When the SBA evaluates a size protest, it is not required to investigate issues outside of those raised in the size protest itself.
A recent decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals demonstrates the importance of submitting a thorough initial size protest–and confirms that the SBA need not investigate issues outside of the allegations raised in the protest.
According to the GAO, a business qualifies as small for purposes of a task order competition under a Governmentwide Acquisition Contract so long as the business was small for purposes of the underlying GWAC, and the Contracting Officer does not request size recertification in connection with the task order. And even if recertification is required for the task order, the operative date to determine small business status is the date of the task order offer–not the date the task order is awarded.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO and SBA both weighed in on the question of small business size status for task order competitions, providing some helpful clarity on this often-confusing topic.
A contractor was eligible for award of a small business set-aside task order because the contractor was “small” as of the date of its task order proposal–even though the contractor outgrew the size standard by the time the task order was awarded.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a contractor may qualify for the award of a set-aside task order based on the date of its initial proposal, even in cases where the agency is prohibited from taking small business credit for the award.
When a small business submits an offer for a Blanket Purchase Agreement issued against a GSA Schedule contract, the offeror does not automatically recertify its size. Rather, a new regulation effective December 31, 2013 provides that an offeror’s size status for a BPA issued against a GSA Schedule ordinarily is determined by looking to the offeror’s self-certification for the underlying GSA Schedule contract.
In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals relied, in part, on the new regulation to find that an offeror had not recertified its small business status by submitting a quotation for a BPA to be issued against the offeror’s GSA Schedule contract.
Submitting a proposal for a task order under an 8(a) Government Wide Acquisition Contract does not result in automatic recertification of the offeror’s small business size status.
In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that unless the Contracting Officer expressly requires recertification, an offeror’s size for an 8(a) set-aside task order is governed by that offeror’s size status for the underlying GWAC.
Submitting a proposal for a GSA Schedule task order does not result in an automatic recertification of the offeror’s size.
In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals rejected the argument that an offeror recertifies its size merely by submitting a proposal for a GSA task order. Instead, a firm’s size for purposes of a GSA Schedule task order competition is determined based on the underlying GSA Schedule contract, unless the procuring agency requires recertification for the task order.
If a contractor ends up on the losing end of a SBA size protest, the contractor has the right to appeal to the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals. The problem is that SBA OHA size appeals can take months. A contracting officer may be unwilling to wait, and simply award the contract to the next company in line.
Neither the FAR nor the SBA’s regulations require the contracting officer to suspend award or performance pending SBA OHA’s decision. However, as a recent case demonstrates, if the SBA OHA appeal has a reasonable likelihood of success, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims may issue an injunction prohibiting the procuring agency from awarding the contract pending the result of the SBA OHA size appeal.