GAO: VA’s Compliance Oversight of Subcontracting Limitations Needs Improvement

Recently, the GAO issued a report discussing the VA’s Veterans First Program, made at the request of several members of Congress. The report focused on addressing ongoing implementation challenges regarding compliance with the Rule of Two following the Kingdomware decision.

One of the key challenges facing the VA is ensuring that SDVOSBs comply with the limitations on subcontracting. According to the GAO, the VA’s oversight needs improvement.

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SBA Mentor-Protégé Joint Ventures: Even GAO Appears a Tad Confused

The SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé program offers a tremendous opportunity for participants to pursue set-aside contracts as joint venture partners.  But misunderstandings and misconceptions about how SBA mentor-protégé joint ventures work are pervasive.

One very common misconception is that the SBA must pre-approve a mentor-protégé joint venture.  In most cases, that’s not so.  In a recent bid protest decision, even the GAO appeared a little confused, repeatedly mentioning SBA approval of a joint venture even though no such approval was required for the contract in question.

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SmallGovCon Week in Review: October 22-26, 2018

I was unexpectedly out of the office Friday afternoon, so I didn’t get a chance to post our weekly look at the latest and greatest in government contracting.  But better late than never!  It’s time for a slightly-delayed version.

In last week’s edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, we have articles about House representatives requesting investigation of the JEDI contract, a report that suggests the 8(a) program is full of ineligible participants (with commentary by Koprince Law LLC partner Matthew Schoonover), GSA creates new a Solicitation Review Tool to better ensure contract compliance, and much more.

Happy Monday!

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GSA Schedule BPA Award Does not Allow for Size Protest

Generally, a size protest must be filed within five business days of when the protester receives notice of the identity of the awardee.  But there are some nuances to this rule, such as whether a corrective action will extend the deadline and whether the clock starts running upon notice of the prospective awardee or the actual contract award date (Hint: notice of awardee).

But when does the 5-day protest period start to run in the context of a Blanket Purchase Agreement issued under a GSA Schedule contract? A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision is a reminder that the award of a BPA does not trigger a new 5-day period to file a size protest.

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GAO: Competition Alone Doesn’t Mean Prices are Reasonable

When the federal government awards a contract, the government must ensure that the price it pays is “fair and reasonable.”  In other words, the government cannot pay a price that is too high.

If a contract is awarded on the basis of competitive proposals, an agency may be able to establish price reasonableness by comparing the prices proposed by competing offerors.  But as demonstrated in a recent GAO bid protest decision, competition alone doesn’t mean that the prices received are reasonable–the government still must compare offerors’ prices to determine reasonableness.

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GAO: WOSB Set-Asides and Sole Sources are Discretionary, not Mandatory

Historically, Uncle Sam has struggled to meet its WOSB contracting goals. It wasn’t until 2015, in fact, that the government first met its WOSB contracting goal and, since then, has continued to struggle to meet it.

Thankfully, agencies are authorized to use set-asides and sole-source awards to increase WOSB participation. But as a recent GAO decision shows, an agency isn’t required to use either procedure.

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GAO Recommends Successful Protester Be Placed in MATOC Pool

Multiple-award task-order contracts are becoming an increasingly common feature of government contracting, and many carry very high ceiling values. This places participation in MATOC awards at a premium.

Unsurprisingly, base MATOC awards are being protested with some frequency before GAO. In a recent decision, GAO provided a unique solution for sustaining MATOC protests without causing substantial disruptions: simply adding the successful protester to the pool.

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