Vendors to be rated on small-biz support

Government contractors could soon be penalized for only paying lip service to supporting small businesses.

Under a final rule to be published soon, small-business subcontracting will become a factor in past-performance evaluations, said Robert Burton, associate administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Agencies typically require prime contractors to set aside a percentage of their work for small businesses. But many officials at small businesses complain that the proposed work often does not materialize, and government officials do little to enforce the rules, Burton said.

Under the forthcoming rule, such problems could be counted against a contractor's future bid evaluation.

"We hope [this rule] will make prime contractors more vigilant about complying with their subcontracting plans," he said.

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