It’s a basic tenet of government contracting that a contractor must comply with the requirements of an agency solicitation. Those are the rules of the game. But in practice, there can be some tricky calls. For instance, what if a solicitation includes a requirement that appears to conflict with the FAR? Does an offeror still have to comply?
A recent GAO decision explored this situation in the context of a solicitation’s requirement for subcontracting plans.
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.
The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, if signed into law, includes a few changes designed to help small business subcontractors. Among those changes, the bill, which has recently been approved by both the House and Senate, includes language designed to help ensure that large prime contractors comply with the Small Business Act’s “good faith” requirement to meet their small business subcontracting goals.
GAO ordinarily will not hear any argument that is based on a company’s small business status, even if the alleged large company is only a proposed subcontractor.
In a recent decision, GAO declined to hear a protester’s argument that the awardee’s supposedly-small subcontractors were affiliated with other entities, holding that such a determination is reserved solely for the SBA.
An offeror on an unrestricted solicitation was not entitled to “extra credit” in the evaluation on account of its small business status.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that an agency, during its evaluation of proposals under an unrestricted solicitation, had no obligation award extra credit to the protester just because the protester was a small business. In its decision, the GAO rejected the protester’s argument that a FAR clause establishing a policy of maximizing small business participation required the agency to give an evaluation preference to a prospective small business prime contractor.
Large prime contractors operating under individual subcontracting plans would receive credit for small businesses performing at any subcontracting tier, according to a proposed rule issued yesterday by the SBA.
The proposed rule also requires large primes to assign a NAICS code and size standard to “solicitations” for subcontracts–a notion that may come as a surprise to prime contractors, many of whom do not typically issue formal subcontract solicitations.
A large business was tossed out of a government competition because the company’s small business subcontracting goal was substantially below the agency’s stated goal.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the agency acted reasonably when it rated the large business as “unacceptable” for failing to propose a sufficiently high small business subcontracting goal.