the current three-in-two rule, savvy joint venture partners can can circumvent the two-year restriction under the new rule simply by forming new joint ventures. In one rather eye-opening case, two joint venture partners won 15 contracts together over a four-year period. But these partners were smart: they won those contracts using eight different joint venture entities. The result? No affiliation! The new rule maintains the ability to easily circumvent the two-year restriction. It says: The same two (or more) entities may create additional joint ventures, and each new joint venture entity may submit offers for a period of two years from the date of the first contract to the joint venture without the partners to the joint venture being deemed affiliates. At some point, however, such a longstanding interrelationship or contractual dependence between the same joint venture partners will lead to a finding of general affiliation between and among them. The circumvention provision is so broad that the rule ends up being little but a de facto “gotcha” for people who don’t know how the rule works. Two companies who do a relatively small amount of business together can be found affiliated merely because they didn’t know they were supposed to form a new joint venture after two years. Meanwhile, two companies who do a lot more business are fine, because they trotted off to the local Secretary of State (or, more likely, went to the Secretary’s website) to fill out a one-page form, registering a new unpopulated entity. Affiliation can severely harm or even destroy a company’s government contracting business. To me, it’s unfair to impose such a devastating penalty for this sort of ticky-tack administrative oversight. That quibble aside, the new “two” rule is, in my opinion, a significant improvement over the three-in-two rule. A simple two-year clock will make it much easier for joint venture partners to understand and comply with the rule. Just remember to circle that two-year deadline on your calendar when your joint venture wins its first contract, because missing it could be a very bad thing. Questions about this post? Or need help with a government contracting legal issue? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919. The post Bye-Bye, "Three-in-Two" Joint Venture Rule first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  3. Amidst all the uncertainty that FY 2020 has brought, don’t let your understanding of SBA’s affiliation rules add to that list! Instead, join me and my colleague Steven Koprince for an exciting new learning opportunity. We will be presenting “Affiliations,” a virtual event hosted by the Iowa State University Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) PTAC. In this webinar, we will demystify the concept of affiliation in government contracts. We will explain (in plain English and using examples for key concepts) SBA’s rules surrounding common ownership and common management, as well as commonly misunderstood affiliation rules like those involving familial relationships and economic dependence. The event will take place on November 5, 2020, from 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (CDT). You can find additional information and register for this event here. The post Event: Iowa State University CIRAS PTAC Affiliations Webinar first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  4. The cold weather we’ve been getting this week might signal the end of the summer tomatoes and basil. But we can start looking forward to fall in earnest. For one thing, my kids are getting excited about Halloween. I hope SmallGovCon readers also have much to be excited about in the beginning of the federal fiscal year. To stay on top of what’s going on in federal contracting, remember to check out our upcoming legal update on October 22, but you can also read on for developments including expiring HUBZone flexibilities, brand name or equal rules, and a report on COVID-19 related loan fraud. HUBZone Program Updates [SBA Nebraska] CIO-SP4 Contracting Opportunities Abound [AFCEA] Brand Name or Equal: Without “Equal,” It’s Not Competitive [SSRN] American Contractor Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Steal Government Equipment from U.S. Military Base in Afghanistan [DOJ] Virginia Businessman Pleads Guilty to Bribery of FBI Official [DOJ] Small Business Administration: Covid-19 Loans Lack Controls and Are Susceptible to Fraud [GAO] Coronavirus has boosted federal contract spending [Federal News Network] How DISA is Targeting Work with Nontraditional Defense Contractors On A Traditional Contract [Fedscoop] The post SmallGovCon Week in Review: Oct. 12 – Oct. 16, 2020 first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  5. As we discussed, in late 2019 the SBA issued a proposed rule that would make a number of significant changes to the mentor-protege programs and other small business contracting rules. Well, the SBA will soon issue its final rule on these changes, so make sure you are aware of the new rules. The rule will be effective 30 days after publication date, and it’s scheduled to be published on October 16, making the effective date November 16 (also note that WOSB changes in section 127.504 will have an October 16 effective date). Here are the main items that the SBA will change under this rule: Consolidation of the 8(a) Mentor/Protégé Program into the All-Small Mentor/Protégé Program Changes to 8(a) contract procurement process Changes to the nonmanufacturer rule and limitations on subcontracting Revising the joint venture agreement approval process for 8(a) contracts Change to when a business has to recertify its size and status for orders under multiple award contract Removing the “Three” from the “Three-In-Two” rule for joint ventures Links to our discussions of the proposed changes can be found here. In a later post, we’ll highlight any differences between what the SBA had proposed and what made it into the final rule. Questions about this post? