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Doing Business with OPM Small Business Program

 

Overview

OPM Welcomes Small Businesses

Vision

Small businesses become the suppliers of choice for OPM acquisitions.

Mission

Establish a world-class small business program at OPM by:

  • using the authorities of small business legislation to expedite the acquisition process in order to maximize the use of small businesses that provide the best value to OPM.

The Small Business Office manages OPM's small business program in conjunction with the Federal small business program. We are responsible by law and regulation for activities that range from policy implementation to vendor outreach. We are also offer a value-added program that streamlines the acquisition process while helping small businesses become the suppliers of choice for OPM acquisitions.

Our website offers a variety of resources for small businesses interested in OPM acquisition. We describe our own small business program and include a forecast of contracting opportunities, small business policies and the latest on our performance against goals. Lnks to Federal Government small business policies and resources as well as links designed to help small businesses understand and navigate the world of Federal Government acquisition are also provided.

We welcome your suggestions as to how we can further improve our website.

About OPM

The United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is a center of excellence in human resource management, providing high-quality services to all of our customers. The President, Congress, and Federal agencies look to OPM for advice on human resources policy. OPM provides effective, merit-based, and family-friendly personnel systems for use government wide.

OPM is the preferred source for system design and expert consultation concerning human resource operating systems, research and innovation, and education and training in human resources and management. Ultimately, OPM's efforts support a Federal workforce that achieves the results desired by the American public.

OPM's responsibilities include administering the Federal employment merit system (recruiting, examining and promoting workers), the pension system, and health and life insurance programs. 

Our operating locations

OPM's central office is located at 1900 E Street, NW, Washington, DC. OPM has a field office, management development centers, service centers, and representative offices located across the United States.

OPM's field office and management development centers are located in Boyers PA, Charlottesville VA, Shepherdstown WV and Aurora CO. Its service centers and representative offices are located Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Philadelphia, PA; and, San Francisco, CA.

OPM acquisitions are managed by the Contracting Group, located in OPM's central office. Several operating locations have contracting authority delegated by the Senior Procurement Executive. Companies interested in exploring procurement opportunities at any of OPM's operating locations should review the information about our acquisition process offered below, and consult the forecast of OPM contracting opportunities as well as the Federal Business Opportunities webpage (FedBizOpps).

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What We Buy

Major programs

To meet its Government-wide responsibilities and support its own operations, OPM maintains a number of major programs. Many of these programs require contractor support. The largest, in terms of contract dollars spent, are:

  • Personnel background investigations for Federal employees. This program is operated by the Federal Investigative Services Division in Boyers PA.
  • The Training and Management Assistance (TMA) program, which assists other Federal agencies assistance to establish training programs and reengineer their organizations. The TMA program operates on a fee-for-service basis.
  • Modernization of OPM's retirement and financial management systems.
  • The GoLearn program, which offers on-line training for Federal agencies on a fee-for-service basis.
  • The Electronic Human Resources Initiative (eHRI), which will convert OPM's personnel management document process to electronic format.
  • Operation of OPM's Federal Executive Institute in Charlottesville VA, Eastern Management Development Center in Shepherdstown WV, and Western Management Development Center in Aurora CO.
  • Management of OPM's IT infrastructure by OPM's Office of the Chief Information Officer for all OPM operating locations.
  • Management and security of OPM's central office, the Theodore Roosevelt Federal Office Building.

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Our Acquisition Process

Background

OPM's acquisition process is part of the Federal Government's acquisition process. It is governed by Public Laws translated into Government-wide regulations, and participation in the acquisition process involves registration in or use of various Government-wide databases. Most of these laws, regulations and databases can be accessed from one website, Acquisition Central.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) governs the Federal acquisition process. OPM has supplemented the FAR with its own agency-specific guidance in a number of Contracting Policies, forms and templates, which are available on the Contracting Group's web page.

Acquisitions within OPM are processed according to complexity and dollar value.

Micro-Purchases

Acquisitions below the micropurchase level ($3,000) are usually made with the Government-wide purchase cards. The user of the product or service often is a purchase cardholder and normally makes the purchase directly. The current Government-wide purchase card program, called the GSA Smart Pay Program, is based on a contract awarded by the General Services Administration (GSA). The purchase card involved is MasterCard. If your company does not currently accept MasterCard, all you need do is apply to a bank. There is no difference in the Government MasterCard and a normal MasterCard except purchases made using the Government card are tax exempt. Banks vary in the rates they charge, so you should check with several. The Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to assist you if you have problems setting up an account.

Simplified Acquisitions

Purchases made using simplified acquisition procedures (i.e., non-complex purchases below the simplified acquisition threshold, which is currently $100,000) are purchased in one of two ways: On the open market or by placement of an order or blanket purchase agreement under a GSA Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract.

  • Open market purchases exceeding $25,000 are generally publicized on the Federal Business Opportunities webpage (FedBizOpps). This is the Government's official single point of entry for Federal contracting opportunities.
  • GSA FSS purchases are generally not publicized. Instead, Requests for Quotations are sent to GSA FSS contract holders. View more information on the GSA FSS program, including guidance on participation.

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) describes these and other Government purchasing methods, Simplified acquisition procedures are described in FAR Part 13. Simplified acquisition procedures for the purchase of commercial items are described in FAR Part 12. GSA FSS purchasing methods are described in FAR Subpart 8.4, together with more information about the program.

Major Acquisitions

Major contracts (those exceeding $100,000) awarded by OPM include, among others, Personnel Background Investigations, Training and Management Assistance (TMA), Telecommunications Services, Systems Software Support

Services, Computer Maintenance Services, Consolidated Facilities Management Services, Lease of Space with Food and Lodging Services for OPM's Management Development Centers, Janitorial Services, and Security Guard Services. Such contracts often have a multiple-year structure, with one basic, and four option years, and like the simplified acquisitions they may also be awarded as open-market or GSA FSS purchases. GSA FSS purchase methods are the same as those for simplified acquisitions. But the open-market will generally be awarded by using the "Contracting by Negotiation" procedures described in FAR Part 15.

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Our Small Business Program

Background

OPM's small business program is part of the Federal Government's small business program. Like the acquisition process, it is governed by Public Laws translated into Government-wide regulations, and participation as a small business in the acquisition process involves registration in or use of various Government-wide databases. Most of these laws, regulations and databases can be accessed from one website, Acquisition Central.

Organization

Part 19 of the FAR governs the Federal small business program. This is supplemented by the Small Business Administration's regulation.

The design of OPM's Small Business Program is described in two Contracting Policies that supplement Part 19 of the FAR:

  1. No. 19.2, "Small Business Participation in OPM Acquisitions;" contains OPM-specific guidance on all aspects of the program, including:
    • Roles and responsibilities of all personnel associated with the small business program;
    • Small business program goals;
    • Encouraging small-business participation in all types of acquisition;
    • Market research;
    • An anti-bundling strategy;
    • Outreach activities;
    • Acquisition reviews; and
    • The 8(a) program.
  2. No. 19.7, "The OPM Small Business Subcontracting Program," contains OPM-specific guidance on small business subcontracting. It:
    • Explains when a small business subcontracting plan is needed;
    • Describes the different types of subcontracting plans;
    • Contains guidance on contracting for subcontracting plans, including resources for large businesses to use to find subcontractors;
    • Contains guidance on evaluating subcontracting plans; and
    • Describes the various actions required to award and administer contracts with subcontracting plans, including the use of eSRS and notifying SBA.

Our plans for the immediate future are described in our strategic plan. The policies and the plan are available on our webpage and upon request.

General Features

Our small business program, and the organization and responsibilities of OPM's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU), conform in every respect to the requirements established in FAR Subpart 19.2. It was determined to be acceptable by the Small Business Program, as reported on OPM's Small Business Procurement Scorecard for FY 2008.

However, our strategic plan calls for several unique, OPM-specific approaches in addition to the more traditional small business program activities. We believe these approaches will significantly enhance small business participation in our acquisition. Here some highlights:

Program Office Small Business Advocates

Major programs and organizational components involved in large acquisitions have appointed Program Office Small Business Advocates to represent the small business program in their operations. These Advocates, who are subject matter experts in their organizations, work with their colleagues during the market-research and acquisition planning stages of each acquisition to insure that small businesses are considered first for all OPM acquisitions. They have the tools necessary to effectively use the special authorities of the Federal small business program, and to find good small businesses that can meet our requirements.

Vendor Outreach

Because we have resource constraints typical of a small agency, we conduct vendor outreach differently than most large agencies. We freely advise and counsel small businesses interested in doing business with us, and will schedule meetings with those businesses that request them and offer a product or service that may meet a future requirement. These vendor outreach sessions are attended by representatives of both our program and contracting organizations.

We also use vendor outreach sessions as a means of conducting market research. Whenever our Program Office Small Business Advocates identify small businesses that can potentially meet a requirement but do not have sufficient information to make an informed decision as to whether the businesses can actually meet our performance standards, we invite those businesses to a vendor outreach session. These sessions will also be attended by representatives of both our program and contracting organizations.

The Acquisition Review Process

The OSDBU Director or Small Business Technical Advocate (SBTA) in the Contracting Group must approve the planning for all acquisitions exceeding the micropurchase threshold ($3,000). For example, the OSDBU Director or SBTA review and approve:

  • All Simplified Acquisiton Requests required for making purchases at or below $100,000;
  • All acquisition plans required for making purchases above $100,0000; and
  • All Justifications for Other than Full and Open Competition above the micropurchase threshold.

In this way, the OSDBU Director and Small Business Technical can assure compliance with the FAR requirement for setting aside all acquisitions between $3,000 and $100,000 for small business participation only. And they can assure compliance with requirements of adequate justification in exceptional cases.

Subcontracting

Contracts expected to exceed $500,000 that are awarded to large businesses require a subcontracting plan when subcontracting opportunities exist. Please solicit these companies directly for subcontracting opportunities. Those contracts are shown on the list of planned and/or recurring procurement actions.

