VA CVE, Under New Rules, Closely Examining Franchise and Similar Agreements

Government contractors seeking to be certified through the Vets First Verification Program under the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation have to submit a number of documents. We’ve recently been hearing that CVE is taking a closer look at some of these documents, and this is in line with VA’s recent rule change expanding its list of required documents for verification.

Specifically, CVE will examine franchise agreements and similar documents like distributor agreements. Depending on the language in those agreements, this could lead to a denial of CVE verification. Because of that, we offer a reminder of CVE’s position on these types of agreements, which seems to still be quite strict in spite of regulatory changes implemented last fall.

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OHA Confirms: SDVOSBs Owed Notice and Opportunity to Respond Before Verification Cancellation

For service-disabled veteran owned small businesses, or SDVOSBs, contracting with the VA, verification by the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation, or CVE, is essential. CVE verification is mandatory to compete for VA SDVOSB set-asides and listing on the VA’s Vendor Information Pages (VIP).

The SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals recently confirmed that notice and opportunity to respond to allegations is required before a business’ verification is cancelled.

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VA SDVOSB Reverification: Now Every Three Years, Not Two

SDVOSBs and VOSBs will only be required to obtain reverification every three years under an interim final rule adopted yesterday by the VA.

The VA’s new rule replaces the prior rule, which required reverification every two years.  The purpose of the change?  To “reduce the administrative burden on SDVOSB/VOSBs regarding participation in VA acquisition set asides for these types of firms.”

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VA Proposes SDVOSB Program Overhaul

The VA is proposing a major overhaul to its SDVOSB program regulations–including the rules governing ownership and control.

In a proposed rule released today, the VA is seeking to “find an appropriate balance between preventing fraud in the Veterans First Contracting Program and providing a process that would make it easier for more VOSBs to become verified.”  And while the proposal isn’t perfect, it looks like a step in the right direction.

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VA CVE Dodges A Bullet: 2015 NDAA Omits SBA Verification Transfer

The VA CVE appears to have survived a Congressional effort to strip the CVE of its verification function.

In May, the House of Representatives included a provision in the 2015 NDAA that would have required the CVE to transfer SDVOSB verification to the SBA.  But after negotiations with the Senate, the House passed a new version of the 2015 NDAA last week–and the new version omits the verification transfer provision.

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GovConChat: The CVE, WOSB Sole Sources, GSA Schedule, & More

My friend Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition has launched GovConChat, which Guy described as a “candid and informative conversation with movers, shakers and thought-leaders from around the federal contracting community.”

Earlier this week, I joined Guy for a GovConChat segment.  We discussed several major changes that could be implemented as a result of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, as well as a recent court case holding that an offeror did not qualify for a GSA Schedule task order when the offeror’s affiliate (but not the offeror itself) held a GSA Schedule contract.  You can listed to our entire chat by following this link.

GovConChat is a great new resource to help contractors obtain perspectives from across the industry.  Go check it out, and let me know if there is a particular blog post–or other government contracts legal issue–that you would like to hear me discuss in a future segment.

VA CVE Improperly Disqualified SDVOSB, Says Federal Court

SDVOSBs—and basic fairness and common sense—were big winners in a recent decision issued by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In its decision, the Court held that the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation violated the law when it disqualified a SDVOSB, without giving the SDVOSB the opportunity to contest the reasons for the disqualification. In an opinion reminiscent of last year’s landmark Miles Construction case, the Court then held that the CVE’s substantive reasons for the disqualification were arbitrary and unreasonable.
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