Please join attorney John Holtz, as he heads back to his home state of Nebraska, to the Meet the Buyers Conference. This is Nebraska’s premier government contracting conference where businesses can advance their contracting knowledge, connect with other business owners, and network directly with agency representatives and buyers. John will be doing two presentations: joint ventures, as well as size and affiliation issues.
Don’t miss the chance to meet directly with Federal, State, and Local government agency reps, government contracting industry people, and resource providers and please stop by the Koprince McCall Pottroff table and say hi to John. More information and registration here.
SBA, like other agencies, publishes a semiannual Regulatory Agenda to provide an update on the various rules it has coming up as well as a timeline for when they will be published or become final. While SBA doesn’t have to meet these timeframes, it’s always good to check in on what SBA has been working on when the final rules will come out. This agenda includes an update on increased size standards, along with some other important rules. Here is a summary of the upcoming rules and what we think could most impact federal contractors. Be sure to comment on these rules if you have an opinions on them.
SBA recently revised its affiliation regulations in a number of ways, some of which we have already discussed here. We have likely sounded pretty upbeat about most of SBA’s recent updates thus far, as the majority do seem to be a step in the right direction–adding clarity to SBA’s rules and furthering the policies SBA seeks to enforce. Well, not trying to rain on any parades here, but at least one of SBA’s recent regulatory updates, (at least in our humble opinion) has the potential to confuse federal contractors regarding SBA’s affiliation rules. That update revised the language in SBA’s “Two-Year Rule” for small business joint ventures–though, it really didn’t change the substance or effect of the rule, at all. Let’s take a closer look.
You may have noticed that SBA issued a final rule last week that created sweeping changes to the SBA’s 8(a) Program regulations, but along with that, SBA made sure to slip in a change to the ostensible subcontractor rule that has been a sticking point for many contractors when facing affiliation concerns. With this final rule, SBA will update the regulations to provide contractors certain ways to defend against potential ostensible subcontractor rule affiliation, depending on the type of contract at issue. This represents a shift in thinking, related to how to combat allegations brought under this affiliation rule and could present some new wrinkles for contractors to consider when setting up subcontracting arrangements.
In a recent decision, the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) examined a company that received two Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant awards. The SBA Area Office had determined that the awardee was not an eligible small business due to ostensible subcontractor affiliation and other reasons. This decision is an important reminder for SBIR candidates on how they should structure subcontracting teams, as SBA will examine SBIR awardee eligibility.
This is a the second article of two taking you back to the basics of affiliation. The first, giving you a general overview of affiliation, can be found here. This follow-on article goes through the different bases for affiliation, as set forth in SBA’s affiliation regulations. Keep in mind though, this is still affiliation “basics” and does not go into a detailed analysis of each type of affiliation, as that would be a novel–not a blog.
Affiliation is quite possibly one of the scariest words to small business government contractors. And it is easily one of the most misunderstood concepts in SBA’s small business regulations. Perhaps the widespread fear and misunderstanding are due to the fact that there are so many potential bases for affiliation listed in SBA’s rules–or the fact that you can be found affiliated with another company even if SBA finds that none of the listed bases for affiliation are met. Or maybe its the fact that, while affiliationisn’t always a bad thing, it can lead to severe consequences, like preventing an otherwise responsible and eligible business from competing under set-asides contracts.
Either way, this “Back to Basics” blog will be the first of two blogs that will “unpack” this concept for you, hopefully, removing some of the mystery. This first blog will provide a general overview of affiliation and what it means for government contractors, while the second blog will focus on the different types of affiliation.