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919. The post Alert: SBA Issues Final Rule on Consolidation of Mentor-Protégé Programs and Other Contracting Rules first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  6. Fiscal Year 2020 is officially in the books. For small businesses in government contracting, it was a year of major changes–and many more changes are on their way in FY 2021. On November 22, please join me (virtually!) for “Small Business Contracting Update & 2021 Predictions,” sponsored by the National Contract Management Association, Boston Chapter. I’ll cover the biggest changes in FY 2020, from the HUBZone Program overhaul to WOSB certification to increases in the 8(a) Program economic thresholds. Then I’ll dust off my crystal ball and predict what’s on the way in FY 2021, including the long-awaited changes to the limitations on subcontracting and a revamping of the rules governing debriefings. It’s easy to register: just click here. I hope to see you for this great pre-Thanksgiving event! The post Event: Small Business Contracting Update & 2021 Preview first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  7. Recent changes to the FAR increased the simplified acquisition and micropurchase thresholds! For change highlights, check out my video: Have questions? You can reach me here. The post YouTube Tuesday: Simplified Acquisition & Micropurchase Threshold Increase first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  8. If you’re part of a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, you’ve probably heard of the “extraordinary circumstances” rule–but there’s a lot of confusion out there about what the rule is and how it works. So let’s get right to it. Here are five things you should know about the SDVOSB extraordinary circumstances rule. 1. The extraordinary circumstances rule allows limited negative control by non-service-disabled veterans. To qualify as an SDVOSB for federal contracts, whether under the SBA’s SDVOSB self-certification program or the VA’s SDVOSB verification program, a company must be controlled by service-disabled veterans. Control means, among other things, that individuals who are not service-disabled veterans ordinarily cannot have the power to block decisions made by the service-disabled veteran owners–a concept the SBA calls “negative control.” The extraordinary circumstances rule allows negative control in a few cases. According to the SDVOSB control regulation, “SBA will not find that a lack of control exists where a service-disabled veteran does not have the unilateral power and authority to make decisions in ‘extraordinary circumstances.'” 2. There are five–and only five–extraordinary circumstances. The SBA defines “extraordinary circumstances” to include five corporate actions: Adding a new equity stakeholder; Dissolution of the company; Sale of the company; The merger of the company; and Company declaring bankruptcy. Nothing else qualifies as an extraordinary circumstance, no matter how extraordinary it may seem. The SDVOSB control regulation is unambiguous: these five actions are the “only circumstances” in which negative control by a non-service-disabled individual is permitted. 3. Allowing negative control in extraordinary circumstances is optional, not mandatory. One of the most common misconceptions about the extraordinary circumstances rule is that SDVOSBs must offer certain non-service-disabled individuals (particularly, equity stakeholders in the company) negative control over the five extraordinary circumstances. Not so! Some SDVOSBs want to offer some measure of negative control to non-service-disabled stakeholders, believing that this will help attract investors. Others have no interest in offering their non-service-disabled stakeholders any negative control whatsoever. Under the extraordinary circumstances rule, it’s up to the SDVOSB. Allowing negative control in extraordinary circumstances is optional, not mandatory. An SDVOSB can offer a non-service-disabled veteran negative control in some, all, or none of the five extraordinary circumstances. 4. The extraordinary circumstances rule applies to VA VOSBs, too. Alone among federal agencies, the VA has the power to award set-aside and sole source contracts to verified VOSBs. In fact, VOSBs have the second-highest priority for most VA contracts, below only SDVOSBs. The extraordinary circumstances rule applies not only to SDVOSBs under the SBA and VA SDVOSB programs, but also to VOSBs seeking verification from the VA. The only difference, of course, is that in the case of a VOSB, the extraordinary circumstances rule allows non-veterans to have limited negative control over the decisions of veterans. 5. But be careful if you’re a WOSB or 8(a) Program participant. Among the major federal socioeconomic contracting programs, the extraordinary circumstances rule is unique to the SDVOSB/VOSB programs. Two other major socioeconomic contracting programs–the woman-owned small business program and the 8(a) Business Development Program–also require an eligible company to be controlled by certain individuals. While these programs’ control regulations look similar in many respects to the SDVOSB control regulations, the WOSB and 8(a) Programs do not include extraordinary circumstances provisions. SDVOSBs hoping to also qualify for these programs should be aware that allowing negative control for extraordinary circumstances may not pass muster in the WOSB or 8(a) programs. *** There you have it: five things you should know about the SDVOSB extraordinary circumstances rule. If you have questions about how the rule applies to you, please email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919. The post Five Things You Should Know: The SDVOSB "Extraordinary Circumstances" Rule first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  9. Happy Friday blog readers! Hope you are having a nice week. Kick back and relax with the latest federal contracting updates. This week saw some important federal contracting updates. SBA has increased its size standards for certain industries, among them agriculture, mining, some construction industries, as well as transportation and finance and insurance. Additional stories include a contracting officer sentenced for accepting bribes and GSA working on a new small business IT contract. Read on for the details. Small Business Size Standards: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting; Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction; Utilities; Construction [Federal Register] Small Business Size Standards: Transportation and Warehousing; Information; Finance and Insurance; Real Estate and Rental and Leasing [Federal Register] Former Federal Government Contract Officer Sentenced to Prison for Accepting Bribes [DOJ] GSA begins work on new small business IT contract, Polaris [Fedscoop] SBA Wants to Make 50,000 More Small Businesses Eligible for Federal Contracts [Small Business Trends] DOD Acquisition Chief Praises Reform Milestone [DOD] Federal Acquisition Regulation: Inflation Adjustment of Acquisition-Related Thresholds [Federal Register] The post SmallGovCon Week in Review: Oct. 5 – Oct. 9, 2020 first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  10. February of 2020 seems like a long time ago, for many reasons. But that was when the official version of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standards were released. Recently, the DoD issued an interim rule that will update the DFARS to implement the assessment methodology and CMMC framework for DoD procurements as well as add a new requirement for cybersecurity assessment under the NIST SP 800-171 framework. Here are some of the key points. The interim rule will be effective November 