VA Acquisition Regulation Part 819 - Small Business Program
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|819.202-1||Encouraging small business participation in acquisitions.|
|819.202-5||Data collection and reporting requirements.|
|819.202-71||Additional contracting officer responsibilities.|
|819.307||SDVOSB/VOSB Small Business Status Protests.|
|819.502||Setting aside acquisitions.|
|819.502-2||Total small business set-asides.|
|819.602-3||Resolving differences between VA and the Small Business Administration.|
|819.704||Subcontracting plan requirements.|
|819.705||Appeal of Contracting Officer Decisions.|
|819.7004||Contracting Order of Priority.|
|819.7005||Service-disabled veteran-owned small business set-aside procedures.|
|819.7006||Veteran-owned small business set-aside procedures.|
|819.7007||Sole source awards to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns.|
|819.7008||Sole source awards to veteran-owned small business concerns.|
|819.7105||Incentives for mentor participation.|
|819.7106||Eligibility of Mentor and Protégé firms.|
|819.7107||Selection of Protégé firms.|
|819.7109||VA review of application.|
|819.7111||Obligations under the Mentor-Protégé Program.|
|819.7114||Measurement of program success.|
AUTHORITY: 38 U.S.C. 8127 and 8128; 40 U.S.C. 121(c) and (d); 48 CFR 1.301–1.304; and 15 U.S.C. 637(d)(4)(E).
The Secretary shall establish goals for each fiscal year for participation in Department contracts by SDVOSBs and VOSBs. In order to establish contracting priority for veteran-owned and controlled small businesses in accordance with 38 U.S.C. 8128, the Secretary may decrease other statusspecific small business goals set forth by section 15(g)(1) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 644(g)(1)) upon consultation with the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
Contracting officers may negotiate payment terms of less than 30 calendar days to encourage small business participation. A period of less than 7 days may not be prescribed (see FAR 32.908(c)(2)). The contracting officer and the local fiscal officer must be in agreement on the negotiated payment terms before awarding the contract.
(a) Administration heads, staff office directors, and HCAs must, in addition to the responsibilities designated in FAR 19.202-5, cooperate with OSDBU in formulating specific small business program goals and providing other data necessary for goal assessment.
(b) Each VA acquisition activity shall establish goals for the expenditure of funds with preferred businesses within their projected annual budget. OSDBU is responsible for Department-wide goals and accomplishments and will approve or adjust each acquisition activity’s goals.
(c) A Procurement Preference Program Goals Report (Report Control Symbol 00-0427) shall be submitted annually by each acquisition activity to reach OSDBU by November 1. Each report shall contain total expenditure estimates and goals for the current fiscal year and explanations of the methods utilized to arrive at each proposed goal. Anticipated problems in the attainment of the proposed goal in any category shall also be identified. This information will be used in negotiating the Department goals with the Small Business Administration (SBA).
(e) Upon review by OSDBU of the proposed goals, each acquisition activity will be notified of the acceptance of goals as submitted, or of any deficiencies. If the goals are not acceptable, the acquisition activity will be requested to submit further written justification for the goals submitted. Based on documents submitted, OSDBU will make a final determination on the goal assignment.
An HCA must perform the following functions in support of the small business program. These functions cannot be delegated without written approval of the Director, OSBDU:
(a) Develop, on an annual basis, a plan of operation to increase the share of contracts and purchase orders awarded to the small business programs prescribed in FAR Part 19. This plan must also include veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns.
(b) Promote goals for the small business programs set forth in FAR Part 19. This must also include veteran-owned and service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns.
(d) Review class set-asides, established in accordance with criteria in FAR 19.503, at least annually to determine whether items or services procured under a unilateral or joint set-aside should be modified or withdrawn.
(f) If the acquisition activity is assigned to an SBA Procurement Center Representative, assure that the representative is provided logistical support, cooperation, and access to all reasonably obtainable contract information directly pertinent to the SBA Procurement Center Representative’s official duties.
