SBA Clarifies Subcontracting Plan Rules

The SBA recently issued a final rule concerning numerous aspects of small business contracting. In previous posts, we wrote about a few parts of the rule, including changes to the limitations on subcontracting. The new rule also clarifies some important facets of the rules governing subcontracting plans.

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Miscalculation of Subcontracting Percentage Leads to Sustained Protest

Agencies and contractors must do their math right (even fractions) when evaluating proposals against solicitation terms, and GAO will call them on it if they don’t. GAO recently sustained a protest where an agency improperly calculated a small business subcontracting percentage by including the prime contractor’s fee as part of the subcontracted costs when the fee shouldn’t have been included.

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Offeror Provides Only First Pages of Teaming Agreements, Gets “Marginal” Score

An offeror provided a procuring agency with only the first pages of its teaming agreements with proposed subcontractors–and received a “Marginal” score on the small business participation factor as a result.

In a recent decision, the Court of Federal Claims held that the agency reasonably downgraded the offeror for failing to provide its entire teaming agreements, saying that the agency correctly determined that it was unable to determine what work would be performed by the subcontractors.

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GAO: Subcontracting Plan Required by Solicitation Must be in Proposal

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.

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Small Business Goaling: Army Evaluation Offers Lesson For SBA

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.

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2017 NDAA Strengthens Subcontracting Plan Enforcement

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.

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GAO Won’t Evaluate Subcontractor’s Small Business Status

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.

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