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Doing Business with OPM

Registrations and Certifications

As explained above, doing business with OPM — like doing business with any Federal Agency — requires various registrations and certifications.

Paragraph 4.1102(a) FAR requires that prospective contractors register in the Central Contractor Registration (CCR) database before they can be awarded a contract or agreement. You can complete this registration on-line. Registration is free, but you will need a DUNS Number, Tax Identification Number (TIN) and Taxpayer Name, Statistical Information about your business, and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) Information.

FAR paragraph 4.1201(a) requires that prospective contractors complete electronic annual representations and certifications in conjunction with required registration in the CCR database. Completion of this requirement is also free of charge.

The Small Business Administration manages the certification of various categories of small business. Information on the certification can be found on their website. The Small Business Administration provides a variety of services for small businesses, many through their District Offices. Their website describes the services available and the locations of the District Offices.

Sources of Information about Federal Acquisitions

Also as explained above, Federal Agencies publicize open-market purchases with an estimated value exceeding $25,000 on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps), from the time the acquisition begins through contract award. The database is searchable in a variety of ways. If you are interested in subcontracting opportunities, click on the "Interested Vendors List" at the bottom of each announcement, to see if a list of potential offerors is available.

The Contracting Process

Federal Agencies are required to post information about acquisitions above the micropurchase level ($3,000) on the Federal Procurement Data System. You can register to use the summary reporting capability of the system when you access the site. The OPM contracting process follows the guidance in the FAR.

As described earlier, we use both FedBizOpps and the GSA Federal Supply Schedules to issue solicitations for our contracting actions. Your participation in the process begins when you respond to one of our solicitations.

Our solicitations will be in one of the standard formats described in the FAR. It will contain a description of the requirement, as will as a variety of other information, including specific instructions on how to submit your quotation or proposal in response. It is critical that you follow these instructions carefully, to assure full consideration of your quotation or proposal. The solicitation will contain information on the process for asking any questions you may have about the acquisition.

When we receive quotations or proposals in response to one of our solicitations, we conduct an evaluation in the way we describe in the solicitation. Depending on the complexity of the acquisition, the evaluation process can last anywhere from a few days to several months. And we may ask you for additional information or clarification along the way.

If we intend to evaluate quotations or proposals in other ways, such as through an formal presentation or a demonstration of technological capabilities, the solicitation will contain information about this and any instructions necessary for you to participate.

When we have concluded the evaluation process and selected the winning quotation or proposal, we notify all participants of the results.

Delivery of products or performance of services ordered by the contract will be monitored for acceptance by OPM personnel, including a Contract Administrator in the Contracting Group and one or more subject matter experts in the organization using the product or services. Participation by the contractor in post-award activities will be described in the solicitation.

The contracting process ends with completion of delivery or performance, and official close-out of the contract.

Contact Information

For more information and to contact OPM's Small Business Program, please go to Contact Us.

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Strategic Plan

Vision

Small businesses become the suppliers of choice for OPM acquisitions.

Mission

Establish a world-class small business program at OPM by:

  1. using the authorities of small business legislation to expedite the acquisition process in order to
  2. maximize the use of small businesses that provide the best value to OPM.

Strategic and Operational Goals

  • Assure that the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Office of Small and Disadvantaged Utilization and Policy (OSDBU and Policy) carries out the functions and duties in sections 8, 15, and 31 of the Small Business Act, and Part 19 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), taking such actions as may be authorized in order to ensure compliance with existing statutory and regulatory directives, the FAR, and agency policies:

    1. Develop, implement, and manage an effective program for using small, small-disadvantaged, woman-owned, HUBZone, and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses in prime contracts and in subcontracts.
    2. Interpret and implement FAR changes, SBA regulation changes, and OPM senior management decisions and directives that affect OPM's small business program, and develops new or revised procedures to ensure compliance.
    3. Develop, manage, and implement policies and procedures that will lead to greater participation by small businesses in OPM's contracts. As a minimum this will include:
      • Revision of the current Contracting Policy on the OPM Small Business Program;
      • Preparation of a Contracting Policy on Subcontracting; and
      • Preparation of a Contracting Policy establishing an OPM Mentor-Protégé program.
    4. Develop tools, templates, formats and samples to assist acquisition personnel in preparing contract documentation related to the small business program.
  • Obtain the highest level of support for the OPM small business program:

    1. Obtain the OPM Director's signature on two letters supporting OPM's small business program, one as the forward to a revised "OPM Contracting Opportunities" booklet, and the other as an open letter to all OPM employees.
    2. Prepare a briefing on the small business program for presentation to OPM's program offices and the Contracting Group. The briefing will explain the structure and operation of OPM's small business program, and include information on the 8(a) HUBZone, service-disabled veteran-owned, and women-owned small business preference programs.
  • Work closely with SBA and the OSDBU and Policy Council on all matters related to OPM's small business program:

    1. Join the OSDBU and Policy Council and participate in all of their meetings;
    2. Participate in all SBPAC meetings
    3. Attend other SBA-sponsored events of interest;
    4. Respond to all SBA-required reports on a timely basis.
  • Establish a webpage on OPM's public website to assist small businesses in dealing with OPM.

    1. Survey the webpages of other Government agencies to find good format and content features.
    2. As a minimum, include in the OPM webpage such features as:
      • A title that will let small businesses know we are interested in doing business with them, like "Small Business Outreach" or "Small Business Welcome."
      • A user-friendly format.
      • An updated "OPM Contracting Opportunities" booklet, including an up-to-date forecast of contracting opportunities for the next five years.
      • A "subcontract network" to allow businesses to exchange information on subcontracting with each other.
      • Links to other websites of potential interest, such as the assistance resources available from SBA and SBA's subcontracting opportunities list.
      • Information on how to contact the D/OSDBU and Policy, which will be a special e-mail address.
    3. Publicly announce the webpage on Federal Business Opportunities and other media as appropriate.
  • Establish an outreach program to meet small businesses interested in OPM acquisition:

    • Set aside a certain amount of time each week for meeting with small businesses;
    • Establish an easy-to-use capability for scheduling meetings through the OSDBU and Policy website;
    • Invite acquisition personnel to attend the outreach sessions.
    • Use the outreach sessions as a method of performing market research for acquisitions in the planning stage.
  • Establish a Mentor-Protégé Program, using as a model the program in place at the Department of Homeland Security:

    1. Identify willing and eligible Mentor and Protégé companies. (Mentors can be any large or small business; Proteges are small businesses.) Use the OSDBU and Policy webpage of OPM's public website as the primary means for identifying these companies, but include any current OPM contractors that are willing to participate.
    2. Help the Mentor and Protégé contractors develop and sign an agreement setting forth the Protégé's needs and describing the assistance the Mentor is committed to provide to address those needs. These include: management, financial and/or technical assistance, loans and/or equity investments, cooperation on joint venture projects, or subcontracts under prime contracts being performed by the Mentor; and
    3. Monitor evaluate the performance of the Mentor and Protégé under their agreement on at least a yearly basis.
  • Provide OPM acquisition staff with the tools necessary to identify and use small businesses in OPM acquisitions:

    1. Establish a presence on THEO as part of the Contracting Group's webpage, to offer resources for helping users to better understand the small business program and to efficiently identify and use small businesses in acquisitions.
    2. Keep acquisition staff informed of OPM's small business goals and its actual performance in meeting these goals.
    3. Publish an e-mail newsletter offering information on new initiatives in the small business program, tips for more efficiently finding and using small businesses, and other information of interest.
  • Work with OPM acquisition staff through the life cycle of each acquisition to assure maximum participation of small businesses in OPM acquisitions:

    1. Establish a team of small business advocates in the program offices to work with acquisition personnel in those offices to implement all aspect of the small business program and foster increased participation by small businesses in OPM acquisitions.
    2. Participate in acquisition planning for all major acquisitions, and other acquisitions as requested by OPM management, and in preparing the Agency Acquisition Plan.
    3. Assist program offices in conducting market research aimed at identifying potential small business sources.
    4. Advocate set-asides for 8(a), HUBZone, service-disabled veteran-owned, women-owned, or small business in general, whenever practicable.
    5. Review acquisition strategies to assure that small business has been given maximum opportunity, and prevent contract bundling that reduces the opportunities for small business participation;
    6. Identify and work to remove any impediments preventing full participation by small businesses in OPM acquisitions.
    7. Implement an awards program to recognize those individuals or groups who have furthered the success of the small business program in a noteworthy way.
  • Work with OPM acquisition staff to assure that OPM's prime contractors meet their subcontracting responsibilities:

    1. Maintain an up-to-date subcontracting plan template with easy access for Contracting Group to use in applicable solicitations and contracts with large businesses.
    2. Establish a procedure to assure that the subcontracting plan template is used in applicable solicitations and contracts.
    3. Assist Contracting Group personnel with review of subcontracting plans submitted by contractors.
    4. Assist acquisition staff in using the Electronic Subcontract Reporting System (eSRS).
    5. Establish a procedure to assure that contractors with subcontracting plans are maintaining the necessary information in the Electronic Subcontract Reporting System (eSRS).
  • Take all appropriate action to assure that the contracting data entered into the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS) is coded accurately with regard to award to small businesses.

    1. Implement new, or revise existing policies and procedures to assure accurate coding and review/verification of FPDS data.
    2. Participate as appropriate in the review and verification of FPDS data to assure accuracy with regard to small business coding.

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Acquisitions

Contracting Policy No. 19.2
Small Business Participation in OPM Acquisitions

Purpose: This Contracting Policy establishes a small business program for the Contracting Group in accordance with Subpart 19.2 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, in order to maximize participation by small businesses in OPM's acquisition process.

Effective Date: Immediately.

Expiration Date: None. (May be only canceled or superseded.)

