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Seat Snowe, Ranking Member Kerry, distinguished people of the Committee, many thanks for welcoming me personally to testify today about our tasks and issues about the prize of federal federal government agreements to small enterprises.
The little Business Act establishes an objective of awarding smaller businesses no less than 23 % associated with total value of prime agreements granted government-wide each financial 12 months. The Act further recognizes the small company AdministrationвЂ™s (SBA) advocacy role for smaller businesses, and directs the SBA, in essence, to just simply take all steps that are reasonable market possibilities for small enterprises, including organizations owned by minorities, ladies, solution disabled veterans, along with other disadvantaged people, to have federal federal federal government agreements.
We issue a report on the major Management Challenges facing SBA as you know, each year. Among the challenges means flaws within the procurement procedure that have actually permitted big organizations to get and perform business prizes and agencies to get business credit for agreements done by big organizations.
Contracting Officer Error.
Our efforts to bring to prosecution situations of small company contracting fraudulence have now been complicated by the issue that is third I would like to concentrate on вЂ“ contracting officer mistake. Good situations happen undermined by contracting personnel at Federal agencies that do perhaps maybe perhaps maybe not comply, or are only not really acquainted with small company contracting demands. We now have seen mistakes where agencies accepted bids from contractors on business agreements, although the contractors hadn’t certified they had been smaller businesses. Other mistakes have actually included failing woefully to demand size certifications from companies, abuse of small company set-asides to procure these products of big companies (such as for instance pcs), counting on databases containing inaccurate information on smaller businesses, abuse associated with North United states Industrial Classification categories utilized to determine smaller businesses, and failing continually to investigate discrepancies that claim that the specialist may well not fulfill small company requirements. Although we are going to continue steadily to diligently investigate cases of specialist fraudulence, the truth is that juries are reluctant to come back responsible verdicts in a federal government contracting fraudulence situation if the federal government is negligent, or has neglected to explore apparent discrepancies.
Wrong Entries in FPDS-NG.
The issue that is fourth wrong entries in FPDS-NG вЂ“ the database utilized to develop and report government-wide data to Congress on small company honors. Although we have actually anecdotal proof with this problem, we don’t know the degree of this issue. In the last three years, we have gotten different complaints about big companies being reported in FPDS-NG as receiving small company honors. This occurred because the large business acquired a small business, or the business had been a small business and grew large in some instances. One other typical explanation this happened, nevertheless, ended up being as a result of input mistakes. Once we used through to these complaints, we discovered some honors in which the procurement ended up being prepared utilizing вЂњfree and openвЂќ procedures together with prize recipient hadn’t represented it was a small company. Contracting workplaces have actually admitted that the business that is small were merely input errors. Because FPDS-NG may be the database for tracking federal federal federal government honors to small company, it is necessary that the information is proper.
What you can do to fix the difficulties with small company contracting?
To its credit, SBA has had some actions in this region. SBA issued a proposed legislation in 2003 to require contractors doing on numerous award agreements to annually recertify their small company size. The OIG thinks that an honor recertification would offer a control that is significant the precision and integrity of small company contracting. In 2004, SBA issued final laws requiring that agencies get a recertification as to size once the agreement comes to some other business. Nonetheless, this has now been significantly more than 36 months since SBA issued its proposed rule on yearly official official official official certification. This guideline has to be finalized. Instead, Congress could amend part 15(g) of this business Act to need yearly official certification. Another step that is positive reduce contracting officer mistake is always to increase training on business procurement for contracting personnel. While keeping that training may be the duty of each procuring agency, SBA reported so it has helped develop training modules and does offer training to many other agencies. Just because supplying business that is small training to contracting workers www.badcreditloans4all.com/payday-loans-la/ is certainly not an immediate SBA obligation, we think that due to the fact advocate of small company, SBA has to offer whatever help it may in this region. SBA has additionally submitted proposed legislation suggested by the OIG to revise part 16(d) for the business Act, making clear that SBA gets the authority to debar a specialist for size misrepresentation. In a current instance, the Agency ended up being reluctant to continue with debarment as it ended up being uncertain whether or not it had the mandatory authority under area 16(d). Consequently, this matter had been called to a different agency for consideration. SBA officials recommend it’s not simple for them to debar contractors whom make size misrepresentations. That it may be administratively easier in some cases for other agencies to process such debarments, other agencies have little incentive to pursue the matter while we agree. We believe, because of SBAвЂ™s unique part as the agency mainly in charge of the set-aside programs, it must share into the duty for policing these programs. We urge Congress to enact the legislation we now have recommended to really make it clear that SBA can undertake a debarment for size misrepresentation.
Congress may also establish control procedures within SBA. By way of example, some SBA officials took the positioning that, because the contracting agencies verify to GSA that the info input into FPDS-NG is accurate, precision is definitely a interior control problem for every procuring agency вЂ“ not SBA. But, legislation could produce a working workplace within SBA observe agreement integrity. That workplace could possibly be in charge of determining whether procuring agencies are complying with small company contracting demands and whether or not the agencies are accurately reporting on the negotiated business that is small objectives. Legislation may also need the pinnacle of a procuring agency to certify as towards the precision for the reported information, also to conduct an evaluation, through statistically legitimate sampling strategies or elsewhere, to validate that reported information properly reflects business contracting activity that is small.
To ensure all opportunities are pursued to aid tiny and disadvantaged companies obtain government agreements, we’re going to continue steadily to challenge SBA to boost government-wide compliance with the goals of small company contracting; to aggressively pursue prosecutions and debarments where warranted; also to look for innovative and effective approaches to boost the cap ability of small enterprises to complete company with all the U.S. national.
Many thanks for the chance to comment. We anticipate responding to any relevant concerns you will probably have.