To be awarded a government contract, a company must do more than submit the winning proposal — it must be “responsible.” The concept of responsibility in government contracting is far-reaching and can include such things as having adequate financial resources, a satisfactory ethical record, acceptable past performance, and even required security clearances.
On July 15, please join me and Chris Coleman as we discuss this cornerstone of government contracting in a session hosted by Govology. Chris and I will cover responsibility in-depth, including what is inclued in the FAR’s definition of responsibility, how the government evaluates responsibility, and how a small business can challenge a non-responsibility determination through the SBA’s Certificate of Competency process.
It’s easy to register: just click here. See you on July 15!
You can’t believe it. You did everything right. The solicitation required that offerors have three distinct licenses. You have two, but one should cover for the license you don’t have. However, the agency says you have to have all three as distinct licenses, and denies your offer. Fortunately, you have a potential savior: The Certificate of Competency (“COC”)
For small businesses, the SBA’s Certificate of Competency process can offer a powerful “second bite at the apple,” essentially allowing a small business to appeal to the SBA if a procuring agency finds the small business non-responsible.
But the SBA CoC process is limited to findings of non-responsibility under FAR Part 9. As GAO recently held, there is no right to appeal to SBA if the proposal was rejected for failing to adequately explain the small business’s technical approach.
Your small business is interested in submitting a proposal that requires a Department of Defense Facilities Clearance (FCL). While you will not have the required FCL when proposals are due, you have applied for the FCL and all signs indicate you will have the FCL by the time contract performance begins. In this scenario, can the agency outright deny your proposal or would it have to refer your proposal to the SBA for a certificate of competency?
Turns out, it all hinges on whether GAO views the FCL requirement as a matter of proposal acceptability or corporate responsibility.
If a contracting officer determines that a small business offeror is not qualified to perform under a solicitation, that usually means the offeror’s proposal will be rejected. In some instances, however, the offeror gets a second chance through the SBA’s Certificate of Competency (“COC”) program.
Here are five things you should know about the COC program.
The breadth and depth of protests heard by GAO may lead even a seasoned government contractor to overlook the limitations of GAO’s jurisdiction.
As one contractor recently found, the GAO generally will not consider
protests based on an allegation that the agency should not have referred an
adverse responsibility determination to the SBA for a certificate of competency