There are several new developments in the government contracting arena which will have an effect on how you do business with federal, state and local agencies in the future.
New rules soon will affect woman-owned and small disadvantaged-owned businesses; more transparency is being called for in both monitoring functions and contract award decision-making; a sharper focus is being given to federal contract awards to small businesses; federal contract spending is predicted to drop; and government acquisitions are “going green.”
To help you track these developing trends, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) presents this quick reference guide:
- The National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) recently submit comments on the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)’s proposed rule for the Women’s Procurement Program on behalf of its members. You can find NAWBO’s views here, read the Small Business Administration’s summary of the Mar. 2, 2010 proposed rule here, and read the full text of the proposed rules here. On July 28, 2010, the head of the SBA told the House Small Business Committee that the women’s small business contracting program will start before the end of 2010; details here.
- There are new rules also being proposed for changes in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s disadvantaged business enterprise (DBE) program; an article containing details can be seen here.
- Increased calls for transparency, from both within and outside of government, are getting attention. Pointing to the absence of a centralized federal database listing instances of contracting misconduct, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) is now compiling and providing such data on its own. You can find sortable details here. In addition, the Sunlight Foundation combines data from the Federal Procurement Data System and the Federal Assistance Award Data System to create a free, searchable database of federal government contracting and spending, which you can access here. Meanwhile, the General Services Administration (GSA) and federal acquisition councils are seeking advice from the public on how best to publish contract information; details here.
- In recent weeks, the volume has been turned up on the federal government’s contract spending with small businesses. While it’s the government’s policy to award 23% of its contracts to small businesses, numerous reports show that not only has this goal been missed but that large businesses — misclassified as small businesses — are receiving these set-asides. A recent news article by the president of the American Small Business League summarizes this problem. The Government Accountability Office (GAO) documents ineligible firms receiving government contracts designated for service disabled veteran owned small businesses here, and ineligible firms receiving contracts set-aside for small disadvantaged 8(a) firms here. The White House, meanwhile, recently called for the establishment of a pair of interagency task forces to help federal agencies award more contracts to small businesses; details here.
- The president’s proposed FY2011 budget includes $36 billion fewer federal contracting dollars. This is about a 5% cut over the current year ending Sept. 30, 2010. The new budget reflects a freeze on discretionary spending as well as an “insourcing” initiative, meaning fewer contractors and more government workers. Read an article about an analysis of the proposed federal contracting budget here. See details on how insourcing could hurt small businesses here.
- More and more attention is being given to contractor performance as a factor in contract award decisions. Click on the hyperlinks here to read articles about the Navy’s proposed “preferred contractor program” and the establishment of the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) which took effect on April 22, 2010. You also can read about a bi-partisan effort in the Senate that could double the length of time contractors’ performance records remain active in government databases.
- Energy efficiency and savings, green construction, green technology and smarter acquisition decisions — all continue to be emphasized in current government contracting. Recent articles about each of these topics here.
Keep watching www.gtpac.org to see reporting on the latest developments in all aspects of government contracting.
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