Background

The Small Business Investment Act (15 U.S.C. 631(a)) states in part that: "It is the declared policy of the Congress that the Government should aid, counsel, assist, and protect, insofar as is possible, the interests of small-business concerns in order to preserve free competitive enterprise, to insure that a fair proportion of the total purchases and contracts for property and services for the Government (including but not limited to contracts for maintenance, repair, and construction) be placed with small- business enterprises, to insure that a fair proportion of the total sales of Government property be made to such enterprises, and to maintain and strengthen the overall economy of the Nation."

The Competition in Contracting Act (CICA – 41 U.S.C. 252(b)), echoes this statement: " It is the declared policy of the Congress that a fair proportion of the total purchase and contracts for property and services for the Government shall be placed with small business concerns."

FAR 19.201(a) indicates that "It is the policy of the Government to provide maximum practicable opportunities in its acquisitions to small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, historically-underutilized business zone (HUBZone) small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business concerns. Such concerns must also have the maximum practicable opportunity to participate as subcontractors in the contracts awarded by any executive agency, consistent with efficient contract performance." And all of FAR Part 19 together constitutes the Government's small business program framework.

This Contracting Policy provides specific instructions to the OPM Contracting Group on implementing the FAR mandate to provide maximum opportunity for small businesses to participate directly in our acquisition process. Contracting Policy No. 19.7, OPM's Small Business Subcontracting Program, provides similar guidance for involvement of small business subcontractors. Together they constitute our small business program.

The Policy

Responsibilities

Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization

In accordance with FAR 19.201(d), the Director of OPM will appoint an official to serve as the OPM's Director of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (DSDBU). The DSDBU will:

  1. Be responsible to and report directly to the OPM Director;
  2. Be responsible for OPM carrying out the functions and duties in sections 8, 15, and 31 of the Small Business Act.
  3. Work with the Contracting Group's Small Business Technical Advisor (see paragraph (1)(b) below) to–
    1. Identify proposed solicitations that involve bundling;
    2. Facilitate small business participation as contractors including small business contract teams, where appropriate; and
    3. Facilitate small business participation as subcontractors and suppliers where participation by small business concerns as contractors is unlikely;
  4. Assist small business concerns in obtaining payments under their contracts, late payment, interest penalties, or information on contractual payment provisions;
  5. Cooperate and consult on a regular basis with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in carrying out the agency's functions and duties in sections 8, 15, and 31 of the Small Business Act;
  6. Make recommendations in accordance with this Contracting Policy as to whether a particular acquisition should be awarded under Subpart 19.5 as a small business set-aside, under Subpart 19.8 as a Section 8(a) award, under Subpart 19.13 as a HUBZone set-aside, or under Subpart 19.14 as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOB) set-aside;
  7. Conduct annual reviews to assess the–
    1. Extent to which small businesses are receiving a fair share of Federal procurements, including contract opportunities under the programs administered under the Small Business Act;
    2. Adequacy of contract bundling documentation and justifications; and
    3. Actions taken to mitigate the effects of necessary and justified contract bundling on small businesses.
  8. Provide a copy of the assessment made under paragraph (1)(a)(vii) of this section to the Agency Head and SBA Administrator

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Small Business Technical Advocate

The Director of the Contracting Group will appoint a member of the Group as the Small Business Technical Advocate (SBTA). The SBTA will serve as the Group's Small Business Specialist, as required by FAR 19.201(e). The SBTA must be a GS-1102 Contract Specialist, at grade 13 or higher. The primary duties of the SBTA are to:

  1. Review all actions between with a total estimated value between the micropurchase limit (currently $3,000) and the simplified acquisition limit (currently $100,000) that involve the dissolution of the mandatory reservation (set-aside) for small businesses. The SBTA should, whenever possible, add the names of potential small business sources to solicitation mailing lists. Concurrence of the SBTA in dissolution of a set-aside will be evidenced by signature of the SBTA of the Simplified Acquisition Template (see Contracting Policy No. 7.1, Acquisition Planning).
  2. Review all procurement requisitions over the simplified acquisition limit to make recommendations regarding set-asides for the small business programs. Bureaus may establish lower review thresholds. The SBTA should, whenever possible, add the names of potential small business sources to solicitation mailing lists. Concurrence of the SBTA in dissolution of a set-aside will be evidenced by the SBTA's approval of the acquisition plan (see Contracting Policy No. 7.1, Acquisition Planning).
  3. Review all proposed contracts over the subcontracting plan threshold (currently $500,000/ $1,000,000 for construction) to make recommendations for subcontracting possibilities.
  4. Review all proposed prime contractors' subcontracting plans, and monitor prime contractor performance of those plans, in accordance with Contracting Policy No. 19.7, OPM's Small Business Subcontracting Program.
  5. Serve as OPM's primary contact to coordinate with the SBA, other government agencies and the business community on small business matters.
  6. Coordinate with the Director of the Contracting Group, Contracting Group staff, and the Competition Advocate to ensure that the small business program objectives are fully integrated into OPM's broad procurement program.
  7. Develop and maintain a program to identify small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged, women-owned small business, veteran-owned, and service disabled veteran-owned sources.
  8. Assist small business concerns to obtain timely payments, late payment interest penalties, or information due to such concerns per the requirements of 15 U.S.C 644(k)(6) (See FAR 32.909).
  9. Assist Contract Specialists and Contracting Officers to identify small business sources for particular acquisitions.
  10. Participate in the Advance Acquisition Process to determine acquisition strategies, including set-aside possibilities, aggressive subcontracting plans, etc.
  11. Maintain the currency of OPM's handbook, Contracting Opportunities, and be knowledgeable of OPM's Forecast of Contract Opportunities, to identify potential set-asides and assist vendors in marketing to the appropriate program offices.
  12. Assist program managers as early as possible in the acquisition cycle to identify potential small business sources, including arranging for and attending marketing presentations by such firms.
  13. Verify that solicitations that are total or partial small business set-asides clearly set forth the applicable North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and small business size standard.
  14. Ensure that financial assistance available under existing regulations is offered (e.g., negotiation of payment due dates, progress payments, advance payments, etc.), and that requests for such assistance by small business offerors are not construed as a handicap in contract awards.
  15. Upon request, provide to any small business a copy of the solicitation mailing list for any acquisition that might offer subcontracting possibilities. A list of firms responding to the solicitation shall not be provided to any firm.
  16. Participate in Government and industry conferences to assist small businesses and promote OPM's acquisition programs upon request of the DSDBU.
  17. Advise and counsel small business firms on acquisition matters and assistance available from other Federal agencies, and provide OPM literature to those businesses.
  18. Develop the OPM's annual small business goal proposals and negotiate OPM goals with SBA.
  19. Develop specific program activities and objectives to increase small business participation in the OPM's acquisitions.
  20. Ensure that OPM's small business program is frequently publicized in the appropriate media. This could include internal newsletters, weekly reports, and activities such as conducting small business program briefings for program personnel.
  21. Report any small business contractor performance problems identified by the Contracting Officer promptly to the DSDBU and the SBA Contracting Officer.
  22. Provide reports and other information to, or on behalf of, the DSDBU, as required, regarding OPM small business program performance.

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OPM's Contracting Professionals

All OPM personnel with contracting authority must comply with FAR 19.202-1, in order to ensure that small business concerns have an equitable opportunity to compete for all procurement opportunities. In addition, the Director of the Contracting Group must take the following actions to encourage small business participation:

  1. Support the participation of the SBS in the advance procurement planning process.
  2. Prepare annually a forecast of contract opportunities, which identifies each anticipated purchase in excess of $100,000. The forecast preparation should be coordinated with the SBTA. For each purchase the forecast must contain a description of the purchase, the North American Industry Classification System code, the estimated value, the estimated quarter for release of the solicitation, the name and telephone number of a contact. The forecast will be posted annually on OPM's public website by the SBTA.
  3. Use total or partial small business set-asides whenever there are at least two responsible small businesses that are qualified to respond (see FAR 19.502-2 and 19.502-3).
  4. Use 8(a) set-asides whenever qualified 8(a) firms can be identified for a particular acquisition (see FAR 19.804-1).
  5. Assist small businesses in receiving timely payments as required by 15 U.S.C. 644(k)(6), and FAR 32.9. Additionally, FAR 19.702 provides that it is the "policy of the United States that its prime contractors establish procedures to ensure the timely payment of amounts due pursuant to the terms of their subcontracts... ."

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Small Business Program Goals

The Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 644(g)), as amended by P.L. 100-656, requires that the President establish annual Government-wide goals for procurement awards to small businesses, HUBZone small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, woman-owned small businesses, veteran-owned small businesses, and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The statutory minimum goal for small business participation must be no less than 23 percent of the total value of prime contract awards. The statutory minimum goal for small disadvantaged business and woman-owned small business participation shall be no less than 5 percent of the total value of prime contract awards and 5 percent of the total value of subcontract awards. The statutory minimum goals for HUBZone small business participation shall be no less than 2.5 percent of the total value of prime contract awards for fiscal year (FY) 2002 and shall increase to 3 percent in FY 2003. The statutory minimum goals for service disabled veteran-owned small business participation is 3 percent. Currently, there is no minimum goal for veteran owned small business, however, data of veteran-owned small business awards is to be collected.

The individual agency goals must represent the estimated maximum practicable opportunity for small businesses to participate in the performance of contracts let by the agency. The SBTA, in consultation with the SBA, establishes OPM's annual goals for prime contracts awarded to small businesses, HUBZone small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, 8(a) firms, woman-owned small businesses, and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses. The SBTA also establishes goals for subcontract awards to small, small disadvantaged, women-owned small businesses, and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses. While there is no statutory goal for prime and subcontract awards to veteran-owned small business concerns, federal agencies are required to collect award data.

