New OCI Law Focuses on Private Sector Contracts, More Examples, More Procedures

Late 2022, the president signed a law that would increase what contractors have to reveal about potential organizational conflicts of interest. The law is called the Preventing Organizational Conflicts of Interest in Federal Acquisition Act. Below, we highlight some of the main things contractors should out look for based on this new law.

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Back to Basics: Get in the Zone, The HUBZone

The SBA’s HUBZone  Program, short for “Historically Underutilized Business Zone,” is likely the SBA program that we hear the least about. Tucked away in Title 13, Section 126 of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, the HUBZone Program gives HUBZone participants benefits in multiple federal government contracting situations in an effort to revitalize historically underutilized business zones through increased employment opportunities, investments, and economic development. So, what exactly makes an area a HUBZone, and how can your small business be designated as a HUBZone participant? Read on to find out.

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Law to Create One Stop Shop for Small Businesses Questions

In late 2022, Congress passed and the President signed a law that aims to make it easier for Small Business Contractors to track down small business compliance information for the wide range of agencies involved in government contracting, that are currently housed somewhere within each specific agency’s website. In this post, SmallGovCon reviews this law, and through it, can examine with our readers where you can currently find the many resources available for small business issues at federal agencies. While these small business offices may not be able to solve all your problems as a federal contractor, a free resource is always good to have.

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Final FAR Amendment Encourages Procuring Agencies to Engage with Industry

DoD, GSA, and NASA are issuing a final rule that amends the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), effectively implementing a provision of the 2016 National Defense Authorization Act. The rule permits and encourages agency acquisition personnel to engage in responsible and constructive exchanges with the industry, provided that such exchanges remain consistent with the applicable law and refrain from promoting any unfair competitive advantages.

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Help on the Way? Proposed National Defense Authorization Act for 2023 Grants DoD Discretion to Allow Inflation Relief for DoD Contractors

The annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), in essence Congress’ annual budget for the Department of Defense (DoD), commonly includes various riders and attachments that amend or create other federal laws. For example, the 2022 NDAA (finally) gave SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals the authority to hear appeals of HUBZone protests (something SBA just recently proposed a rule regarding), and the 2021 NDAA is why SDVOSB self-certification is ending and SBA is taking over the job of carrying out certifications from the VA (SDVOSB contractors, SBA will start accepting applications on January 9, 2023, as we discuss here.) The 2023 NDAA is no exception, and as it is currently proposed, the DoD would get a lot more discretion to help out its contractors in light of inflation.

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Agencies Do Not Have Unlimited Discretion to Cancel Solicitations, Says the COFC

In its recent decision, the Court of Federal Claims decided whether and when an agency can cancel a FAR part 15 procurement and start from scratch. Agencies have historically been afforded extremely broad discretion in cancelling solicitations. But in this case, the court agreed with the protester that cancellation was wrongful. It also laid out the details of a proper versus improper solicitation cancellation quite nicely. Thus, this landmark decision provides crucial guidance on the subject for agencies and federal contractors alike.

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SBA Provides Answers on Vets Certification Program Roll-Out in Q&A Session

On December 6, 2022, the SBA held a virtual Q&A session to discuss the roll-out of the Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and Veteran Owned Small Business (VOSB) certification program. They will be assuming responsibility as of January 2023 and the SBA will begin accepting applications for certification on January 9, 2023. Through the Q&A session, the SBA provided some tips for contractors, an explanation of the processes that are controlling the SBA’s SDVOSB and VOSB certification program, and even gave attendees a preview of the software that will be used. Of course, SmallGovCon was there to get all the details so that we can break them down for you.

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