President, OMB boost small biz
- By Diane Frank
- Oct 11, 2000
Fact sheet on executive order
A new executive order reinforces agencies' small business contracting responsibilities
by providing a gentle reminder of the president's interest and by putting
the Office of Management and Budget into the review process.
The executive order focuses on the small, disadvantaged and 8(a) businesses
that make up a good portion of the federal small business information technology
As a base, the order states that agencies should establish the following
goals: No less than 5 percent of business should go to small, disadvantaged
businesses (SDBs) as prime contractors and another 5 percent should go to
those businesses as subcontractors.
While the order covers all federal contracting activities, IT is highlighted
as one of the key areas in which agencies should be focusing to get more
"IT is a growing part of our budget each year," said Sally Katzen, deputy
director for management at OMB. Because of this and the fact that the IT
market is much more open to entrepreneurs, "we're encouraging agencies to
really think hard and focus their attention on that area," she said.
Agencies will also have to designate a deputy secretary or similar official
to oversee the implementation of the order, including putting in place specific
training for their contracting personnel.
OMB's involvement comes after many years of agencies and industry complaining
that the Small Business Administration does not have the authority to enforce
the small-business goals. One specific complaint recently has been that
large prime contractors promise agencies that small business subcontractors
will be involved in a contract, but once the contract is awarded, the small
businesses do not see any work, Katzen said.
Agencies will have to develop long-term plans and submit them to OMB
by Jan. 3. They will also have to perform an annual assessment of their
efforts by April 30 each year and provide those assessments to SBA. The
director of OMB will then perform a review of the SBA assessments.
"The inclusion of OMB as the reviewer of the plans speaks volumes,"
Katzen said. While SBA will still be involved and Katzen would not confirm
outright the meaning of this involvement, the general implication is that
OMB will use its authority over agencies' budgets as the enforcement stick
that SBA lacks.
"OMB's involvement means that an agency will take this even more seriously
than if it were SBA alone," Katzen said.