Procurement

VA to build better small-business verification system

VA logo

The Veterans Affairs Department is developing long-term plans for the department’s small business contracting office, including integrating a new business verification system, as the department tries to both strengthen internal controls and steer work to veteran-owned firms.

The Government Accountability Office released a report on Jan. 14, pushing VA officials to provide the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization better ways to monitor its verification program’s progress.

In response, John Gingrich, VA’s chief of staff, wrote that the OSDBU is incorporating an updated vendor verification system into its longer term plans. The new system, the Next Generation Verification Case Management System, will be built in two phases. In the first, the department will develop a prototype. After getting feedback and addressing concerns, VA plans to launch the production version of the system, using an increment-based contracting approach.

“VA believes the proper development of a longer-term strategic plan is an iterative process,” Gingrich wrote in a Dec. 28 letter to GAO.

Gingrich did not set a timeline for either phase of the build-out, but VA officials expect to submit a strategic plan to Secretary Eric Shinseki for final approval by March.

GAO found the department has improved operations and dealt with program weaknesses. Yet, officials continue “to face challenges in establishing a stable and efficient program to verify firms on a timely and consistent basis.”

Under law, the VA must give contracting preference to service-disabled and other veteran-owned small businesses. It must also verify that the companies meet the eligibility standards, and that verification has proved problematic.

The OSDBU’s current system does not collect key data and is limited in its reporting and workflow management, GAO reported.

Since 2008, when VA began verifying companies, it has relied on data systems it developed on an ad hoc basis and in response to immediate needs. Officials had no overarching plan. In addition, they did not have VA’s Office of Information and Technology playing a key role in the system setup.

VA plans to modify or replace the system, but until now has not directly tied this effort into its long-term strategic planning efforts.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by wk1003mike): cloud system fracture.

    Does the IRS have a cloud strategy?

    Congress and watchdog agencies have dinged the IRS for lacking an enterprise cloud strategy seven years after it became the official policy of the U.S. government.

  • Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices.

    Who won what in EIS

    The General Services Administration posted detailed data on how the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract might be divvied up.

  • Wikimedia Image: U.S. Cyber Command logo.

    Trump elevates CyberCom to combatant command status

    The White House announced a long-planned move to elevate Cyber Command to the status of a full combatant command.

  • Photo credit: John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

    Verizon plans FirstNet rival

    Verizon says it will carve a dedicated network out of its extensive national 4G LTE network for first responders, in competition with FirstNet.

  • AI concept art

    Can AI tools replace feds?

    The Heritage Foundation is recommending that hundreds of thousands of federal jobs be replaced by automation as part of a larger government reorganization strategy.

  • DOD Common Access Cards

    DOD pushes toward CAC replacement

    Defense officials hope the Common Access Card's days are numbered as they continue to test new identity management solutions.

Reader comments

Tue, Jan 15, 2013

The best thing VA could do is change their negative attitude towards SDVOSB and VOSB in both the verification process and contract set asides. VA refuses to follow the Veterans First Law and make it no secret this new system is just to hide their hatred for veterans.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group