30, 2020, which is also the date that comments are due. I suspect there will be a lot of comments for this rule, so it’s interesting that the effective date and the deadline for comments are the same. I would suggest getting comments in early to have a better chance of DoD reviewing them. NIST SP 800-171 Rule This rule will implement both the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) 800-171 DoD Assessment Methodology and the CMMC Framework. But DoD asserts that the two “assessments will not duplicate efforts from each assessment.” DFARS 252.204-7012, Safeguarding Covered Defense Information and Cyber Incident Reporting, is included in all contracts except for acquisitions solely for commercially available off-the-shelf (COTS) items. Under this clause, DoD will assess a contractor’s implementation of NIST SP 800-171 security requirements to “covered contractor information systems” within a contractor’s computer network. More information on the NIST SP 800-171 DoD Assessment Methodology is available here. Under the proposed rule, contracting officers must verify that an offeror has a current NIST SP 800-171 DoD Assessment on record, prior to contract award, for applicable solicitations. This will be implemented through two new DFARS clauses: DFARS 252.204-7019, Notice of NIST SP 800-171 DoD Assessment Requirements, and DFARS 252.204-7020, NIST SP 800-171 DoD Assessment Requirements. Under DFARS 252.204-7019, if the offeror has no NIST SP 800-171 DoD Assessment score in place, “the Offeror may conduct and submit a Basic Assessment to webptsmh@navy.mil for posting to SPRS.” This email must include a list of required information, such as details about the “system security plan.” CMMC Rule There are a number of differences between NIST SP 800-171 and CMMC assessments. Under NIST SP 800-171, for the Basic assessment–the assessment levels are Basic, Medium, and High–the contractor does a self-assessment. In contrast, CMMC has five levels of assessment going from 1 through 5, and none of them allow a self-assessment. Another difference is that the government performs the two higher levels of NIST SP 800-171 assessment, while independent auditors (not government employees) will carry out all levels of CMMC certification. Results of assessments for both frameworks will be documented in the Supplier Performance Risk System (SPRS) DoD, in this interim rule, admits that it cannot assess the cyber security levels of the approximately 220,000 DoD contractors every three years. Therefore, the government assessment of contractors will be limited to “conducting targeted assessments for a subset of DoD contractors that support prioritized programs and/or technology development efforts.” The CMMC requirements address assessment for the thousands of contractors for which DoD will never conduct a direct assessment of cyber security. The CMMC framework is designed to assure the government that a contractor is safeguarding sensitive unclassified information, such as Federal Contract Information (FCI) and Controlled Unclassified Information (CUI), all the way down to its subcontractors. Here is a summary of the five CMMC levels: Consists of the 15 basic safeguarding requirements from FAR clause 52.204-21. Consists of 65 security requirements from NIST SP 800-171 implemented via DFARS clause 252.204-7012, 7 CMMC practices, and 2 CMMC processes. Intended as an optional intermediary step for contractors as part of their progression to Level 3. Consists of all 110 security requirements from NIST SP 800-171, 20 CMMC practices, and 3 CMMC processes. Consists of all 110 security requirements from NIST SP 800-171, 46 CMMC practices, and 4 CMMC processes. Consists of all 110 security requirements from NIST SP 800-171, 61 CMMC practices, and 5 CMMC processes. This CMMC rule will be found at DFARS 252.204-7021. However, CMMC will be on a phased rollout, which means it won’t be applicable to all contracts at the outset. Until September 30, 2025, the CMMC clause will only be included in a solicitation if it is approved by the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment. Starting October 1, 2025, “CMMC will apply to all DoD solicitations and contracts, including those for the acquisition of commercial items (except those exclusively COTS items) valued at greater than the micro-purchase threshold.” At that point, contractors must have a CMMC certification at the required level that is less than three years old. The new DFARS clause (DFARS 252.204-7021) will require a contractor to do the following: Maintain the requisite CMMC level for the duration of the contract; Ensure that its subcontractors also have the appropriate CMMC level prior to awarding a subcontract or other contractual instruments (prime contractors should consider including this certification in teaming agreements or subcontracts so that subcontractors certify as to their CMMC level if required for a contract); and Include the requirements of the clause in all subcontracts or other contractual instruments. A few other things to note about the CMMC requirement. First, timing: the required certification must be in place at time of award, not at time of initial offer. Second, there is a dispute process. A contractor can dispute its CMMC assessment by a CMMC Third Party Assessment Organizations (C3PAO). [T]he contractor may submit a dispute adjudication request to the CMMC-AB along with supporting information related to claimed errors, malfeasance, or ethical lapses by the C3PAO. The CMMC-AB will follow a formal process to review the adjudication request and provide a preliminary evaluation to the contractor and C3PAO. If the contractor does not accept the CMMC-AB preliminary finding, the contractor may request an additional assessment by the CMMC-AB staff. DoD’s new rule will require DoD contractors and subcontractors to have assessments in place for both NIST SP 800-171 and CMMC. The NIST SP 800-171 requirement will be in place starting November 30, while the CMMC certification will start being included in some solicitations starting that same date. By October 1, 2025, CMMC requirements will be included in all DoD solicitations. If contractors haven’t already reviewed these requirements, time is running out. Questions about this post? Or need help with a government contracting legal issue? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919 The post DoD CMMC Requirements Begin Rollout November 30 first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  11. While most of our get-togethers these days involve mask wearing, social distancing, and even virtual happy hours, spending time with friends is a great way to keep spirits light. Unfortunately for one group of friends, their weekly hangouts led GAO to conclude in its recent decision, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., B-418835 (Sept. 265, 2020), that NASA had to cancel a more than $650 million deal and start the procurement process all over. Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. and SGT, LLC both responded to NASA’s RFP No. 80MSFC19R0033, which was issued to acquire ground systems and operations services at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The resulting contract was to be relatively long term, with “a base period of one year and six option periods spanning an additional 7-year interval.” Ultimately, SGT received the award, valued at over $650 Million, but this didn’t sit well with Teledyne. Teledyne protested, arguing that “a current NASA employee who participated in the acquisition had an improper personal conflict of interest that tainted the acquisition.” Ultimately, GAO agreed. Throughout its decision, GAO refers to this NASA employee as “Mr. X” (an appropriate name for a James Bond villain in my opinion). Despite the sinister sounding pseudonym, Mr. X’s potential conflict of interest arose from his passion for a nostalgic table game. No, it wasn’t blackjack or baccarat: it was foosball. As it turns out, Mr. X is heavily involved in NASA’s acquisition activities as part of NASA’s procurement development team (or PDT). He is also long-time friends with a higher-up of the incumbent contractor, COLSA Corp., which SGT also proposed as one of its major subcontractors on the current procurement. As Mr. X explained, he had even attended a social gathering with the COLSA official every week “for the past 10 years” for “camaraderie, friendship, dinner, and to engage in competitive foosball.” Mr. X, however, is not really to blame: he told agency officials about these weekly foosball forays “on multiple occasions.” The agency simply advised him to “be careful and not to have the appearance of a conflict” but “took no action, either to investigate, or to address, the possible conflict arising out of these circumstances.” Later, however, NASA’s ethics counsel advised that the ongoing relationship might lead a reasonable person to question Mr. X’s objectivity and recommended that he be removed from the procurement’s source evaluation board. Notwithstanding the recommendation, NASA decided to keep Mr. X where he was because, in part, his continuation was “deemed vital to the successful completion of this procurement.” In the face of Teledyne’s protest, NASA argued that it had taken the appropriate steps to mitigate any conflict and “eliminated the possibility of prejudice either in favor of SGT or against the other offerors.” In particular, NASA’s mitigation plan required Mr. X to adhere to the “procurement integrity regulations as well as standards of ethical conduct,” to agree not to discussion source evaluation board matters outside of board controlled access areas, and to not take part in evaluation of any proposal involving COLSA. These efforts, however, were not enough for GAO, which concluded that because “Mr. X exercised an ongoing, continuous leadership role in the development of virtually every aspect of the agency’s acquisition,” a conflict of interest likely existed. Citing FAR 3.101-1, GAO raised several of its primary concerns. First, it pointed to the agency’s decision to ignore the opinion of its own ethics attorney, which plainly asserted that NASA should remove Mr. X from the source selection board. Next, it found that “none of the agency’s ethics review activities or deliberations considered [Mr. X]’s extensive, ongoing participation in the agency’s acquisition activities.” Third, GAO determined that NASA also failed to look into another potential conflict involving Mr. X and another participant in the weekly foosball get-together. In the end, GAO held that “although the agency did adopt some mitigation measures, it is not evident how those measures could be adequate in light of the totality of the circumstances.” As a result, GAO recommended that NASA not only cancel its award to SGT, but cancel the RFP in its entirety and start over from square one in order to most effectively avoid a conflict. It also recommended that NASA reimburse Teledyne for its filing costs. In the end, this decision provides a stark warning to agencies to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. If you have concerns about a potential conflict of interest, we are here to help! You can reach us here. The post Playing Games? GAO Requires NASA to Scratch 0 Million Contract Due to Foosball Snafu first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  12. Ever since the VA set up its SDVOSB verification program, critics of SDVOSB self-certification have been pushing for the government to expand SDVOSB verification government-wide. Now, it might finally happen. Section 831 of the House of Representatives’ version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act would expand SDVOSB verification government-wide, formally rename it “certification,” and transfer certification authority from the VA to the SBA. Here are some of the most important pieces of Section 831: Government-Wide SDVOSB Verification Won’t Happen Overnight. Section 831 calls for the certification requirement to kick in “2 years after the date of enactment of this section.” What’s more, the SBA and VA can jointly extend the enactment date “an unlimited number of times by a period of not more than 6 months.” The SBA Will Be in Charge. Under Section 831, the SBA, not the VA, will run the Government-wide SDVOSB certification program. The VA’s Center for Verification will be abolished and its functions transferred to the SBA. This move makes sense, given that the SBA runs all of the other Government-wide socioeconomic programs, and that SBA judges already provide oversight over SDVOSB and VOSB applications. The VA, however, will continue to determine whether an individual qualifies as a veteran or service-disabled veteran. Self-Certified SDVOSBs Get a Grace Period. Section 831 says that once the program goes live (an event the bill calls the “transfer date”), a self-certified SDVOSB will have one year to file an application for certification. If the application is filed within the one-year period, the company can continue to rely on its self-certification for non-VA contracts until the SBA makes a decision on the application. Failing to apply within one year, however, will render the self-certification invalid. After the grace period ends, self-certified SDVOSBs will no longer be eligible for set-aside and sole source contracts, government-wide. Section 831 would add this language to the Small Business Act: A contracting officer may only award a sole source contract to a small business concern owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans or a contract on the basis of competition restricted to small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans if such a concern is certified by the Administrator as a small business concern owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans. So there you have it–under the House’s FY 2021 NDAA, government-wide SDVOSB certification would become reality. And, in my opinion, it’s overdue: after the adoption of a WOSB certification requirement earlier this year, non-VA SDVOSB is the only remaining major socioeconomic self-certification for government contractors. I certainly understand the arguments against requiring a formal SDVOSB certification–such as the royal pain sometimes associated with certification applications. But the SDVOSB ownership and control rules are so complex, confusing and sometimes downright counterintuitive that I’ve seen many, many well-meaning self-certified SDVOSBs simply get it wrong, usually because of some flaw (or multiple flaws) in their paperwork. How many self-certified SDVOSBs get it wrong? Well, in a report earlier this year, the DoD Inspector General examined 29 self-certified SDVOSB awards, and found that 16–more than half!