House-Passed 2021 NDAA Creates Government-Wide SDVOSB Certification Requirement

Ever since the VA set up its SDVOSB verification program, critics of SDVOSB self-certification have been pushing for the government to expand SDVOSB verification government-wide. Now, it might finally happen.

Section 831 of the House of Representatives’ version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act would expand SDVOSB verification government-wide, formally rename it “certification,” and transfer certification authority from the VA to the SBA.

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VA CVE Verification Appeals Must be Filed at SBA, Not VA

If the VA Center for Verification and Evaluation denies a company’s application for verification as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, the applicant has the right to appeal–but the appeal must be filed with the SBA, not the VA.

In a recent case, an applicant tried to appeal its denial to the VA, apparently based on the erroneous advice of a VA employee. By the time the applicant realized that it had appealed to the wrong agency, it was too late.

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VA Updates, Expands, and Clarifies Its Verification Assistance Briefs

The VA and SBA have numerous regulations defining the eligibility requirements for participation in the veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small business programs. To help laypersons better understand these regulatory hurdles the VA publishes Verification Assistance Briefs.

These “are resources to assist applicants in obtaining VA Verification for the Veterans First Contracting Program” and understand SBA’s ownership and control criteria. The VA recently updated all of its existing Briefs and added some new ones. Read on for an overview of the 26 Briefs and a more detailed look at some of the more notable ones.

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SBA OHA: Joint Venture Agreement Must Explain Venturers’ Responsibilities

Joint venture agreements continue to be a hot topic among small business federal contractors. For good reason: if the agreement is properly prepared, a joint venture allows two companies (including, in the case of an approved mentor and protégé, a large business) to augment their capabilities and jointly bid on a federal project.

But to avail themselves of this benefit, the venturers must first prepare a joint venture agreement that complies with the SBA’s requirements. Sometimes, this task can be quite tricky. And as a recent decision of the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals shows, the failure to have a compliant joint venture agreement can cost the joint venture an award.

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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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Government-Wide SDVOSB Certification: More Details on New Bill

I’ve long predicted that Congress would eventually adopt a formal, Government-wide SDVOSB certification program (or “verification” program, if you prefer).  Maybe my crystal ball is finally right.  As we wrote last week, a new bill introduced in the House of Representatives would do just that.

The full text of the bill has now been published.  Here are some of the key details of the Government-wide SDVOSB certification proposal.

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