These goals are based on previous and projected performance, measured as an aggregate of all dollars obligated on contracting actions by the Contracting group and other acquisition professionals (Contracting Officers in remote locations, Ordering Officials, and Governmentwide purchase card holders) EXCLUDING the Federal Employee Health Benefits organization. Reports of OPM's performance against its goals are retrieved annually from the Federal Procurement Data System for the SBA for submission to the President and the Congress. The reports must explain any failure to achieve a goal and the actions planned to achieve goals in the succeeding fiscal year.

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Encouraging Small Business Participation

FAR Guidance

FAR 19.202-1 provides general guidance on what we can do to encourage small business participation in our acquisitions. It bears repeating here:

Small business concerns shall be afforded an equitable opportunity to compete for all contracts that they can perform to the extent consistent with the Government’s interest. When applicable, the contracting officer shall take the following actions:

  1. Divide proposed acquisitions of supplies and services (except construction) into reasonably small lots (not less than economic production runs) to permit offers on quantities less than the total requirement.
  2. Plan acquisitions such that, if practicable, more than one small business concern may perform the work, if the work exceeds the amount for which a surety may be guaranteed by SBA against loss under 15 U.S.C. 694b.
  3. Ensure that delivery schedules are established on a realistic basis that will encourage small business participation to the extent consistent with the actual requirements of the Government.
  4. Encourage prime contractors to subcontract with small business concerns (see Subpart 19.7).
    1. Provide a copy of the proposed acquisition package to the SBA procurement center representative (or, if a procurement center representative is not assigned, see 19.402(a)) at least 30 days prior to the issuance of the solicitation if–
      1. The proposed acquisition is for supplies or services currently being provided by a small business and the proposed acquisition is of a quantity or estimated dollar value, the magnitude of which makes it unlikely that small businesses can compete for the prime contract;
      2. The proposed acquisition is for construction and seeks to package or consolidate discrete construction projects and the magnitude of this consolidation makes it unlikely that small businesses can compete for the prime contract; or
      3. The proposed acquisition is for a bundled requirement. (See 10.001(c)(2)(i) for mandatory 30-day notice requirement to incumbent small business concerns.) The contracting officer shall provide all information relative to the justification of contract bundling, including the acquisition plan or strategy, and if the acquisition involves substantial bundling, the information identified in 7.107(e). When the acquisition involves substantial bundling, the contracting officer shall also provide the same information to the agency Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization.
    2. The contracting officer also must provide a statement explaining why the–
      1. Proposed acquisition cannot be divided into reasonably small lots (not less than economic production runs) to permit offers on quantities less than the total requirement;
      2. Delivery schedules cannot be established on a realistic basis that will encourage small business participation to the extent consistent with the actual requirements of the Government;
      3. Proposed acquisition cannot be structured so as to make it likely that small businesses can compete for the prime contract;
      4. Consolidated construction project cannot be acquired as separate discrete projects; or
      5. Bundling is necessary and justified.
    3. The 30-day notification process shall occur concurrently with other processing steps required prior to the issuance of the solicitation.
    4. If the contracting officer rejects the SBA representative's recommendation made in accordance with 19.402(c)(2), the contracting officer shall document the basis for the rejection and notify the SBA representative in accordance with 19.505.

OPM-Specific Guidance

Contracting professionals at OPM have several tools available to implement this guidance, i.e., to identify small business capable of handling our requirements, and to use various opportunities in the course of the acquisition process to influence the choice of business type. The section of the Policy describes those tools and opportunities.

Before going forward, however, we must keep in mind three critical points:

  1. We must do everything we can to maximize small business participation in our acquisition process. Even if our achievement in this effort were not being measured against specific goals, it would still make good business sense to use small businesses whenever possible. For one thing, matching business size to acquisition size will generally yield the best value to the Government; small businesses will generally have lower overhead rates and consequently offer lower prices. For another thing, diversifying our vendor base and helping small businesses maintain their viability will help assure the availability of multiple sources in times of workload surge.
  2. The goals that we are measured against reflect dollar amounts, and not number of actions. Historically the number of small businesses receiving awards has been significantly higher than the total dollar amount of the awards. In fiscal year 2006, for example, we awarded over one-third of all our contractual actions to small businesses, but the dollars associated with these awards totaled less than one-quarter of all the dollars we spent. This presents a special challenge: Not only must we must find ways to increase small business participation in the process, but we must find ways to award our higher-dollar actions to small businesses as well.
  3. Our progress toward meeting our goals is measured in terms of actual awards, not by the number of small businesses invited to participate in the acquisition process or which submit offers or in response to our solicitations. So it is critical not only that we encourage small business participation in our acquisitions, but that the participating small businesses will likely be able to receive the award and perform successfully.

With regard to encouraging small business participation, please keep the following in mind:

  1. Set-asides for small businesses are a particularly effective tool for open-market acquisitions. To set aside and acquisition, you generally need to find only two – not three – small businesses that can likely do the work (FAR 19.50202(b)). If you find only one 8(a) or SDVOB, and the total estimated value of the acquisition is below $5.5 million or manufacturing NAICS codes or $3.5 million for the other 8(a)s or $3.0 million for other SDVOBs, you can award the requirement on a sole-source basis without further justification (FAR 19.805-1(a)(1) and 19.1406 respectively).
  2. Set-asides may be partial as well as total. If you can't find a sufficient number small businesses to set aside all of a requirement, explore the possibility of setting aside some portion of it for small business participation.
  3. When using the GSA Federal Supply Schedules (FSS) contracts, always choose small business vendors if you can. Although set-asides do not apply to GSA FSS buys, remember that we are measured on the basis of award results, and not participation in the process.

Identifying such businesses is the goal of market research, which is discussed below.

Market Research

In accordance with FAR 10.001(a)(2)(ii) and (iii) and FAR 10.002(e) market research must be completed prior to soliciting offers for simplified acquisitions or large contracts, and the results documented. At OPM the requiring organization conducts the market research. But the contracting officer must review it, determine whether or not any exclusion of small business participation in the acquisition is appropriate, and challenge any exclusion that does not seem to be appropriate.

We have several resources to use in assisting our program organizations to find viable small business resources:

  1. The Central Contractor Registration (CCR) identifies the size status by NAICS code for each business listed in it. Since we generally require all businesses we deal with to be registered in CCR, we can use it to search for small businesses capable of performing the work we require.
  2. For GSA FSS buys, the GSA FSS Schedules e-Library webpage provides a number of ways to search for viable sources, including by small business category. GSA also offers a set of FSS contracts containing exclusively SDVOBs.

Document the results of the market research in the Simplified Acquisition Request (SAR – OPM Form 1708) or the acquisition plan, and take special care to explain why small businesses cannot be used, if appropriate.

Anti-Bundling Strategy

  1. Background

    In addition to assisting the requiring organization to find suitable small business sources, the contracting professional should also review the requirement to determine whether or not it is "bundled." Bundling generally means combining requirements that need not be combined, with the result that it "unnecessarily inhibits full and open competition for contracts," and consequently violates the Competition in Contracting Act (41 U.S.C. 251, Congressional Statement of Purpose, paragraph (1)). FAR 2.101 defines bundling in terms of the effect it has on small business participation:

    "Bundling" means –

    1. Consolidating two or more requirements for supplies or services, previously provided or performed under separate smaller contracts, into a solicitation for a single contract that is likely to be unsuitable for award to a small business concern due to—
      1. The diversity, size, or specialized nature of the elements of the performance specified;
      2. The aggregate dollar value of the anticipated award;
      3. The geographical dispersion of the contract performance sites; or
      4. Any combination of the factors described in paragraphs (1)(i), (ii), and (iii) of this definition.
    2. "Separate smaller contract" as used in this definition, means a contract that has been performed by one or more small business concerns or that was suitable for award to one or more small business concerns. (3) This definition does not apply to a contract that will be awarded and performed entirely outside of the United States.

    Therefore, bundling has the potential to significantly affect small business participation in OPM acquisitions.

  2. Acquisition Considerations

    FAR 7.107, "Additional requirements for acquisitions involving bundling;" discusses bundling in general, and provides the following guidance:

    1. Bundling may provide substantial benefits to the Government. However, because of the potential impact on small business participation, the head of the agency must conduct market research to determine whether bundling is necessary and justified (15 U.S.C. 644(e)(2)). Market research may indicate that bundling is necessary and justified if an agency or the Government would derive measurably substantial benefits (see 10.001(a)(2)(iv) and (a)(3)(vi)).
    2. Measurably substantial benefits may include, individually or in any combination or aggregate, cost savings or price reduction, quality improvements that will save time or improve or enhance performance or efficiency, reduction in acquisition cycle times, better terms and conditions, and any other benefits. The agency must quantify the identified benefits and explain how their impact would be measurably substantial. Except as provided in paragraph (d) of this section, the agency may determine bundling to be necessary and justified if, as compared to the benefits that it would derive from contracting to meet those requirements if not bundled, it would derive measurably substantial benefits equivalent to—
      1. Ten percent of the estimated contract or order value (including options) if the value is $86 million or less; or
      2. Five percent of the estimated contract or order value (including options) or $8.6 million, whichever is greater, if the value exceeds $86 million.
    3. Without power of delegation, the service acquisition executive for the military departments, the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics for the defense agencies, or the Deputy Secretary or equivalent for the civilian agencies may determine that bundling is necessary and justified when—
      1. The expected benefits do not meet the thresholds in paragraphs (b)(1) and (b)(2) of this section but are critical to the agency's mission success; and
      2. The acquisition strategy provides for maximum practicable participation by small business concerns.
    4. Reduction of administrative or personnel costs alone is not sufficient justification for bundling unless the cost savings are expected to be at least 10 percent of the estimated contract or order value (including options) of the bundled requirements.
    5. Substantial bundling is any bundling that results in a contract or order that meets the dollar amounts specified in 7.104(d)(2). When the proposed acquisition strategy involves substantial bundling, the acquisition strategy must additionally—
      1. Identify the specific benefits anticipated to be derived from bundling;
      2. Include an assessment of the specific impediments to participation by small business concerns as contractors that result from bundling;
      3. Specify actions designed to maximize small business participation as contractors, including provisions that encourage small business teaming;
      4. Specify actions designed to maximize small business participation as subcontractors (including suppliers) at any tier under the contract, or order, that may be awarded to meet the requirements;
      5. Include a specific determination that the anticipated benefits of the proposed bundled contract or order justify its use; and
      6. Identify alternative strategies that would reduce or minimize the scope of the bundling, and the rationale for not choosing those alternatives.
    6. The contracting officer must justify bundling in acquisition strategy documentation.
    7. In assessing whether cost savings would be achieved through bundling, the contracting officer must consider the cost that has been charged or, where data is available, could be charged by small business concerns for the same or similar work.
    8. The requirements of this section, except for paragraph (e), do not apply if a cost comparison analysis will be performed in accordance with OMB Circular A-76.
  3. Strategy