In addition to the duties designated in FAR 19.202 through 19.202-6, contracting officers must perform the following functions in support of the small business program:
(a) All protests relating to whether an eligible VOSB or SDVOSB is a “small” business for the purposes of any Federal program are subject to 13 CFR Part 121 and must be filed in accordance with that part. For acquisitions under the authority of subpart 819.70, upon execution of an interagency agreement between VA and the SBA pursuant to the Economy Act (31 U.S.C. 1535), regarding service-disabled veteran-owned or veteran-owned small business status, contracting officers shall forward all status protests to the Director, Office of Government Contracting (D/GC), U.S. Small Business Administration (ATTN: VAAR Part 819 SDVOSB/VOSB Small Business Status Protests), 409 3rd Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416, for disposition. Except for ownership and control issues to be determined in accordance with 38 CFR Part 74, protests shall follow the procedures set forth in FAR 19.307 for both servicedisabled veteran-owned and veteranowned small business status. However, contracting officers shall be solely responsible for determining VOSB and SDVOSB compliance with VAAR 804.1102.
(b) If SBA sustains a service-disabled veteran-owned or veteran-owned small business status protest and the contract has already been awarded, then the contracting officer cannot count the award as an award to a VOSB or SDVOSB and the concern cannot submit another offer as a VOSB or SDVOSB on a future VOSB or SDVOSB procurement under this part, as applicable, unless it demonstrates to VA that it has overcome the reasons for the determination of ineligibility.
(c) Until execution of the interagency agreement referenced in subsection (a), for acquisitions under the authority of subpart 819.70, the Executive Director, VA Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) shall decide all protests on service-disabled veteran-owned or veteran-owned small business status whether raised by the contracting officer or an offeror. Ownership and control shall be determined in accordance with 38 CFR Part 74. The Executive Director’s decision shall be final.
(1) All protests must be in writing and must state all specific grounds for the protest. Assertions that a protested concern is not a service-disabled veteran-owned or veteran-owned small business concern, without setting forth specific facts or allegations, are insufficient. An offeror must submit its protest to the contracting officer. An offeror must deliver their protest in person, by facsimile, by express delivery service, or by the U.S. Postal Service within the applicable time period to the contracting officer.
(2) An offeror s protest must be received by close of business on the fifth business day after bid opening (in sealed bid acquisitions) or by close of business on the fifth business day after notification by the contracting officer of the apparently successful offeror (in negotiated acquisitions). Any protest received after these time limits is untimely. Any protest received prior to bid opening or notification of intended award, whichever applies, is premature and shall be returned to the protester.
(3) If the Executive Director sustains a service-disabled veteran-owned or veteran-owned small business status protest and the contract has already been awarded, then the contracting officer cannot count the award as an award to a VOSB or SDVOSB and the concern cannot submit another offer as a VOSB or SDVOSB on a future VOSB or SDVOSB procurement under this part, as applicable, unless it demonstrates to VA that it has overcome the reasons for the determination of ineligibility.
When, in accordance with the provisions of FAR 19.502-3, the contracting officer determines that a particular procurement will be partially set aside for small business participation, the solicitation for bids shall include the appropriate product or service classification and appropriate size standard, and the following statement shall be placed on the face page:
Notice of partial set-aside, page _____, applies to item _____ through item _____ in this solicitation.
The Director, OSDBU, is the VA liaison with the SBA. Information copies of correspondence sent to the SBA seeking a certificate of competency determination must be concurrently provided to the Director, OSDBU. Before appealing a certificate of competency, the HCA must seek concurrence from the Director, OSDBU.
(a) The contracting officer shall ensure that any subcontracting plans submitted by offerors include a goal that is at least commensurate with the annual VA SDVOSB prime contracting goal for the total value of planned subcontracts.
(b) The contracting officer shall ensure that any subcontracting plans submitted by offerors include a goal that is at least commensurate with the annual VA VOSB prime contracting goal for the total value of all planned subcontracts.
(c) VA’s OSDBU shall review all prime contractor’s subcontracting plan achievement reports to ensure that, in the case of a subcontract that is counted for purposes of meeting a goal in accordance with subparagraphs (a) and (b) of this section, the subcontract was actually awarded to a business concern that is eligible to be counted toward meeting the goal, as provided in 804.1102.
