This post, written by David Wyld, originally appeared on Public Spend Forum.
The U.S. Small Business Administration recently announced sweeping new guidelines, mandated by the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act, that will significantly enhance the ability of small businesses to pursue and win federal contracting opportunities. For the most part, analysts are in agreement that these new rules will serve to better the prospects of small firms and allow small business to compete for an even greater share of federal procurement dollars than ever before. And, as Alan Chvotkin, Executive Vice President and Counsel of the Professional Services Council recently commented, the SBA’s action “significantly changes how large and small businesses compete for and execute work.”
These new SBA rules, which go into effect December 31, 2013, apply across all federal agencies and pertain to what are known as a multiple award contract (MAC). Under a MAC, an agency generates a single solicitation that can result in many awards to different companies under multiple award task order contracts (MATOCs) for services acquisitions and multiple award delivery order contracts (MADOCs) for product procurements. The SBA rules apply to all types of MACs, including:
- Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts
- GSA Schedule contracts
- Government-wide Acquisition Contracts (GWAC)
- Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPAs)
There are a number of detailed changes that the SBA rules will usher in with the new year. The most important of these are the following:
- Small Business Set-asides.
The new SBA rules place significant limitations on the practice known as “consolidation,” which has acted to limit small businesses ability to compete for federal acquisition opportunities. In the past, an agency could consolidate two or more specific procurement or service needs into a consolidated contract. Likewise, an agency could formerly elect to hold a competition for a consolidated construction contract for construction projects at two or more distinct building sites. However, under the new SBA requirements, a high hurdle will be set for any consolidation valued at $2 million or more.
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