House committee approves bills to increase agencies’ small biz goals and more

March 10, 2014 by

The House Small Business Committee has marked up and approved a six-pack of contracting reform bills, including legislation that would raise the current agency goals for steering work to small businesses.

The package approved Wednesday would particularly affect the construction industry, women, and disabled veterans. It includes a plan to raise agencies’ small-business prime contracting goal from 23 percent to 25 percent and establish a 40 percent goal for small-business subcontractors.

“Greater small business involvement in federal contracting benefits companies and taxpayers alike,” said panel Chairman Sam Graves, R-Mo., who sponsored the bill outlining the new contracting goals. “Small firms are innovative, and increased competition often leads to savings for the taxpayers.”

A second Grave bill would “improve transparency and accountability” by discouraging bundling of contracts to give an advantage to large companies over small businesses. Bills sponsored by Rep. Richard Hanna, R-N.Y., would restrict the government’s use of reverse auctions in awarding construction contracts and increase construction companies’ access to surety bonds for use in federal procurement work.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/03/committee-approves-bill-increase-agencies-small-biz-contracting-goals/80023 

House small business committee tries again to increase small business contracting goals

March 3, 2014 by

Agencies have not met the governmentwide goal of awarding at least 23 percent of all prime contracts to small businesses since 2006.

Despite that, Rep. Sam Graves (R-Mo.), chairman of the Small Business Committee, believes it’s time to raise the goal.

Graves introduced legislation last Wednesday (Feb. 26, 2014) to increase the percentage of contracts that are mandated to go to small firms to 25 percent, which equates to about $10 billion more a year for these companies.

The Greater Opportunities for Small Business Act of 2014 would create a goal for agencies to ensure 40 percent of all subcontract awards go to small businesses, increasing from 35.9 percent. The bill also would require that only prime contract awards can count toward the prime contract goal.

Graves introduced the Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act of 2014 last week.

This bill will try to bring more data and transparency to how agencies bundle contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/65/3570622/Rep-Graves-tries-again-to-increase-small-business-contracting-goals 

GSA doesn’t measure agencies’ inclusion of small businesses in strategic sourcing, GAO says

February 28, 2014 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) hasn’t developed a performance measure to determine small business participation in strategic sourcing initiatives and the Office of Management and Budget hasn’t monitored agencies’ efforts to include small businesses, a recently release Jan. 23 Government Accountability Office report says.

While documentation shows that agencies generally do consider small businesses in strategic sourcing contracts, the report says, there isn’t agency data and performance measures that would provide a more precise understanding of the inclusion of small businesses.

The Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) can’t be used to track the extent of strategic sourcing across the federal government and its effects on small businesses because there is no strategic sourcing category in the system, GAO says.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-doesnt-measure-agencies-inclusion-small-businesses-strategic-sourcing-g/2014-02-25 

Proposed rule streamlines agency small business spending

February 13, 2014 by

The Defense Department, General Services Administration and NASA are proposing to amend federal acquisition guidelines to help streamline small business purchasing, according to a notice in the Feb. 3 Federal Register.

The proposed rule would clarify that agencies can continue to claim credit toward their small business spending goals even if the small business has left the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) program – as long as the contract award was made while the business was in the program.

However, if the small business no longer represents itself as a small business in future contracts, agencies can no longer count any spending with that company under its small business goals.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140203/ACQ02/302030012/Proposed-rule-streamlines-agency-small-business-spending 

GSA updates strategic sourcing tool for office supplies

December 6, 2013 by

The General Services Administration in late November published a draft update of its seven-year-old strategic sourcing initiative aimed at reducing the costs of agency office supply purchasing.

The new statement of work titled “Office Supply Third Generation,” or OS3, is “the agency’s latest effort to cut costs and increase efficiencies by buying everyday supplies like pens, paper and printing items from a list of vendors with negotiated low prices,” GSA said in a release. It is expected to save $65 million a year in reduced administrative costs and $90 million through lowered prices, with 76 percent of purchasing contracts going to small businesses. Since 2006, the program has saved agencies $350 million, according to GSA.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2013/12/gsa-updates-strategic-sourcing-tool-office-supplies/74702 

Little guys complain they’re tossed aside as big contractors absorb cuts

November 22, 2013 by

Computer Frontiers Inc.’s owner thought she’d gotten a break when Stanley Inc. agreed to team up with the small technology company in the U.S. government market.