    Based on these considerations, we can develop a strategy to help mitigate the effects of bundling. To that end, the contracting officer shall consider the following to the maximum extent practicable. Additionally, these same strategies shall be considered for all procurements using full and open competition procedures to support the small business policy stated at FAR 19.201:

    1. Coordinate all projects that involve bundling with the SBA Procurement Center Representative assigned to Treasury.
    2. For procurements expected to exceed $100,000, if applicable, utilize the small disadvantaged business price evaluation adjustment (FAR 19.11) and the HUBZone price evaluation preference (FAR 19.13).
    3. For procurements expected to exceed $500,000, if applicable, consider:
      1. small disadvantaged business price evaluation adjustment (FAR 19.11)
      2. HUBZone price evaluation preference (FAR 19.13).
      3. small disadvantaged business participation factor featuring a factor or subfactor in the evaluation criteria (FAR 19.12).
      4. making the subcontracting plan a factor or subfactor in the evaluation criteria (FAR 19.7 and DTAR 1019.7).
      5. for large projects (whether bundling exists or not), include small business participation as a agenda item in pre-proposal conferences.

Outreach Activities

  1. Introduction

    It is the OPM's policy to engage in a meaningful, aggressive outreach program to assist, counsel, and advise small, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged, woman-owned small business, veteran-owned, and SDVOB concerns on procedures for doing business with the Agency.

    Our mission is to:
    1. Assist small businesses of all types; including those owned by minorities, women, veterans, service disabled veterans, and those located in historically underutilized business zones, to develop, grow, and ensure their long-term success;
    2. Continually foster an environment where these highly skilled suppliers can compete successfully for a fair share of Treasury's procurement on their own merits; and
    3. Assist large businesses to increase subcontracting opportunities for small businesses.

    OPM has developed specific marketing materials and outreach activities to accomplish our mission. Specific outreach activities are highlighted in the following paragraphs.

  2. Marketing Materials

    OPM publishes and posts on its public website a publication specifically designed to help small, HUBZone small, small disadvantaged, woman-owned, veteran owned, and service disabled veteran-owned small businesses in their marketing efforts. This publication is called " , " and provides specific information participation in the Federal acquisition process in general, and in dealing with OPM in particular. It also contains the Forecast of Contract Opportunities described above. The publication is available at: www.opm.gov.

  3. Vendor Outreach Sessions

    The SBTA supports small business Vendor Outreach Sessions (VOS), in order to provide the small business community the opportunity to meet with the SBTA to discuss their capabilities and learn of potential procurement opportunities. The SBTA will either host or participate with other agencies in VOS at least once each quarter.

    The sessions are generally held in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Vendors are required to schedule their appointments, in advance. The appointments are limited to fifteen minutes in order to allow all vendors an equal opportunity, and are intended to allow a company introduction.

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Acquisition Review

  1. Micropurchases

    Micropurchases may be awarded without competitive quotations if the contracting officer or individual appointed in accordance with FAR 1.603-3(b) considers the price reasonable. To the extent practicable, micropurchases shall be distributed equitably among qualified suppliers. Further, it is the OPM's policy to use small businesses to the maximum extent practicable for micropurchases.

  2. Simplified Acquisitions Above the Micropurchase Limit

    Every open market acquisition of supplies or services that has an anticipated dollar value exceeding the micropurchase limit but less than the simplified acquisition limit, is statutorily reserved exclusively for small business concerns as required by 15 U.S.C. 644(j). Foreign purchases and purchases from required sources of supply (Federal Prison Industries, Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, Federal Supply Schedule contracts, etc.) are exempted from this requirement by FAR 19.502.1(c).

    If, on the basis of market research, the contracting officer does not have a reasonable expectation that quotations will be received from two or more responsible small business firms that are competitive in terms of market price, quality and delivery, the set-aside may be dissolved and the purchase completed on an unrestricted basis. SAR must be documented accordingly and signed by the SBTA prior to issuing the solicitation.

  3. Acquisitions Above the Simplified Acquisition Limit

    Although acquisitions above the simplified acquisition limit need not be set aside for small businesses, small business participation is highly encouraged. The contracting officer must document in the acquisition plan the decision regarding small business participation. The acquisition must be reviewed, and the small business decision approved, by the SBTA before the acquisition plan goes forward for higher-level approval.

  4. GSA FSS Buys

    In accordance with FAR 8.4046(b), contracting officers are strongly encouraged to consider three GSA FSS small businesses first before considering placing an order with a large business. Remember that orders placed against the schedules may be credited toward the ordering agency's small business goals.

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Contracting With the Small Business Administration Under the 8(a) Program

  1. Authority and Implementation

    The 8(a) program is authorized by the Small Business Investment Act (15 U.S.C. 637(a)), as amended. The Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) specifically excludes contracts awarded through the 8(a) program from the requirement for full and open competition. The laws are implemented through the SBA regulations, 13 CFR Part 124, and FAR Subpart 19.8.

  2. Identifying Acquisitions for the 8(a) Program
    1. Types of Suitable Acquisitions

      All acquisitions, including those under the simplified acquisition limit, should be viewed as a possible candidates for the 8(a) program. 8(a) contractors are capable of performing virtually every type of manufacturing, service and construction contract. Each 8(a) participant is required to be registered in CCR.

      There are no limitations on the type or size of 8(a) acquisitions. However, for acquisitions with service or construction NAICS codes, competition among eligible 8(a) concerns is required when the estimated value of the procurement, including all options, exceeds $3 million (FAR 19.805-1(a)(2)). For acauisitions with manufacturing NAICS codes, the threshold for competition is $5 million. (also FAR 19.805-1(a)(2)). The criteria for 8(a) competitions are the same as for other set-aside programs; that is, a reasonable expectation of receiving offers from at least two eligible 8(a) concerns and making award at a fair market price, if the procurement will exceed the 8(a) competition threshold (see FAR 19.803(4)(ii) and 19.805-1(a)(1)). For indefinite quantity-indefinite delivery type contracts, the determination of whether the competition threshold is exceeded will be based on the maximum value of the procurement (including options) as required by FAR 19.805-1(a)(2). Additionally, 8(a) requirements should not be broken into lesser amounts to avoid the competitive threshold as required by also FAR 19.805-1(c).

      A proposed 8(a) procurement should not have been publicly synopsized as a small business set-aside and performed most recently by a small business (FAR 19.804-3(a)(9)). The procurement should also not require excessive subcontracting to be performed by other than the prospective 8(a) contractor, as required by FAR 19.811-3(e).

    2. Identifying Acquisitions

      Proposed acquisitions suitable for the 8(a) program can be identified in a number of ways:

      1. The SBTA can recommend an 8(a) contract during the regular acquisition review process or during review of advance procurement plans or contract forecasts.
      2. An 8(a) contractor or contractors can market and identify the acquisition.
      3. The SBA may request a particular requirement for the 8(a) program either through a direct recommendation by the SBTA or by issuing a search letter.
    3. Search Letter Procedures

      A search letter is a written request from the SBA that a prospective procurement be set aside for the 8(a) program. The SBA has authority to certify to a procuring agency its competence to perform a particular requirement and negotiate a mutually agreeable contract (see FAR 19.803(a)). SBA also has authority to appeal if agreement cannot be reached with the contracting officer (see FAR 19.810).

      Search letters may originate from any SBA level--district, regional or central office, and either recommend a particular 8(a) contractor as a source or request the procurement for 8(a) competition. As search letters certify SBA's competence to perform the stated requirement, they must be given full consideration. If the procuring agency determines that a proposed procurement should not be set aside for the 8(a) program, SBA may request reconsideration of the decision. However, to fall within the appeal criteria set forth in FAR 19.810, a SBA appeal must be signed by the SBA Administrator. A formal appeal will normally cite FAR 19.810 and must be received within specified timeframes.