–didn’t meet the regulatory SDVOSB requirements. It’s a small sample size, and doesn’t mean that more than half of all self-certified SDVOSBs are ineligible, but it’s a concerning report nonetheless, and fits with my personal experience. With self-certification, the first time the government reviews a company’s paperwork and other eligibility information is when the SDVOSB has been named the awardee of a contract and an SDVOSB status protest is filed. By then, it’s too late to fix any problems: lose the protest, and the contract goes away. Far better, in my opinion, to have the government look company’s eligibility on the front end, before a contract hangs in the balance. But that’s just my two cents. We’ll see what the Senate thinks. The Senate’s version of the FY 2021 NDAA does not include a government-wide SDVOSB verification provision. The House and Senate must now resolve their differences in a conference committee and arrive at a final NDAA to send to the President. According to Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas, the Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, the conference report is likely to come shortly after the November 3 election. We’ll keep you posted here at SmallGovCon. Questions about this post? Or need help with a government contracting legal issue? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919 The post House-Passed 2021 NDAA Creates Government-Wide SDVOSB Certification Requirement first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  13. We’ve been having some great fall weather here in Kansas this week. From what I’ve heard from others around the country (other than the west coast), the cooler weather has definitely arrived. As you break out your sweaters and pumpkin spice . . . everything, check out the latest government contracting updates. This week’s news included record spending at the end of the fiscal year, a report on the VA’s Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor Program, and updates on the Chinese telecom ban. Federal Government to Conclude Fiscal 2020 With Record Spending [Nextgov] Wisconsin-Based Nonprofit To Pay $1.9 Million To Settle Allegations Of False Claims And Kickbacks On Federal Contracts For Blind Workers [DOJ] 10 tantalizing topics testing procurement in the new fiscal year [Federal News Network] Purge of Chinese Technologies Confusing, Rushed, Costly, Trucking Groups Say [Transport Topics] Actions Needed to Improve Management of Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor Program and Inform Future Decisions [GAO] Industry Groups Ask Lawmakers to Remove Core Cybersecurity Provisions from NDAA [Nextgov] Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement: Treatment of Certain Items as Commercial Items [Federal Register] Government’s recent track record with IDIQ contracts has been spotty [Federal News Network] The post SmallGovCon Week in Review: Sept. 28 - Oct. 2, 2020 first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  14. In my legal career representing hundreds of small businesses in government contracting, few topics have caused as much confusion as the limitations on how much work can be subcontracted on small business set-aside contracts and sole source contracts (like 8(a) Program direct awards). Earlier, working with my friends at Govology, I put together step-by-step compliance guides for service contractors, construction contractors, manufacturers, and nonmanufacturers. Each guide is written in plain English and includes examples to help demonstrate how the SBA’s limitations on subcontracting rule (13 C.F.R. 125.6) works in practice. Here’s where to find my limitations on subcontracting guides: Limitations on subcontracting guide for service contractors. Limitations on subcontracting guide for construction contractors. Limitations on subcontracting guide for manufacturers. Limitations on subcontracting guide for nonmanufacturers. While you’re on the Govology site, be sure to check out Govology’s live and on-demand training, including plenty of courses offered by the Koprince Law LLC legal team. Questions about this post? Or need help with a government contracting legal issue? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919. The post Limitations on Subcontracting: Step-by-Step, Plain English Guides first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  15. I’m pleased to announce a new learning opportunity from me and my colleague Steven Koprince! There’s been some big changes for government contractors over the last year, so it’s important to sort through them all. To aid that process, we will be presenting “Government Contracts Legal Update 2020,” a virtual event hosted by the University of Texas San Antonio PTAC. The event will take place on October 22 from 1:00 PM – 2:30 PM (CDT). More information can be found here. The post University of Texas San Antonio PTAC Legal Update first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  16. We all know online marketplaces are very popular among consumers, so it’s no wonder that federal agencies would want to get in on the action too. But a federal agency is different from an ordinary consumer because the federal government is required to purchase goods and services according to a vast array of federal statutes and regulations. When an agency tried to set up an online marketplace in violation of acquisition rules, GAO didn’t let it fly. GAO’s recent decision in Mythics, Inc., B-418785 (Sept. 9, 2020) involved a Library of Congress solicitation for cloud computing services. LOC would issue one IDIQ award for the contractor to provide 13 products or services from Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure. The protester argued the Solicitation was overly restrictive of competition in large part due to the requirement for online marketplace for cloud services. The protester