Instead, Barbara Keating says she feels betrayed. Canada’s CGI Group Inc., after buying Stanley, touted the relationship to win orders in the past three years under a State Department visa-processing contract valued at as much as $2.8 billion. Then it mostly cut the small business out of the deal, sending some work overseas, according to a federal lawsuit.

“We were a big part of winning the contract,” Keating said in a phone interview. “We definitely thought we’d all grow together because of this relationship. But that obviously didn’t happen.”

Large companies are increasingly reducing subcontractors’ roles to help cope with $1.2 trillion in automatic federal spending cuts that began in March, according to attorneys and contracting specialists. Those grievances have reached U.S. officials, who want to know when vendors won’t be working with small businesses that helped them get the work.

“We went to many different parts of the country and met with companies, and in almost every city there was someone that said this was an issue,” said Ken Dodds, director of policy, planning and liaison for the U.S. Small Business Administration.

The Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 demanded that the government start requiring contractors that operate under a subcontracting plan to notify agencies when they’re not using small businesses that were part of their bids, Dodds said. A regulation to implement that part of the law hasn’t been approved.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-07/little-guys-said-tossed-aside-as-contractors-absorb-cuts.html

Popular small business course scheduled to be repeated

November 1, 2013 by

The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech is repeating its three-day course that delves into the intricacies of the government’s Small Business Programs.  The course focuses on the government’s efforts to improve small business participation in prime contracting and subcontracting.

Because of its relevance and popularity, the course is now scheduled to be held:

  • Dec. 3 – 5, 2013
  • Jan. 21 -  23, 2014
  • Apr. 15 – 17, 2014
  • July 8 – 10, 2014

All classes will be held in the world-class Global Learning Center on Georgia Tech’s campus in midtown Atlanta.

Known as “CON 260B – Small Business Programs,” the course is a Defense Acquisition University (DAU) level 2 contracting course that goes a long way to ensure that those in the acquisition field – DoD and non-DoD agencies alike – are more aware of and responsive to small business concerns.  Historically, this class was designed for small business specialists, however The Academy has fashioned this class so that it is applicable to all interested parties – senior executives, managers, contracting officers and contracting staff, small business specialists from all agencies, small business advocates, and large and small business concerns.

A review of DAU’s prerequisite course, CON 260A, is included in the Contracting Academy’s course.

On February 10, 2012 Ashton B. Carter, then Deputy Secretary of Defense released a memorandum regarding “Advancing Small Business Contracting Goals.”  The memo (seen here) reiterates how essential small businesses are to our nation’s economic recovery because they produce more jobs, represent a major source of innovative solutions to warfighter needs that help maintain our status as the world’s finest military, and contribute more to gross domestic output.  The Contracting Academy is committed to supporting Department of Defense and other agency directives aimed at achieving higher levels of small business participation in federal contracting.

Carter’s memo identifies all leaders who manage budgets and allocates funds for contracts in addition to contracting officers as being collectively responsible for achieving the 23 percent goal.  To ensure that this collective responsibility is met, Carter announced that senior executives will be rigorously evaluated and held accountable.  A mandatory performance requirement for supporting this goal includes language that “establishes a command or program climate that is responsive to small business concerns.”

The Academy’s CON 260B is very relevant to the training needs of everyone involved in the process of seeing to it that small businesses participate in government contracting and subcontracting opportunities.  This includes, of course, small businesses themselves.

The Academy offers CON 260B, a 3-day course, as an open enrollment course which virtually ensures seating for all registrants.  Register here for the next CON 260B – Small Business Programs class at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

2.1 CEUs are granted to those successfully completing this course.

This 3-day course is also available for instruction at your site.  For more information or to make arrangements, call 404-894-6109 or email ude.hcetag.ymedacagnitcartnocnull@ofni.

DoD could develop “Vets First” contracting program

September 23, 2013 by

Awaiting U.S. Senate approval is a bill passed by the House of Representatives this summer that would require the Department of Defense (DoD) to take steps toward the development of a contracting program, patterned after a program developed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), designed to increase contract awards to veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs).