      When an OPM contracting officer, program office or the SBTA receives a search letter, the contracting officer should take the following action:

      1. Assess the suitability of the proposed procurement for the 8(a) program. For example, where state-of-the-art results are likely only through full and open competition, or where the procurement has traditionally been acquired from small business under set-aside procedures, an 8(a) setaside may not be most advantageous to the Government. However, even if it is determined that the proposed procurement must be conducted using full and open competition, the 8(a) firm designated in the search letter should be given an opportunity to make a presentation as described below.
      2. Assess the status of the procurement. If the solicitation has not been issued, or has been issued as other than a small business set-aside, the contracting officer shall proceed with evaluation of the firm's capabilities. If the solicitation has been issued as a small business set-aside, the contracting officer shall telephone the SBA office that sent the search letter and advise them. (Usually SBA will not accept a procurement for the 8(a) program if it has been solicited as a small business set-aside. See FAR 19.804-3(a)(9)). If SBA wishes to pursue the procurement, the contracting officer shall proceed with the evaluation of the firm's capabilities. If not, the contracting officer shall send a written notice to SBA confirming the disposition of the search letter.
      3. Review the capabilities of the proposed 8(a) contractor(s). Typically, this is done through an oral marketing presentation by the company to appropriate program, technical and procurement personnel. This presentation should not be a full-scale proposal effort nor require the firm to incur bid and proposal costs. The presentation does not obligate the bureau to set aside the proposed procurement for the 8(a) program. Nevertheless, should deficiencies be apparent, the contracting officer should question the firm and give them an opportunity to respond. The contract file should be documented regarding any unresolved deficiencies.
      4. Determine that the 8(a) concern is qualified and the procurement is suitable. The contracting officer should then offer the procurement to SBA as an 8(a) set-aside and proceed with the procurement process. If the procurement has been previously synopsized in FedBizOpps, the synopsis should either be canceled or amended, if a competitive 8(a) procurement will be conducted.
      5. Determine that the 8(a) firm is deficient, or the procurement is not appropriate for the 8(a) program. The contracting officer should send a letter to the SBA, to be coordinated with the SBTA, providing the rationale for not setting aside the procurement. As backup, the contracting officer should provide the SBS a copy of the file documentation that details the technical review of the 8(a) concern's capabilities.
      6. If more than one search letter is received for a given procurement, the capabilities of each identified contractor should be assessed. The best qualified contractor should be offered the procurement, or it should be offered for 8(a) competition, depending on the individual circumstances of the procurement.
      7. The SBA Administrator may appeal a negative decision OPM Director. The SBA must notify the contracting officer that an appeal is forthcoming within 5 working days after SBA receives the contracting officer's decision (see FAR 19.810(b)). Upon notice of SBA's intent to appeal, the contracting officer must promptly notify the SBTA, who shall notify the DSDBU. (FAR 19.810(b) provides that the SBA will notify the DSDBU). The SBTA should gather all correspondence and other pertinent information not provided previously to the SBTA, who will then provide all documentation to the DSDBU. The SBA must file its written appeal to the bureau head or Secretary within 20 working days of their receipt of the adverse decision. Pending the decision on the appeal, the contracting officer shall suspend action on the procurement, unless a decision is made to override the suspension for urgent and compelling circumstances (see FAR 19.810(b)).
      8. Once the appeal is resolved, or if no appeal is received, and the proposed procurement is not set aside for the 8(a) program, the contracting officer must, at a minimum:
        1. Include the 8(a) contractor on the solicitation mailing list, and
        2. If the contract will require a subcontracting plan, forward a copy of the entire solicitation mailing list to the 8(a) contractor.
    4. Awarding and Administering the Contract with an 8(a) Company

      When a suitable acquisition has been identified, the contracting officer offers it to the SBA for award under the 8(a) program. FAR 19.804 through 19.812 contain detailed instructions on the contracting process. OPM also maintains a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the SBA that prescribes procedures for streamlining the process. These procedures supersede the FAR guidance, and should be used in contracting with the SBA under the 8(a) program.

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Documenting Awards to Small Businesses

OPM, like the other Government agencies, uses the Federal Procurement Data System – Next Generation (FPDS-NG) as the database of record for its contractual actions. When you have completed award of a contract to a small business, enter the required information about the acquisition into FPDS-NG, just as you would enter information on awards to large businesses. Please be especially careful to complete accurately ALL items concerning small business participation. Contracting Policy No. 4.602 contains additional information on entering contractual information into FPDS-NG. It also establishes an independent verification and validation process for OPM data, including the correct entry of small business award information.

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Point of Contact

Please direct questions concerning this Contracting Policy to W. Neal Patterson, Director of the Contracting Group, by telephone at 202-606-1984 or by e-mail at William.Patterson@opm.gov.

Approved by:
Tina B. McGuire
Senior Procurement Executive

Date: 05/30/2012

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Subcontract

Contracting Policy No. 19.7
The OPM Small Business Subcontracting Program

Purpose: This Contracting Policy describes the Small Business Subcontracting Program at the United States Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and provides guidance on assisting large businesses to fulfill their small business subcontracting responsibilities.

Effective Date: Immediately

Expiration Date: None. (May only be cancelled or superseded.)

Background

Subcontracting is a critical component of the Federal small business program. According to 15 U.S.C. 637:

"It is the policy of the United States that small business concerns, small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans, small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans, qualified HUBZone small business concerns, small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and small business concerns owned and controlled by women, shall have the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in the performance of contracts let by any Federal agency, including contracts and subcontracts for subsystems, assemblies, components, and related services for major systems."
"It is further the policy of the United States that its prime contractors establish procedures to ensure the timely payment of amounts due pursuant to the terms of their subcontracts with small business concerns, small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans, qualified HUBZone small business concerns, small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and small business concerns owned and controlled by women."

Subpart 19.7 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) provides the regulatory guidance to implement the Federal small business subcontracting program within the Federal agencies. FAR 19.702(a) and (c) require that:

  1. In negotiation or sealed bidding acquisitons, each solicitation to perform a contract or contract modification, that individually is expected to exceed $550,000 ($1,000,000 for construction) and that has subcontracting possibilities, must require the apparently successful offeror to submit an acceptable subcontracting plan. If the apparently successful offeror fails to submit or negotiate a subcontracting plan acceptable to the contracting officer within the time limit prescribed by the contracting officer, the offeror will be ineligible for award;
  2. Any contractor or subcontractor failing to comply in good faith with the requirements of the subcontracting plan is in material breach of its contract; and
  3. A contractor's failure to make a good faith effort to comply with the requirements of the subcontracting plan shall result in the imposition of liquidated damages.

Other portions of FAR Subpart 19.7 contain extensive guidance on subcontracting plans, their required contents, incorporating them into contracts, and monitoring contractor performance against the plan.

This Contracting Policy provides OPM-specific guidance to implement the Federal small business subcontracting plan, including the use of subcontracting plans.

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The Policy

Responsibilities

As indicated in the "Background" section above, Congress has unequivocally stated that it is the policy of the United States – including OPM – that small businesses (SBs), small businesses in historically underutilized business zones (HUBZones), small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs), women-owned small businesses (WOSBs), veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs), and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) must have the maximum practicable opportunity to compete for, and receive, subcontract awards (see 15 U.S.C. 637(d)(1))

Compliance with this policy requires action by:

  1. Contracting officers, to:
    1. request and obtain plans for applicable contracts;
    2. negotiate plans that demonstrate the prime contractor's best efforts to subcontract with SBs, HUBZone small businesses, SDBs, WOSBs, VOSBs, and SDVOSBs to the maximum extent practicable; and
    3. actively monitor the prime contractor's progress in carrying out its plan.
  2. Small businesses, to:
    1. assist the contracting officer in evaluating and negotiating acceptable plans,
    2. obtain necessary advice and assistance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and Defense Contract Management Command (DCMC) subcontracting specialists,
    3. coordinate approvals with the Director of OPM's Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSBDU) and the Contracting Group's Small Business Technical Advocate (SBTA) if applicable; and
    4. monitor contractors' performance through collection and analysis of required reports.
  3. The OSBDU Director, to develop appropriate subcontracting program policy and ensure its consistent application throughout OPM; and
  4. Prime contractors, to develop and submit subcontracting plans which contain aggressive goals, show their good faith efforts to award subcontracts to SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns, and submit accurate, timely and complete reports of their subcontracting activity.

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Determining the Need for a Subcontracting Plan

  1. FAR 19.701 defines a "subcontract" as "any agreement (other than one involving an employer-employee relationship) entered into by a Government prime contractor or subcontractor calling for supplies and/or services required for performance of the contract, contract modification, or subcontract." Prime contractors will typically have two different types of subcontrcting plan: (1) a subcontract management plan, which describes how they plan to manage their subcontractor(s); and (2) a small business subcontracting plan, which contains the numerical goals the prime contractor has set for itself in using small businesses a subcontractors and its plans for reaching these goals. For the purposes of this Contracting Policy, the term "subcontracting plan" means the second type of plan, the small business subcontracting plan.
  2. As indicated in the "Background" section above, all acquisitions with a projected value expected to exceed $550,000 ($1,000,000 for construction), which will use sealed bidding or negotiation (FAR Parts 14 or 15) as the acquisition method, and which have subcontracting possibilities, must have subcontracting plans (FAR 19.702(a)). However, Subcontracting plans (see paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section) are not required–
    1. From small business concerns;
    2. For personal services contracts;
    3. For contracts or contract modifications that will be performed entirely outside of the United States and its outlying areas; or
    4. For modifications to contracts within the general scope of the contract that do not contain the clause at 52.219-8, Utilization of Small Business Concerns (or equivalent prior clauses; e.g., contracts awarded before the enactment of Public Law 95-507). (FAR 19.702(b))
  3. Even though formal subcontracting plans are not required below the $550,000 (or $1,000,000) threshold, any contractor receiving a contract for more than the simplified acquisition threshold must agree in the contract that SBs, VOSBs, SDVOSBs, HUBZones, SDBs, and WOSBs will have the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in contract performance consistent with its efficient performance

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Types of Subcontracting Plan

  1. Individual Plans

    An individual subcontracting plan contains separate dollar and percentage subcontracting goals with all administrative elements developed for the specific contract. Each item of the plan must be negotiated and approved by the contracting officer prior to award. The plan applies to the contract for its entire life (see FAR 52.219-9).

  2. Master Plans with Individual Contract Goals

    A master subcontracting plan contains the repetitive policy and administrative information required for subcontracting plans (see FAR 19.704(b)). Contractors may establish master plans on a plant or division-wide basis. The master plan shall be effective for a 3-year period after approval by the contracting officer; however, it is incumbent upon contractors to maintain and update master plans.

