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How Can Ordering Agencies Provide Preference To Small Businesses To Meet Their Socioeconomic Goals?

 

We often get questions from ordering agencies asking whether they can set-aside a requirement for small business. The short answer as of Nov 2011 is yes! Please follow the link here to see why: Can Schedule Orders Be Set-Aside for Small Business?

Occasionally, the discussion turns to whether an ordering activity can provide preference to meet their socioeconomic goals. What we recommend is that if agencies choose to do so, they can then provide for preference to small business by using socioeconomic status as an evaluation factor. Many of our astute Contracting Officers' (CO) have said, “Can’t we just send the RFQ to 3 small businesses?” The problem with this scenario is that the ordering activity is required to share the RFQ with any schedule contract holder that requests it per FAR Part 8.405-2(c)(4). The FAR further goes on to state that the agency must evaluate all responses received per the RFQs evaluations factors as required by FAR Part 8.405-2(d). If the ordering activity has not used socioeconomic status as an evaluation factor, a large business could request an RFQ, provide a quote, and the CO would have to evaluate per the RFQs evaluation factors. Instead, we recommend that the ordering activity use socioeconomic status as an evaluation factor. Do Brad and I recommend that ordering activities make socioeconomic goals a GO/NO GO decision? No. In essence, all you have done in this scenario is create a small business set-aside. Instead we recommend using socioeconomic status as a weighted evaluation factor. If the evaluation factor is weighted, and schedule contract holders decide to team using a Contractor Teaming Arrangement, then even if the team has large and small businesses working together, the agency can give a partial score in their evaluation, instead of throwing out the team because of the large company’s size standard. Here is a word document with sample terminology that we have used effectively to meet our goals.

Let us know if this helps and works for you!

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bradleyhill
<p>Can someone please send me &quot;...sample terminology&quot;&nbsp; promised above?&nbsp; Link only provides gobbledy-gook.<span style="display: none"><span style="display: none">&nbsp;</span>sam&nbsp;</span></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Thanks.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Bradley Hill, SPSM</p>
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