SBA Certificate Of Competency Cannot Cure Incomplete Proposal

The SBA’s Certificate of Competency procedures cannot be used to cure a small business’s incomplete proposal.

In a recent bid protest decision, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held that the procuring agency could not lawfully cure a firm’s omission of mandatory proposal information by submitting the matter to the SBA for a Certificate of Competency.

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No SBA Certificates of Competency for GPO Contracts, Says GAO

The Government Printing Office is not required to refer non-responsibility determinations involving small businesses to the Small Business Administration under the Certificate of Competency program.

According to a recent GAO bid protest decision, the GPO’s status as a legislative entity exempts it from the Certificate of Competency process–much to the disappointment of the small business protester in question.

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Federal Court: Small Business Set-Aside Threshold “Purposefully Low”

The FAR’s threshold for meeting the so-called “Rule of Two” for small business set-asides is “purposefully low,” according to a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In Adams & Associates, Inc. v. The United States, No. 12-731C (2013), the Court rejected a challenge to a small business set-aside, holding in part that a contracting officer need not conduct a thorough responsibility evaluation of prospective small business offerors before issuing a set-aside.

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VA Refuses To Issue Set-Aside Based On Prospective Offerors’ Experience, Resources

In a troubling case, the VA recently refused to issue a small business set-aside because responses to a Request for Information indicated that prospective small business offerors lacked similar experience with the VA, and did not currently have available the personnel, equipment and facilities necessary to perform the contract.

The GAO, ignoring the recommendation of the SBA, affirmed the VA’s decision to forego a small business set-aside.

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8(a) Company Misses Key Personnel Requirements–But Wins Contract Anyway

An 8(a) company failed to satisfy a solicitation’s experience and key personnel requirements, but the 8(a) company walked away with a $23.9 million contract anyway–thanks to the SBA.

The GAO’s bid protest decision in Coastal Environmental Group, Inc., B-407563, B-407563.3, B-407563.4 (Jan. 14, 2013) demonstrates the power of the SBA under its certificate of competency program to second-guess procuring agencies’ determinations with respect to corporate experience, the resumes of key personnel, and other responsibility matters.

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GAO: Ostensible Subcontractor Rule Not Part of Set-Aside Decision

When deciding whether to set aside a solicitation for small businesses, procuring agencies need not consider whether prospective small business offerors can perform the contract without violating the SBA’s ostensible subcontractor rule.

This was the ruling of the GAO in a recent bid protest decision, in which the GAO held that a procuring agency had properly set aside a contract for small businesses without prior consideration of the ostensible subcontractor rule.  The GAO’s decision aligns with the one discussed in yesterday’s post, in which the GAO held that an a procuring agency need not consider the individual capabilities of potential small business offerors to meet all solicitation requirements before setting aside a solicitation.

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GAO: Small Businesses’ Capabilities Not Part Of Set-Aside Decision

A procuring agency is not required to evaluate whether potential small business offerors possess the capabilities to meet all of the requirements of a solicitation before issuing the solicitation as a small business set-aside, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.

In Swank Healthcare, B-407367 (Dec. 12, 2012), the GAO denied a large business’s bid protest, holding that the procuring agency had properly issued a small business set-aside without first considering whether the small businesses it had identified as likely offerors possessed the capabilities to meet all of the requirements of the solicitation.

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