Small Business Set-Asides Not Required For Simplified Acquisitions Outside U.S., Says GAO

Small business set-asides are not required for simplified acquisitions conducted outside the United States and its outlying areas, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.

In Latvian Connection General Trading and Construction LLC, B-408633 (Sept. 18, 2013), the GAO rejected the protester’s contention–which was backed by the SBA–that simplified acquisitions must be set-aside whenever the “rule of two” is satisfied, notwithstanding the fact that the procurement is outside the United States.

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Strange But True: Small Business Protests Small Business Set-Aside

Recently, I brought you the story of a contractor protesting its own award.

Now, in the same “strange but true” category comes a GAO bid protest decision in which a small business argued that the procuring agency should not have set aside the procurement for small businesses.

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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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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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