argued that it was impermissible for the solicitation to require an “online marketplace” for third-party software applications. Specifically, “the cloud service provider essentially is performing an inherently governmental function because the cloud service provider acts as a ‘gatekeeper’ for what third-party software is available to be purchased” and such a marketplace will eliminate many of the basic responsibilities for agencies to acquire goods and services using full and open competition, including, for example, evaluating the products being offered, determining whether the prices offered are fair and reasonable, determining whether the firms providing the products are responsible, and determining whether the third-party vendors have improper conflicts of interest. GAO noted that it was the first time it had considered this online market place concern. But GAO was persuaded by a U.S. Court of Federal Claims case, Electra-Med Corporation, v. United States, 140 Fed. Cl. 94 (2018), aff’d and remanded, 791 Fed. Appx. 179 (Fed. Cir. 2019). In that case, “the VA effectively avoided numerous legal and regulatory requirements pertaining to the federal government procuring goods or services.” GAO had the same concerns with LOC’s online marketplace: it is “populated entirely with software offerings selected by the cloud service providers”; the “selection process for these third-party software products is unknown; and it’s “not subject to any of the bedrock requirements for competition applicable to federal agencies[.]” The agency won’t be selecting software based on the best solution, reasonable prices, responsible vendors, or compliance with any legal requirements. GAO ultimately sustained the protest by Mythics. This decision highlights an important aspect of federal procurement: unless there is an exception, the government must ultimately make the decision about which supply or service is the best value or the best option for the government. That decision cannot be outsourced to a separate contractor. If faced with a similar procurement in the future, GAO may come to the same conclusion and sustain a protest to the terms of the solicitation. Questions about this post? Or need help with a government contracting legal issue? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919. The post GAO Not Buying Agency's Proposed Online Marketplace Solicitation first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  17. If you’re contemplating a bid protest at the Government Accountability Office, meeting its task order jurisdiction threshold might be a box you need to check! Join me as I explain the details of GAO’s task order jurisdiction. Got questions? For more information, email us at info@koprince.com, or call (785)200-8919. The post YouTube Tuesday: GAO Task Order Jurisdiction first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  18. SBA recently issued a technical amendment to its SBIR and STTR Programs Policy Directive to clarify that successor-in-interest entities are, in fact, eligible to receive phase III awards. The amendment will take effect on October 1 of this year. SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are competitive, award-based programs that provide federal research and research and development (R/R&D) funding to encourage small businesses to engage in scientific and technological innovation. In accordance with the Small Business Act (the Act), the SBA issues policy directives for the SBIR and STTR programs. These directives outline the manner in which participating federal agencies must generally conduct their programs. Agencies have the discretion to tailor their programs to meet their needs within the bounds of the Act and SBA’s policy directives. The SBIR and STTR programs both follow a three-phase process for the government to solicit proposals and award funding agreements for R/R&D. Section 6(a) of the Policy Directive covers the general eligibility of entities to receive SBIR/STTR awards. And paragraph (5) of that section specifically addresses the “eligibility of entities that have received a novated award, a similarly-revised award, or are successor-in-interest entities.” But SBA recently determined that section 6(a)(5) requires clarification. So it revised the language through a technical amendment to be published in the Federal Register on October 1. Through its amendment, “SBA is clarifying this paragraph in order to confirm the Agency’s long-standing interpretation that permits successor-in-interest entities to receive phase III SBIR/STTR awards.” SBA explained the policy behind its long-standing interpretation and corresponding amendment as follows: The SBIR/STTR programs are intended to economically assist SBCs performing R/R&D work by creating an advantage for those firms to receive Government funding at the early often riskiest stage, from an investment perspective, through commercialization. This intention may be hindered if the SBC’s rights and interests in SBIR/STTR data cannot be assigned through a merger or sale with another business concern, along with the attendant incentives for non-competitive phase III awards. Such a policy interpretation would create inefficiencies in the marketplace and discourage valuations and transactions among businesses that may otherwise allow for greater investment in new ideas and products. As such, Section 6(a)(5) will now state: Novated/Successor in Interested/Revised Funding Agreements. An SBIR/STTR Awardee may include, and SBIR/STTR work may be performed by, those identified via a “novated” or “successor in interest” or similarly-revised Funding Agreement. For example, a phase III Awardee may have either received a prior Phase I or Phase II award or been novated a Phase I or Phase II award (or received a revised Phase I or Phase II award if a grant or cooperative grant) or be a successor-in-interest entity. This amendment may not have any dramatic effects on the way SBA conducts its Phase III awards, as it is merely codifying SBA’s long-standing interpretations. But regardless, it will add certainty and clarification to SBA’s SBIR and STTR Programs. If you have questions about how this amendment may affect your eligibility to receive a Phase III award, give us a call at Koprince Law, LLC. The post SBA Clarifies that SBIR and STTR Programs Will Allow Successor-In-Interest Transfers of Awards first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  19. Next week, I’ll be speaking on small business federal contracting issues at for the AFCEA South Florida chapter. But if you can’t catch that talk, there’s a lot of federal contracting news to catch up on this week. Read on below. Stories from the past week include the White House release of an executive order that may have some effect on federal contractors. The executive order requires a clause in federal contracts prohibiting federal