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.
For Fiscal Year 2017, SBA’s small business goaling scorecard awarded 21 agencies grades of “A+” or “A” for their small business contracting and subcontracting. Two agencies received a “B” and a single, lonely agency brought up the rear with a “C.” Not one agency received a grade below “C,” even agencies that missed most of their small business goals.
It was a “record breaking” performance, to hear SBA tell it. But these inflated grades do a disservice to the public and government alike. So long as almost everyone is going to get a top grade anyway, I say we just replace next year’s SBA goaling grades with agency participation trophies.
It’s that time of year again. School’s ending for the summer and kids are coming home (some sheepishly) with their report cards. And with the close of Fiscal Year 2017, the federal government has also been given its report card.
Like last year, the FY 2017 report card reveals a mixed bag. Though the SBA gave the federal government another “A,” the bottom-line numbers reveal a troubling trend for small business government contractors.
The number of DoD small business contract actions has dropped almost 70 percent since Fiscal Year 2011, even as the total number of small business dollars increased significantly. This is one of the important new findings from an acquisition reform panel’s initial report.
The Advisory Panel on Streamlining and Codifying Acquisition Regulations–better known as the Section 809 Panel–recently released the first in an anticipated three-volume series of reports on ways to potentially reform and improve DoD acquisitions. The report, which clocks in at a whopping 642 pages, includes a detailed section on DoD small business acquisitions–and suggests that DoD’s focus on achieving dollar-based small business goals has obscured the fact that far fewer small businesses have been awarded DoD contracts in recent years.
Last month, I wrote that the SBA shouldn’t have awarded the government an “A” for its FY 2016 small business goaling achievement. Even though the government exceeded the 23% small business goal, it missed the WOSB and HUBZone goals (the latter by a lot).
In a different context, a recent U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal evaluation offers a grading lesson for the SBA. In that case, the Corps assigned a large prime offeror a middling “Acceptable” score for small business participation where the offeror proposed to meet the contract’s overall small business subcontracting goal, but not the SDB, WOSB, HUBZone, VOSB and SDVOSB goals.
Earlier this month, the GAO released a comprehensive report detailing the trends in government contracting over a five-year period (from fiscal year 2011 through 2015). The entire report is available here. If you have a few hours to spare, it’s worth a read; if not, this post will summarize a few of its most eye-catching nuggets.
Love is in the air this weekend as Valentine’s Day approaches. And even if that special someone isn’t the chocolate-and-flowers type, nothing says true love like giving the gift of the latest government contracting news and notes. And best of all, it’s free!
In this week’s edition of SmallGovCon Week In Review, the government appears to have hit its 23% small business goal for the third year running, a contractor will fork over $1 million to settle DOT DBE fraud claims, new data suggests that agencies are cutting back on lowest-price, technically acceptable contracts, and much more.