Back in June, Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick of Pennsylvania introduced, and the House unanimously passed, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013.   If approved by the Senate and signed into law, the DoD will be required, as a first step, to perform a study analyzing the potential benefits of adopting its own “Vets First” program.   DoD would work with the VA and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to develop a report detailing what impact contract set-asides for VOSBs would have on issues like veteran entrepreneurship and veteran unemployment.

If this law is implemented, it is presumed that DoD would develop a program similar to the VA’s Vets First Program.  Created in 2006, through the enactment of the Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006, Vets First allows the VA to designate (“set aside”) certain contracts exclusively for VOSB and service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) concerns.  The VA’s Vets First program favors VOSB and SDVOSB companies over other disadvantaged groups when the VA sets aside a procurement for small business.  In its first seven years, the program has resulted in the award of tens of millions of dollars in contracts for VOSB and SDVOSB companies.

The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) will follow this story and will keep GTPAC clients advised of any developments.

3-day course covers all federal small business programs

September 11, 2013 by

The Contracting Education Academy at Georgia Tech is offering a three-day course delving into the intricacies of the government’s Small Business Programs, including efforts to improve small business participation in prime contracting and subcontracting.   The course will be held Oct. 29-31, 2013 in the world-class Global Learning Center on Georgia Tech’s campus in midtown Atlanta.

Known as “CON 260B – Small Business Programs,” the course is a Defense Acquisition University (DAU) level 2 contracting course that goes a long way to ensure that those in the acquisition field – DoD and non-DoD agencies alike – are more aware of and responsive to small business concerns.  Historically, this class was designed for small business specialists, however The Academy has fashioned this class so that it is applicable to all interested parties – senior executives, managers, contracting officers and contracting staff, small business specialists from all agencies, small business advocates, and large and small business concerns.

A review of DAU’s prerequisite course, CON 260A, is included in the Contracting Academy’s course.

The Contracting Academy is committed to supporting the latest Department of Defense (DoD) directive aimed at achieving higher levels of small business participation in DoD contracting.

On February 10, 2012 Ashton B. Carter, the Deputy Secretary of Defense released a memorandum regarding “Advancing Small Business Contracting Goals.”  The memo (seen here) reiterates how essential small businesses are to our nation’s economic recovery because they produce more jobs, represent a major source of innovative solutions to warfighter needs that help maintain our status as the world’s finest military, and contribute more to gross domestic output.

Carter’s memo identifies all leaders who manage budgets and allocates funds for contracts in addition to contracting officers as being collectively responsible for achieving the 23 percent goal.  To ensure that this collective responsibility is met, Carter announced that senior executives will be rigorously evaluated and held accountable.  A mandatory performance requirement for supporting this goal includes language that “establishes a command or program climate that is responsive to small business concerns.”

The Academy’s CON 260B is very relevant to the training needs of everyone involved in the process of seeing to it that small businesses participate in government contracting and subcontracting opportunities.  This includes, of course, small businesses themselves.

The Academy offers CON 260B, a 3-day course, as an open enrollment course which virtually ensures seating for all registrants.  Register here for the next CON 260B – Small Business Programs class at Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

2.1 CEUs are granted to those successfully completing this course.

This 3-day course is also available for instruction at your site.  For more information or to make arrangements, call 404-894-6109 or email ude.hcetag.ymedacAgnitcartnoCnull@ofni.

Air Force is on-board with OASIS

September 4, 2013 by

The list of Air Force operations eyeing the General Services Administration’s One Acquisition Solutions for Integrated Services contracts is growing.

The Air Force Space and Missile Command, according to an Aug. 22 GSA blog post, has officially said it wants to use the dedicated Small Business OASIS contact (OASIS SB) instead of its own SMC Technical Support program. GSA estimated the value of this commitment, which will encompass virtually all Systems Engineering and Technical Assistance (SETA) activities at Los Angeles Air Force Base, at $472 million over five years.

On July 31, GSA released two OASIS requests for proposals. One is an unrestricted contract that includes a 50-percent small business subcontracting goal.  OASIS SB is a 100-percent small business set-aside.

Two other Air Force groups — the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio and the Air Force Test and Evaluation Center at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida — have publicly announced their decision to use OASIS SB, according to a GSA spokeswoman. Those commitments and the latest announcement combine to represent an estimated value of $1.3 billion per year for the OASIS small business community.

Keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2013/08/23/air-force-oasis-gsa.aspx