contractors from using “workplace training that inculcates in its employees any form of race or sex stereotyping or any form of race or sex scapegoating.” ‘[R]ace or sex stereotyping’ means ascribing character traits, values, moral and ethical codes, privileges, status, or beliefs to a race or sex, or to an individual because of his or her race or sex, and the term ‘race or sex scapegoating’ means assigning fault, blame, or bias to a race or sex, or to members of a race or sex because of their race or sex.” Contractors should be aware of this new requirement, but we’ll have to see how it plays out in practice. Read on for other interesting stories. Executive Order on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping [White House]. Proposed rule clarifying the definition of employee under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) as it relates to independent contractors [Department of Labor]. AI Commission Wants to Know How Government Can Help Industry Boost Commercial Innovation [Nextgov]. IGs on pandemic oversight board warn job well done still means billions in fraud [Federal News Network]. House Passes Stopgap Spending Bill Seeking to Avoid Shutdown Through Dec. 11 [GovExec]. Government Contracts Fraud – Brodie Thomson Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison Following Guilty Plea [MeriTalk]. The post SmallGovCon Week in Review: Sept. 21-25, 2020 first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  20. Mark your calendars for next week. I’ll be speaking at the AFCEA South Florida’s SB Lunch and Learn on September 29 from 11:30am – 12:30pm eastern time. The topic is “10 things every Small Business should know about Federal Contracting Law.” AFCEA is an organization dedicated to “exploration of issues relevant to its members in information technology, communications, and electronics for the defense, homeland security and intelligence communities.” The event is open to all and registration information can be found here. The post AFCEA Small Business Talk September 29 first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  21. If the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation denies a company’s application for verification as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, the applicant has the right to appeal–but the appeal must be filed with the SBA, not the VA. In a recent case, an applicant tried to appeal its denial to the VA, apparently based on the erroneous advice of a VA employee. By the time the applicant realized that it had appealed to the wrong agency, it was too late. The decision of the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals in CVE Appeal of Starblast, Inc., SBA No. CVE-164 (Sept. 9, 2020) is a cautionary tale about the importance of knowing where to file a CVE verification appeal. On June 3, 2020, CVE denied Starblast’s SDVOSB application. Apparently, a VA employee advised Starblast to file an appeal with the VA. So that’s what Starblast did: on June 5, it emailed an appeal to vip@va.gov and verificationfollowup@va.gov. Once upon a time, the VA did have authority to decide appeals of CVE denials. But beginning in October 2018, that authority moved to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals. Current VA regulations say that “an applicant may appeal CVE’s decision to deny an application by filing an appeal with the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA).” The VA no longer has authority to hear such appeals. Starblast eventually realized its mistake and filed an appeal with SBA OHA on August 31. But by then, it was too late–SBA regulations require CVE appeals to be filed within 10 business says of receipt of the denial. The OHA judge wrote, “[a]lthough I sympathize with [Starblast], the regulations afford OHA no discretion to extend, or waive, the deadline for filing an appeal.” OHA dismissed Starblast’s CVE appeal as untimely. The SDVOSB regulations and processes have changed considerably in recent years. While that’s mostly been a good thing, it’s undoubtedly created some confusion, too, especially when it comes to the roles played by CVE and the SBA in the verification process. As Starblast unfortunately learned, following the 2018 changes, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals has exclusive jurisdiction over CVE verification appeals. Questions about this post? Or need help with a government contracting legal issue? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919. The post VA CVE Verification Appeals Must be Filed at SBA, Not VA first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  22. Every year, when the SBA releases its annual Small Business Procurement Scorecard, I hear from a few folks who mistrust the data. “I think small business awards are being over-reported,” is a pretty common theme for Scorecard skeptics. A new GSA Office of Inspector General report is a reminder that it’s not paranoia if people are really out to get you. According to the GSA OIG, the GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service over-reported small business contracts by a whopping $89 million in just two fiscal years. The GSA OIG sampled procurements that the FAS identified as small business awards in Fiscal Years 2016 and 2017. According to the audit report, the FAS’s identification of small business awards in the Federal Procurement Database System–Next Generation was severely flawed: We found that FAS’s reporting of small business procurements contained significant inaccuracies. We identified $89 million in procurements erroneously recorded as small business in FPDS-NG. The GSA OIG explained that the flawed data was the result of Contracting Officers reporting work under the wrong NAICS codes: We identified 10 procurements totaling $274 million for which the NAICS codes in FPDS-NG did not match the NAICS codes on the contract award documents. Four of those ten procurements, totaling $89 million, were large business procurements identified inaccurately in FPDS-NG as small business procurements due to the wrong NAICS code. In response to the OIG report, the FAS provided a corrective action plan. Hopefully the FAS’s efforts will eliminate these errors in the future. It’s worth noting that the GSA OIG didn’t review all FAS procurements from FYs 2016 and 2017–just a sample of 30 large small business contracts awarded in those years. Even from this limited sample, the GSA OIG found that small business awards were over-reported by nearly $90 million. The SBA gave the GSA an “A” for its small business achievement in FY 2016 and again in FY 2017, but skeptics wouldn’t be crazy to question whether those grades were deserved. Either way, let’s hope that the GSA’s corrective action plan produces trustworthy data moving forward. Questions about this post? Or need help with a government contracting legal issue? Email us or give