On March 7, 2013, the Small Business Administration released proposed regulations to amend several clauses of the FAR that specifically address the process for “Protest and Appeal Procedures (78 FR 14746)”. The overall objective of the proposed regulations is to make sure that contracts set aside for small businesses are awarded to eligible small business concerns.

Under the current procedures (FAR 19.302), the SBA must issue a size determination within 10 business days. If the SBA does not issue its size determination within that 10-day period, the contracting officer may proceed with award to the challenged firm. The proposed regulation increases the number of days given to the SBA to 15 business days and provides contracting officers the ability, if needed, to grant an extension to the SBA to make its size determination. If the SBA does not issue its size determination within the 15-day period, or within any granted extension period, the proposed rule prevents contracting officers from proceeding with an award to the challenged firm unless he or she determines in writing that waiting for the SBA determination will be disadvantageous to the Government.

What does this mean for me as a Small Business Concern?
The SBA suggests that the proposed changes “will not have a direct negative impact on any small business concern, since the regulations are aimed at preventing businesses that are not small or are ineligible in terms of their status as a HUBZone, SDVOSB, or WOSB concern, from receiving or performing contracts that are set aside for small business concerns.”

Among the Proposed Regulations by the SBA are:
• The information that must be included with the protest
• The time frames for submittal of a protest by an interested parties (generally 5 days)
• The actions the contracting officer must take before and after receiving an SBA determination
• The actions the contracting officer must take if there has or has not been a timely appeal filed
• The requirements for concerns determined by the SBA to be ineligible in either size or status to represent itself under one of the SBA small business categories.

The proposed rule is open for public comment for 60 days and will close on May 6, 2013. Comments can be submitted at: regulations.gov.

For more information on the proposed regulations contact any GSA schedule consultants at  Coley GSA.

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