Contractor responsibility is to be considered before every federal contract award, but what about task orders issued under an FSS contract? Are contractors still subject to responsibility inquiries when competing for orders?
According to GAO, the answer is, “yes.”
The Section 809 Panel has recommended that Congress eliminate most small business set-asides for DoD acquisitions. The Panel would replace the longstanding set-aside system with a meager five percent small business price preference.
For small government contractors, this recommendation is the policy equivalent of a five-alarm fire. Small contractors may need to fight hard to save the set-aside system.
Get ready for a battle.
An agency was not required to evaluate past performance under an SDVOSB set-aside solicitation that contemplated making award to the lowest-price, technically-acceptable offeror.
According to a recent GAO bid protest decision, a past performance evaluation in the context of an LPTA set-aside is essentially duplicative of the agency’s evaluation of responsibility, meaning that a separate past performance evaluation isn’t necessary.
Contracting officers have wide discretion to determine that a business can perform the work in question—even if the business is about to enter bankruptcy.
In a recent GAO protest, an unsuccessful offeror challenged just such a determination, saying that there is no way the awarded business could perform because it was nearly bankrupt. But according to the GAO, so long as the agency considered the pending bankruptcy, it was not improper to make an award.
The Department of Labor has announced a new “preassessment” initiative, under which a government contract can voluntarily ask the DOL for an assessment of the contractor’s record of labor law compliance.
The preassessment program is designed to help contractors discover if they may have any trouble with their mandatory disclosures under the new Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which will take effect beginning on October 25. Voluntary use of the preassessment program may be a good idea for any contractor with a history of labor issues, but I wonder what will be more likely–contractors choosing to use it on their own, or being pushed to use it by prospective teammates?
A small business received an “unacceptable” score for its key personnel, but nevertheless was awarded the contract after the matter was referred to the SBA under the Certificate of Competency procedures.
A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims demonstrates the breadth and power of the so-called “COC” process, which can allow an otherwise “unacceptable” business to wind up in the winner’s circle.
The SBA does not evaluate compliance with the limitations on subcontracting as part of the SBA size protest process.
In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that subcontracting limits are the domain of the procuring agency, which is to consider compliance (or lack thereof) as part of its responsibility determination.