Something we frequently hear, when talking to those involved in the federal contracting industry, is that just when you think you have a handle on all the different ways federal contracting is run, you find out about another new program, authority, protest, guidance, regulation, or any other possible wrinkle of federal contracting. One prime example of this is that many individuals getting into federal contracting will often be surprised that the FAR is not the only standard that may drive how a procurement activity is handled. As we have blogged about in the past, “Other Transaction Authority” can come into play on certain procurements. The Department of Defense (“DoD”) utilizes this unique type of procurement authority and releases an “Other Transaction Guide” to dictate how this authority will be used. But with all things, only change is guaranteed, and any contractor who thought they knew this unique procurement authority’s ins and outs will need to take another look, as the DoD has just released a revised “Other Transactions Guide” based on industry guidance and regulatory changes.Continue reading
This Congressional report, issued December 27, 2022, provides a “discussion of acquisition flexibilities federal agencies may use to facilitate the government’s response to and recovery from disasters and emergencies.” The report explains the various types of flexibilities and some of the pros and cons of each. And it concludes by identifying several significant issues related to these acquisition flexibilities. Let’s take a look.Continue reading
The SBA recently released the Government Wide Small Business Procurement Scorecard for fiscal year 2021. This annual scorecard details information on the various categories of small businesses recognized by the SBA, including whether SBA met its goals related to small business federal contractors. Specifically, the scorecard is used to assess “how well federal agencies reach their small business and socio-economic prime contracting and subcontracting goals,” to “provide accurate and transparent contracting data,” and “report agency-specific progress.” SBA met or exceeded its goals in the majority of categories despite the fact that the overall number of small businesses decreased. Below, we take a look at the process, the numbers, and discuss which groups are, and which are not, receiving the greatest benefits.Continue reading
Federal and state-recognized Indian tribes and members of such tribes are presumptively socially disadvantaged, and if tribal association is verified, no further information is needed to verify social disadvantage for a Small Business Association (SBA) 8(a) program application. However, in 2021, the SBA Office of Inspector General (OIG) reported that, although the process for awarding 8(a) program status involves a multi-level eligibility review, the SBA does not have a formal verification procedure for verifying the federal or state-recognized status of Indian tribes associated with tribal applications. As such, GAO was asked to evaluate the SBA’s verification of 8(a) applications claiming federal or state-recognized tribal association. The following is a summary of those findings.Continue reading
GAO has released its annual bid protest report. Along with mashed potatoes and stuffing, it’s one of our favorite holiday traditions at SmallGovCon. This report came over a month earlier than last year, making this more of a Thanksgiving treat than Christmas this year.
A couple key takeaways are (1) the key effectiveness metric, showing numbers of sustains and corrective actions at GAO, was 48% for the 2021 fiscal year and (2) total bid protest numbers are down slightly, continuing a trend from the last few years.Continue reading
The number of small businesses receiving government contracts dropped yet again in Fiscal Year 2020–and the four-year decline is 12.7%.
In its FY 2020 goaling scorecard, the SBA reported that 45,661 distinct small businesses received contracts in the top 100 NAICS codes. The previous fiscal year, 46,661 distinct small businesses received contracts. Four years ago, when SBA first started including this statistic in its annual reports, the number stood at 51,866. Clearly, the numbers are going in the wrong direction.Continue reading
In 2020, the GAO Bid Protest effectiveness rate crossed the 50% threshold, higher than we’ve seen it in any recent year. Overall, cases filed went down a mere 2% year over year.
GAO issues its yearly report as a requirement under statute. Congress is particularly concerned with knowing 1) which federal agencies didn’t follow GAO’s recommendations in bid protests and 2) if GAO did not issue a decision in 100 days. As like most years, GAO was “pleased” to report that all agencies followed its recommendations, when given, and that it timely (within 100 days) decided all bid protests.Continue reading