Agencies told to set aside more orders for small firms

Agencies need to seriously consider setting aside task and delivery orders for small businesses, according to a new interim rule, as procurement officials try to help the companies in the expansive world of multiple-award contracts.

Regulators have revised the Federal Acquisition Regulation to match the fluctuation toward task- and delivery-order contracts, such as governmentwide acquisition contracts, blanket purchase agreements, and even agency-wide contracts. The Office of Federal Procurement Policy has pushed those types of vehicles in an effort to bulk buy and lower prices.

Officials released an interim rule Nov. 2 about the FAR revisions. The rule took effect the same day.


Related stories:

The changeover from small to other than small is too big

Surviving the Darwinian world of federal contracting


The changes make clear that contracting officers can set aside orders for small businesses on blanket purchase agreements, under the General Services Administration’s Multiple Award Schedules and on multiple-award contracts.

The revisions add a new section in the FAR. It authorizes agencies to set aside one or more contracts for small business on a multiple-award contract, including any of the socio-economic programs, such as the service-disabled, veteran-owned small business program.

With new changes, officials want small companies to get more business in the growing world of task and delivery orders since that’s where the money has increasingly been going since the mid-1990s.

Officials are hopeful for what the changes will bring to small businesses. The Defense Department, GSA, and NASA expect agencies to take advantage of the set-aside revisions. They want agencies to identify possible multiple-award contracts through which they could set aside orders for small businesses. They also want agencies to set aside more orders when using GSA’s Schedules, according to the notice.

The changes are based on law and advice from an advisory group.

Congress included language in the Small Business Jobs Act, which became law in 2010, addressing set-asides among task and delivery orders.

Also in 2010, an interagency panel, which was created by President Barack Obama to study small-business contracting, found that the issue needed some attention since multiple-award contracts have become so popular.

“There has been no attempt to create a comprehensive policy for orders placed under either general task-and-delivery-order contracts or Schedule contracts that rationalizes and appropriately balances the need for efficiency with the need to maximize opportunities for small businesses,” the Task Force on Small Business Contracting wrote in its report.

About the Author

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

Rising Stars

Meet 21 early-career leaders who are doing great things in federal IT.

Featured

  • Shutterstock imag (by Benjamin Haas): cyber coded team.

    What keeps govtech leaders up at night?

    A joint survey by Grant Thornton and PSC found that IT stakeholders in government fear their own employees and outdated systems the most when it comes to cybersecurity.

  • SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

    SEC owns up to 2016 breach

    A key database of financial information was breached in 2016, possibly in support of insider trading, said the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DOD looks to get aggressive about cloud adoption

    Defense leaders and Congress are looking to encourage more aggressive cloud policies and prod reluctant agencies to embrace experimentation and risk-taking.

  • Shutterstock / Pictofigo

    The next big thing in IT procurement

    Steve Kelman talks to the agencies that have embraced tech demos in their acquisition efforts -- and urges others in government to give it a try.

  • broken lock

    DHS bans Kaspersky from federal systems

    The Department of Homeland Security banned the Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab’s products from federal agencies in a new binding operational directive.

  • man planning layoffs

    USDA looks to cut CIOs as part of reorg

    The Department of Agriculture is looking to cut down on the number of agency CIOs in the name of efficiency and better communication across mission areas.

Reader comments

Mon, Nov 7, 2011 Stan Jenkins Morgantown, West Virginia

This interim rule is directing agencies to do no more than consider setting orders aside for small businesses. The permissive word "may" is used and not "shall". Do we really think agencies are going to buck the fair opportunity provisions of a contract which were negotiated among the awardees in order to conduct a set-aside? I don't think so.

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