    The master plan does not include goals; therefore, when a prime contractor presents it, the contracting officer must negotiate separate dollar and percentage goals for SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOB, VOSB, and SDVOSB participation. A listing of the items and services to be subcontracted under the plan; and descriptions of the method used to develop the goals, to develop subcontracting source lists and to allocate overhead to the subcontracting plan must also be obtained. In accordance with FAR 52.219-9(f), the contracting officer may negotiate any deviations from the master plan that is necessary to tailor it for a specific contract. When a master plan is accepted, the contracting officer must also obtain a copy of the lead agency contracting officer's approval of the master plan. (A lead agency is the first Federal agency to award a contract to a vendor in a given fiscal year.) After goals are negotiated and combined with the master plan to form a total plan, it becomes an "individual" subcontracting plan. Once incorporated into the individual contract, the plan is valid for the life of that contract.

  3. Commercial Plans

    Commercial plans may be submitted when a vendor sells products or services in regular production that is sold to the general public and/or industry for non-governmental purposes. This type of plan contains administrative elements and goals developed and approved on a company-wide basis. Individual contract goals are not required (see FAR 52.219-9).

    Commercial plans are negotiated and approved by the first Federal Government agency to award a contract to that vendor in a given fiscal year, and apply to all contracts awarded during that year for the products and/or services covered by the plan. A copy of the plan and the lead agency contracting officer's approval of the plan must be obtained. The plan must cover the products and services being purchased under the Treasury contract. If it does not, an individual plan must be negotiated.

    Commercial plans are valid only for the year in which they are approved. Therefore, a current plan must be obtained and approved prior to modifying or exercising options to contracts containing commercial plans.

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Contracting for Subcontracting Plans

  1. General

    A subcontracting plan must be obtained from the apparent successful offeror prior to contract award, whether the contract is awarded by sealed bidding or negotiation. A plan must be requested from all offerors and evaluated for award if the evaluation criteria so provide. The time period for submission is established by the contracting officer, but must allow sufficient time for review, negotiation and approval by the OSDBU Director or designee prior to the anticipated contract award date. Ten working days are usually sufficient time to allow for review and approval of the subcontracting plan by the OSDBU Director or designee. Negotiations of questioned items of the subcontracting plan may take longer.

  2. Solicitation Provisions

    In order to assure that contractors submit subcontracting plans with their offers, every OPM solicitation that requires a plan must include the OPM-specific clause 1752.219-70 Small Business Subcontracting Plan), which is in Attachment 1 to this Policy, as well as the "Small, HUBZone Small, Small Disadvantaged, Women-Owned Small, Veteran-Owned Small, and Service Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Subcontracting Plan Outline," which is in Attachment 2.

  3. Subcontracting Program Evaluation Criteria

    For any acquisition over $550,000 ($1,000,000 for construction) where substantial subcontracting opportunities exist, the Contracting Officer should consider including the offeror's subcontracting plan as one of the evaluation factors for award. Depending on the complexity of the evaluation process, the plan evaluation can be a separate evaluation factor, or a part of a technical factor. The evaluation factor should consider not only the subcontracting plan itself, but the offeror's prior performance on its subcontracting plans The following is suggested language for a solicitation:

    Subcontracting Program Performance. The offeror's proposed small, HUBZone small, small disadvantaged women-owned small, veteran-owned small, and service disabled veteran-owned small business subcontracting plan will be evaluated to determine whether it represents the maximum practicable opportunity for subcontracting. The offeror's record of previous performance in carrying out the intent of the subcontracting program will be considered as approximately equal in value. Offerors are encouraged to submit aggressive subcontracting plans and documentation which demonstrates their prior corporate support for small, HUBZone small, small disadvantaged, women-owned small, veteran-owned small, and service disabled veteran-owned small business suppliers. Small business offerors shall receive the maximum possible number of points for this factor (small business prime contractors are exempt from the subcontracting plan requirements of paragraphs 4-6 of 15 U.S.C. § 637(d)(7)).

  4. Publicizing Subcontracting Opportunities

    Although Federal agencies are not required to assist prime contractors with finding subcontractors, or subcontractors prime contractors, nor is it advisable that we do so, there are certain actions we can take to facilitate the process:

    1. Contracting officers must comply with the requirements of FAR Subpart 5.2–Synopses of Proposed Contract Actions and post synopses of actions expected to exceed $25,000 on the Federal Business Opportunities (FedBizOpps) website. This website can be found at http://www.fbo.gov. These announcements alert large and small businesses to the possiblity of subcontracting opportunities.
    2. When posting the synopses, solicitations and related documents on FedBizOpps, the contracting officer should activate the "Interested Vendors List" feature. This will allow potential offerors to list contact information for purposes of funding subcontractors or subcontracting opportunities.
    3. Refer large and small businesses to the SBA's website, which features a search capability called "SUB-Net" at: http://web.sba.gov/subnet/search/index.cfm. This webpage also contains a link to SBA's Subcontracting Opportunities Directory.

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Evaluation of the Subcontracting Plan

  1. The Plan Evaluation Team

    1. Contract Specialist/Contracting Officer

      The contract specialist/contracting officer must:

      1. Review the plan to ensure that it is complete and contains all the information described in FAR 19.704;
      2. Obtain advice and recommendations about the acceptability of the plan and proposed goals from the OSDBU Director or designee;
      3. Evaluate the potential for SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB subcontracting based on all available information, including the apparent successful Offeror's previous achievements. Previous involvement of SB, HUBZoneE, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns as prime or subcontractors in similar acquisitions should be considered (FAR 19.705-4(a)(1)). The contractor can be requested to provide such data regarding its SB, HUBZonee, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB subcontracting on similar acquisitions. If a follow-on acquisition is involved, good data can be expected to be available. Any previous data on similar prime contract awards should be considered;
      4. Negotiate, in the case of negotiated procurements, subcontract goals which represent good faith, and aggressive and comprehensive effort on the part of the apparent successful offeror;
      5. Determine whether the plan provides the maximum practicable opportunity for SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns to participate in the performance of the contract;
      6. In the case of unacceptable plans for negotiated contracts, advise the contractor in writing why a subcontracting plan was determined to be unacceptable. This should be done as quickly as possible so the contractor can modify the plan within the time limits prescribed. The contractor should be advised how it can make the plan acceptable, e.g., by the use of additional source systems or by establishing more aggressive goals;
      7. For sealed bid procurements, determine whether the apparent successful bidder has submitted a plan as specified in the clause at FAR 52.219-9, Alternate I. If the plan does not cover each of the required elements, advise the bidder of the deficiency and request submission of a revised plan by a specific date. If the plan is still incomplete on resubmission, the contractor should be found non-responsive (see FAR 19.705-4(b));
      8. In sealed bid procurements, if a submitted plan is responsive (that is, complete) but shows the bidder's intention not to comply with its obligations under the "Best Efforts" clause at FAR 52.219-8 (that is, give its best efforts to award subcontracts to SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns to the fullest extent consistent with the efficient performance of the contract), then the bidder may be found non-responsible (see FAR 19.705- 4(b)).
    2. OSDBU Director

      The OSDBU Director or designee shall review plans following their review by the contracting officer and SBTA to ensure their conformance with OPM policy and ensure that subcontracting program policies are consistently applied. The OSDBU Director will have the benefit of seeing plans submitted by contractors to OPM, and be aware of their previous compliance with individual plans and the subcontracting program in general.

  2. Evaluation Factors

    The following questions should be answered to provide a basis for evaluating the subcontracting plan:

    1. Are the elements listed in FAR 52.219-8 included in the plan? (This is the absolute minimum.)
    2. Are affirmative goals included? In no case are "zero" goals acceptable.
    3. Has the prime contractor previously performed this service or produced the supplies? Have they complied with previous subcontracting plans?
    4. Have SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns previously performed this or similar acquisitions as a prime or subcontractor?
    5. What is the prime contractor's method of involving SB, HUBZONE, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns as subcontractors? How does it plan to locate and solicit these firms?
    6. What types of records are maintained to demonstrate the contractor's intention to comply with the plan?
    7. Does the contractor have a "make-or-buy" program applicable to this acquisition?
    8. Do the plan and the contractor's in-house systems constitute a good faith effort to use SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns as subcontractors?
    9. Do the proposed goals reflect the maximum practicable opportunity for SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns to participate as subcontractors?
  3. Plan Review Procedures

    1. Sealed Bids

      The apparent successful bidder submits a plan. The contracting officer or contract specialist reviews the plan using the "Subcontracting Plan Review," Attachment 3, and completes a "Subcontracting Plan Review Checklist," Attachment 4. The plan, review, checklist, and proposed contract are submitted to the OSDBU Director or designee for review. The OSDBU Director or designee will provide recommendations on subcontracting opportunities offered under the contract and the acceptability of the subcontracting plan. The contracting officer reviews the OSDBU Director's or designee's recommendations. If the plan does not cover all of the required elements, the contracting officer must advise the contractor of the deficiency and request a revision or a new plan by a specific date.

      After a complete plan is submitted, but before the contracting officer has accepted it, the plan must be forwarded to the OSDBU Director or designee for review and approval. A copy of the proposed plan and the Subcontracting Plan Review Checklist must be forwarded to the OSDBU Director or designee at least 10 working days prior to award. The OSDBU Director or designee will make every effort to respond within 5 working days. For any acquisition over $550,000 ($1,000,000 for construction) with substantial subcontracting opportunities, the contracting officer and SBTA should request the OSDBU Director's or designee's involvement much earlier in the acquisition cycle. After receiving the OSDBU Director's or designee's approval of the plan, the contracting officer shall make it a material part of the contract (see 15 U.S.C. § 637(d)(5)(B)).

      If a complete and responsive plan is not submitted within the established time period, the contracting officer must reject the bid as non-responsive (see FAR 19.705-4(b)). If the plan, although responsive, show the contractor's intent not to comply with the "Best Efforts" clause, the contracting officer may find the bidder non-responsible (see 15 U.S.C.§ 637(d)(5)(B) and FAR 19.705-4(b)).