us a call at 785-200-8919. The post GSA's Federal Acquisition Service Over-Reported Small Business Contracts by Million first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  23. On Monday, the calendar officially moves to fall. Hopefully you have plans to enjoy the last weekend of Summer 2020, whether it’s at the beach, the lake, or just firing up the backyard grill. Before the weekend begins, it’s time as always for our Friday rundown of the latest and greatest (or not-so-greatest) in federal government contracting. In this week’s edition, an Oregon man gets jail time for his role in a DoD fraud scheme, two members of the CMMC Advisory Board are unexpectedly out, the Air Force makes a long-term commitment to telework, and much more. An Oregon man has been sentenced to 3 1/2 years behind bars for his role in a $4 million DoD bribery and contract fraud scheme. [U.S. Department of Justice]. Responding to COVID-19 strained the VA’s supply chain, while modernization issues continue. [GAO]. The JEDI bid protest saga is “far from over.” [NextGov]. Two members of the CMMC Advisory Board have unexpectedly resigned. [Federal News Radio]. The FAR Council has proposed a new rule to encourage continuous feedback from industry on improving federal acquisitions. [Federal Register]. A Virginia contractor will pay more that $37 million to settle False Claims Act contentions related to an alleged bribery scheme involving military training simulators. [U.S. Department of Justice]. The Air Force says telework is here to stay, even after COVID-19 passes. [Federal News Radio]. The post SmallGovCon Week in Review: Sept. 14-18, 2020 first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  24. I wanted to wish our readers a fine National PTAC Day! The local PTACs are an invaluable resource for many federal contractors, especially those just starting out in the federal contracting space. There are PTACs in all 50 states. And those local branches serve over 48,000 clients. Be sure to give your local PTAC some love this week! The post Happy National PTAC Day! first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  25. The SBA’s “Certify” website, certify.SBA.gov, has fallen far short of meeting its objectives, according to an eye-opening report from the SBA’s Office of Inspector General. The OIG concludes that, despite an investment of $30 million, Certify “does not have many of the essential search, analytical, and reporting tools it was supposed to have.” Additionally, Certify’s lack of functionality has forced SBA employees to use time-consuming workarounds, causing delays in screening and approving applications, among other things. SBA began development of the Certify platform in 2015. As the OIG writes, Certify “was intended to improve SBA’s contracting programs by streamlining the certification process and creating a single portal where business owners and SBA analysts could benefit from more security, ease of use, efficiency, and flexibility.” Through Certify, applicants and participants in various SBA contracting programs, like the 8(a) Program, HUBZone Program, WOSB Program and All-Small Mentor-Protege Program, were supposed to have a one-stop shop for submitting documents and information. The SBA, in turn, would be able to access all necessary information electronically, in a single place. This, the SBA believed, would increase processing times and allow the SBA to be more responsive to the small business community. It hasn’t worked as intended. In fact, the OIG says, Certify has caused delays: We found that although Certify offers some functionality, according to Certify’s project managers, it does not offer many of the key essential search, analytical, and reporting tools it was developed to provide. To compensate for Certify’s shortcomings, program analysts must use labor intensive methods external to the Certify application, which decreases analyst productivity. Certify has delayed rather than improved the time it takes for program analysts to screen and approve applications, monitor progress, and terminate agreements for noncompliant 8(a) firms. The need for extra manual work outside the system has undercut Certify’s usefulness for both SBA contracting program administrators and program applicants and participants. What kind of delays? Well, while Certify wasn’t the only culprit, the OIG found that “the average number of days to approve 8(a) participant applications increased from 91 days in FY 2017,” before Certify was introduced, “to 138 days in FY 2019,” after Certify’s introduction–an increase of more than 50 percent. The SBA OIG also found many other major problems and shortfalls with Certify, such as: Certify “is missing several analytical tools” to determine whether applicants are eligible for SBA contracting programs. Certify “lacks reporting capabilities needed for program analysts to track the detailed status of participant reviews and adverse actions.” Although it was supposed to do so, Certify does not “help program analysts monitor the technical assistance provided to [8(a)] program participants and track their progress towards realizing business development goals.” Certify does not, as intended, reliably notify 8(a) firms of upcoming annual reviews. As of August 2019, “only 20 percent of the All Small Mentor-Protégé Program’s certification process had been implemented in Certify [and] the application was missing basic functionality, including notifications, application routing, communication with applicants, and reporting.” Although HUBZone applications were supposed to be added to Certify soon after it was introduced, “to date, SBA has not implemented a HUBZone application in Certify,” instead relying on a legacy application system that “no longer met the business requirements of the HUBZone Program as far back as 2010.” Despite being touted as a replacement for the SBA’s outdated Dynamic Small Business Search system, this function has yet to be added to Certify. Given this laundry list of significant problems, the SBA apparently has thrown in the towel on Certify. The OIG says: In August 2019, the [SBA] approved plans for all new development to be migrated to Microsoft Dynamics 365-based platform as part of SBA’s new enterprise customer-relationship-management system initiative. In September 2019, SBA awarded a $3.5 million contract to develop new certification management applications on the Dynamics 365 platform an a replacement for the Dynamic Small Business Search. When the SBA announced Certify, it seemed like a great idea. And conceptually, it was. But as Steve Jobs once said, “ideas are worth nothing unless executed.” Let’s hope that the second time around, the SBA gets it right. The post Inspector General: SBA's Certify.SBA.gov Platform "Has Not Accomplished Its Objectives" first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
×
×
  • Create New...