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Tags Archives: System for Award Management

IT-70 Prepares For a New Addition With the Creation of a Cyber Security SIN

Source: Winvale – GSA Schedule Blog

10 Important Facts About the New Health IT SIN

Source: Winvale – GSA Schedule Blog

Everything You Need to Know About the HCaTS Contract Vehicle

Source: Winvale – GSA Schedule Blog

Evaluating Small Businesses in the Federal Marketplace

Evaluating Small BusinessesA critical function of the Small Business Administration (SBA) is determining whether or not a business is actually small when a relevant party claims otherwise. Relevant parties in this case include contract offerors, contracting officers, SBA government contracting area offices, competitors, and other government officials. If a relevant party suspects that the proposed awardee is not a small business under the SBA’s requirements, that party can file a “size protest” with the responsible contracting officer. The contracting officer is required to forward the protest to SBA’s Office of Government Contracting and Business Development, which then has 10 days to make a decision. This sector of the SBA serves to maintain the integrity, efficiency and impartiality of the Federal marketplace for small businesses. These efforts of the SBA assure that small businesses have attractive opportunities within the Federal market.

The Federal government sets aside certain contract bid opportunities exclusively for small businesses. Many government agencies require that a percentage of procurements be set aside for small businesses. The SBA works with Federal agencies to award at least 23% of all prime government contract dollars to small businesses. The SBA also helps Federal agencies meet specific statutory goals for small disadvantaged businesses, women-owned small businesses, service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses, and small businesses that are located in historically underutilized business zones.

Small businesses that wish to take advantage of these opportunities in the Federal market must obtain proper certifications that also document special capabilities or statuses to help companies compete in the Federal marketplace. The certification of your company as a small business takes place during the registration process within the System for Award Management (SAM) database.

In SAM, you must self certify your company as a small business and specify any special statuses. When certifying your company as a small business you must meet the Federal government’s definition of a small business. To determine if your company meets the small business size requirements based on your NAICS code please refer to the Table of Small Business Size Standards Matched to North American Industry Classification System Codes. Agencies can search for your business in the SAM database based on several factors, including capabilities, size, location, experience and ownership.

To improve the competitiveness of your small business within the Federal market, register your company in the SAM database. If you would like to further the competitiveness of your small business within the Federal marketplace, becoming a GSA Schedule holder will provide your firm with additional benefits.

GSA Suspension and Debarments Increase

suspension and debarmentsGSA recently released some interesting information regarding their process for contractor suspensions and debarments. In 2007, the GSA Inspector General issued a negative report on GSA’s Suspension and Debarment (S&D) program. At the time, the issues identified were a lack of dedicated staff, lack of appropriate skill sets for staff, and a significant case backlog. GSA put resources into fixing these issues by recruiting staff with legal training, developing detailed policies and procedures, eliminating case backlog, and instituting a digital case tracking system. The improvements were positive, as GSA’s S&D program was recognized in 2011 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) as a model program for the entire federal government.

Once a case is referred, a decision is made by the Suspension and Debarment Official (SDO) to continue the process. If a contractor is proposed for debarment or suspended, the contractor is listed on the System for Award Management (SAM) and notified via writing. Contractors can then submit a response to demonstrate present responsibility and also request a meeting with the SDO. From there, the SDO makes a final decision on the action needed. There are several potential outcomes, including suspension, proposed debarment, debarment, administrative compliance agreements, or no action.

For FY2012, there were 389 total S&D actions, which represents a significant increase over FY2011. The most common outcomes for 2012 were proposals for debarment (26%), debarments (19%), and terminations (13%). Only 4% of cases resulted in no action in 2012, far less than in 2011. For 2012, the causes for debarments included theft (16%), failure to perform (11%), fraud (11%), false statements (8%), and conflict of interest (6%), among others.

Present responsibility is the most important factor for determination of the outcome of a S&D case. Present responsibility focuses on the present and future ability of a contractor to responsibly contract with the Federal Government. This includes ethics, integrity, compliance with laws, and the ability to adequately perform. Present responsibility is an overall evaluation of the contractor – not of a particular act or omission. Factors for present responsibility include: standards of conduct, voluntary disclosure, internal investigation, cooperation, restitution, disciplined employees, remedial actions implemented, ethics training, time passed, and management recognition of problems. Present responsibility is addressed via written correspondence and in meetings with GSA’s S&D officials.

Although no contractor wants to find themselves in this situation, GSA seems to have a formalized process in place to determine present responsibility and come to the right decision. It’s important to enforce ethics and have strict compliance programs in place to ensure that suspensions or debarments don’t become an issue.

To avoid suspensions and debarments, make sure your agency is complying with SDO regulations. GSA contracting companies can help your agency by offering a broad range of compliance services that quickly recognize and adapt to changes in GSA regulations. We can help you avoid unwanted scrutiny, fines, penalties, and negative press.

To learn more about GSA’s SDO program, download the entire presentation here!

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