    2. Contracting by Negotiation

      The apparent successful offeror submits a plan. If the procurement is over $550,000 ($1,000,000 for construction), with many subcontracting opportunities, plans shall be requested from all offerors or from all offerors in the competitive range. The contracting officer or contract specialist reviews the plan(s) using the "Subcontracting Plan Review," Attachment 3, and completes a "Subcontracting Plan Review Checklist," Attachment 4. The plan, review, checklist, and proposed contract are submitted to the OSDBU Director or designee for review. The OSDBU Director or designee will provide recommendations on subcontracting opportunities offered under the contract and the acceptability of the subcontracting plan. The contracting officer reviews the OSDBU Director's or designee's recommendations. If the plan does not cover all of the required elements, the contracting officer must advise the contractor of the deficiency and request a revision or a new plan by a specific date.

      After a complete plan is submitted, but before the contracting officer has accepted it, the plan must be forwarded to the OSDBU Director or designee for review and approval as described above under "Sealed Bids." Adequacy of the subcontracting plan is determined on the basis of negotiation of each of the required elements. An acceptable subcontracting plan must be negotiated prior to award.

      For contractors who submit approved master plans, only the individual contract goals must be negotiated. Other elements of the master plan may be negotiated to conform to the requirements of the OPM contracting officer. If a commercial plan and associated approvals are submitted, no negotiation is required.

  4. Other Considerations

    1. Incentives

      PL 95-507 encourages the use of various incentives to support subcontracting (see 15 U.S.C. 637(d)(4)(E) and FAR 19.705-1). Various approaches are acceptable, including a fully quantified schedule of payments or award fees. One of the simplest approaches is to include the subcontracting plan as an evaluation factor in the solicitation, and require a plan to be submitted by all offerors except small businesses (15 U.S.C. 637(d)(8) exempts small businesses from the subcontracting plan requirements of 15 U.S.C. 637(d)(4)-(6)). See Section 4)c) above, "Subcontracting Program Evaluation Criteria," for suggested wording for this evaluation factor.

      Other types of incentive provisions may be negotiated after agreement on the basic plan. Use of incentives must be governed by assurance that the established goals are realistic, and award fees must be commensurate with contractor effort beyond that which would have been expended under the basic plan (see FAR 19.705-1).

    2. Contractor Responsibility

      Before determining the responsibility of an offeror on a contract requiring a subcontracting plan, the contracting officer must review the offeror's compliance with previous subcontracting plans, if any, approved by that contracting office. The review must include the contractor's performance in submitting subcontracting reports in a timely manner. Failure to submit a plan which shows a good faith effort to use SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns must be a factor in determining responsibility.

    3. Profit or Fee

      The degree of a contractor's support for the subcontracting program must be considered as a factor in determining the amount of profit or fee (see FAR 15.404-4(d)(iii)). SBA and/or a previous administrative contracting officer should be consulted for advice on the contractor's subcontracting program.

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Awarding the Contract with a Subcontracting Plan

After approval by the OSDBU Director or designee and acceptance by the contracting officer, the subcontracting plan must be made a material part of the contract. It may be incorporated in its entirety or by reference.

All OPM contracts, which include subcontracting plans, must also include filing of the Individual Subcontract Report (ISR) and the Summary Subcontract Report (SSR) (formerly the SF 294 and SF 295 reports) in the Electronic Subcontracting Reporting System (eSRS), on line at: https://esrs.symplicity.com/index?cck=1, as a not separately priced line item deliverable under the contract.

Post-Award Action

  1. Synopsis of Award

    The contracting officer should indicate in the award synopsis that a contract includes a subcontracting plan, and provide the address and telephone number of the subcontracting plan administrator. The contracting officer should also encourage prime contractors and subcontractors to publicize subcontracting opportunities in FedBizOpps.

  2. Notifying SBA

    The contracting officer must forward a copy of the award document and subcontracting plan to the SBA Commercial Marketing Representative (CMR) in the SBA region where the contract will be performed. A listing of the SBA CMR addresses may be found on SBA's website at http://www.sba.gov/localresources/index.html. A sample transmittal letter to SBA may be found at Appendix 9-5. The contracting officer shall send a copy of any company-wide commercial plans and associated approvals to the SBA CMR in the SBA region where the contractor's headquarters is located.

  3. Contract Administration Responsibilities

    1. General Administration of the Plan

      The contracting officer monitors and documents the contractor's performance under the plan. He or she is responsible for reviewing the contractor's compliance with goals and procedures established in the plan, including implementation of the "flow-down" provisions to lower tier subcontractors.

  4. Monitoring Reports

    The contractor must file the ISR and SSR using eSRS (https://esrs.symplicity.com/index?cck=1). The contracting officer must monitor receipt of the ISRs and SSRs in eSRS for individual contract plans or SSRs for company-wide plans.

    Upon receipt of an ISR or SR, the contracting officer must review the reports for progress in meeting subcontracting plan goals by comparing the reports with the plan. If percentage goals are not met, the contractor must be required to explain the shortfall in the "Remarks" block on the subcontracting reports and may be required to submit evidence of its outreach efforts to locate and provide subcontracting opportunities to SB, HUBZone, SDB, WOSB, VOSB, and SDVOSB concerns. The requirement for compliance with plans may be fulfilled by evidence of satisfactory outreach efforts, as described in the plan, as well as by total compliance with the subcontracting plan. The contracting officer must also obtain delinquent ISRs from contractors for both individual and company-wide plans.

  5. Procedures for Delinquent Reports

    Contractors who fail to submit ISRs and SSRs within 10 calendar days of the due date must be reminded in writing that the report is past due. A sample delinquency notices is in Attachment 6. Contractors who do not respond to the first notice must be issued a second written notice by certified mail that must contain the following information:

    1. A statement that the named report has not been received;
    2. A statement that failure to submit the report is a material breach of the contract;
    3. A statement that if the report is not received within 15 calendar days from the date of the notice, the contracting officer will consider withholding payments as deemed appropriate under the circumstances until the report is received, and may terminate the contract for default;
    4. A reminder that failure to submit the report may affect the contractor's ability to receive future awards from OPM and that willful failure to perform or a history of failure to perform may result in debarment from future contracting with the Government. Adverse information may also be added to the bureau's past performance database which may affect future awards; and
    5. The address of the contracting officer or administrative contracting officer to whom the report must be sent.

    Copies of delinquency notices concerning ISRs or SSRs must be sent to the OSDBU Director (see FAR 19.705-7(c)).

  6. Final Performance Assessments

    Upon contract completion, the contracting officer must prepare a report documenting and evaluating the contractor's performance under the subcontracting plan. The report must be prepared using "Final Subcontracting Performance Evaluation Report" format shown in Attachment 7. One copy of the report remains in the contract file, and one copy must be forwarded to OSDBU Director within 10 working days of contract completion.

    The report should include (1) the extent to which the goals were met, (2) whether the contractor's efforts were consistent with the effort proposed in the plan, and (3) whether the contractor required its subcontractors to adopt similar subcontract plans (see FAR 19.706(d)). If the contractor did not comply in good faith with the subcontracting plan, the contracting officer must document the noncompliance in writing, include the reasons, and make appropriate recommendations that contracting officers may use for future contracts.

  7. Contracting Officer Duties

    The contracting officer determines the fee payable if an incentive is applied. If the contractor fails to implement the plan, which is a material breach of the contract, the contracting officer may:

    1. Terminate the contract for default;
    2. Withhold payments;
    3. Negotiate a reduction in the contract price;
    4. Negotiate a revised plan to correct deficiencies; and
    5. Initiate action to assess liquidated damages against the contractor.

    Liquidated damages will be equal to 100 percent of the amount by which the contractor failed to meet its goal, and are payable to the procuring agency. The contracting officer should forward copies of ISRs and SSRs received from contractor to the OSDBU Director.

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Point of Contact

Please direct questions concerning this Contracting Policy to W. Neal Patterson, Director, Contracting Group, by telephone at (202) 606-1984 or by e-mail at William.Patterson@opm.gov.

Approved by:

Ronald C. Flom
Senior Procurement Executive

Date: 8/31/09

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Goals

Current Performance Against Goals

Performance against small business goals in FY 2011, FY 2012 and FY 2013:
CategoryFY11 GoalFY 11 ResultsFY 12 GoalsFY 12 ResultsFY 13 GoalsFY 13 Results
Total Small Business 24.33% 18.16% 19.50% 20.25% 19.50% 29.54%
Women-Owned 5.00% 7.89% 5.00% 7.48% 5.00% 10.74%
Small Disadvantaged 5.00% 4.39% 5.00% 5.02% 5.00% 9.63%
Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) 3.00% 0.97% 3.00% 0.84% 3.00% 0.84%
HUBZone 3.00% 0.03% 3.00% 0.46% 3.00% 1.90% 

* These numbers derive from data in the Federal Procurement Data System that has not yet been verified or validated.

Reference

Federal Government Policies and Resources

The Government maintains several websites containing information about the federal small business program, as well as the small business programs in various agencies. Part 19 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation provides the basic guidance on the federal small business program. The U.S. Small business administration provides additional guidance on various parts of the program as well as a variety of information useful to small businesses who want to do business with the Government. Other agencies maintain websites about their own programs, and the OSDBU Directors Interagency Council provides a means to communicate and coordinate the various agency programs.

Small Business Offices at Other Government Agencies

Useful Links

The Government conducts much of its contracting business through the internet. The Acquisition Central website contains links to the most important Government sites. Open-market acquisition opportunities are announced and solicitations posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, and the GSA Schedules website provides the mechanism for purchase from GSA Federal Supply Schedule contracts. In order to do business with the Government, a business must be registered on the Central Contractor Registration and complete the Online Representations and Certifications Application. The Business Partners Network and Federal Procurement Data Center offer additional information about the contractors the Government deals with and the contracts it awards.

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