(b) When an interested party intends to appeal a contracting officer’s decision to not use the set-aside authority contained in subpart 819.70, the party shall notify the contracting officer, in writing, of its intent to challenge the decision. The contracting officer has 5 working days to reply to the challenge by either revising the strategy or indicating the rationale for not settingaside the requirement. Upon receipt of the decision, the interested party may appeal to the Head of the Contracting Activity (HCA). Such appeal shall be filed within 5 working days of receipt of the contracting officer’s decision. The HCA has 5 working days to respond to the appeal. The contracting officer shall suspend action on the acquisition unless the HCA makes a written determination that urgent circumstances exist which would significantly affect the interests of the government. The decision of the HCA shall be final.
(c) Prime contractors submitting businesses declared ineligible for credit in SDVOSB and/or VOSB subcontracting plans may appeal to the Executive Director, Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization and Center for Veterans Enterprise (00VE), U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20420, within 5 working days of receipt of information declaring their subcontractor ineligible. The Executive Director shall have 5 working days to respond. The decision of the Executive Director may be appealed to the Senior Procurement Executive (SPE) within 5 working days. The SPE shall have 15 working days to respond and that decision shall be final.
The contracting officer shall insert VAAR clause 852.219–9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan Minimum Requirements, in solicitations and contracts that include FAR clause 52.219–9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan.
(a) No contract will be entered into with SBA under section 8(a) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 637(a)) unless a certification is made by the Administrator of that agency, or designee, that SBA is competent to perform the contract.
(b) When it is determined that the requirements of VA are appropriate for inclusion in this program, the contracting officer will make this fact known to proper officials of the SBA regional office servicing his/her area. However, when projects funded from minor construction appropriation (between $400,000 and $2 million) are proposed for 8(a) acquisition, the Director, OSDBU (00SB), shall be contacted by telephone or notified in writing in order to afford the OSDBU an opportunity to identify possible 8(a) sources prior to apprising SBA officials. If the certification required by paragraph (a) of this section is received, the VA contracting officer will secure from SBA the name(s) and location(s) of their subcontractor(s) and the unit price(s) to be paid. Should these prices be within a range acceptable to VA, the contracting officer will notify SBA of acceptance.
(a) Sections 502 and 503 of the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 (38 U.S.C. 8127–8128), created an acquisition program for small business concerns owned and controlled by service-disabled veterans and those owned and controlled by veterans for VA.
This subpart applies to VA contracting activities and to its prime contractors. Also, this subpart applies to any government entity that has a contract, memorandum of understanding, agreement, or other arrangement with VA to acquire goods and services for VA in accordance with 817.502.
(a) Eligibility of SDVOSBs and VOSBs continues to be governed by the Small Business Administration regulations, 13 CFR subparts 125.8 through 125.13, as well as the FAR, except where expressly directed otherwise by the VAAR, and 38 CFR verification regulations for SDVOSBs and VOSBs.
In determining the acquisition strategy applicable to an acquisition, the contracting officer shall consider, in the following order of priority, contracting preferences that ensure contracts will be awarded:
(a) The contracting officer shall consider SDVOSB set-asides before considering VOSB set-asides. Except as authorized by 813.106, 819.7007 and 819.7008, the contracting officer shall set-aside an acquisition for competition restricted to SDVOSB concerns upon a reasonable expectation that,
(c) If the contracting officer receives only one acceptable offer at a fair and reasonable price from an eligible SDVOSB concern in response to a SDVOSB set-aside, the contracting officer should make an award to that concern. If the contracting officer receives no acceptable offers from eligible SDVOSB concerns, the set-aside shall be withdrawn and the requirement, if still valid, set aside for VOSB competition, if appropriate.
(a) The contracting officer shall consider SDVOSB set-asides before considering VOSB set-asides. Except as authorized by 813.106, 819.7007 and 819.7008, the contracting officer shall set aside an acquisition for competition restricted to VOSB concerns upon a reasonable expectation that:
(b) If the contracting officer receives only one acceptable offer at a fair and reasonable price from an eligible VOSB concern in response to a VOSB setaside, the contracting officer should make an award to that concern. If the contracting officer receives no acceptable offers from eligible VOSB concerns, the set-aside shall be withdrawn and the requirement, if still valid, set aside for other small business programs, as appropriate.
(b) The contracting officer’s determination whether to make a sole source award is a business decision wholly within the discretion of the contracting officer. A determination that only one SDVOSB concern is available to meet the requirement is not required.
(b) The contracting officer’s determination whether to make a sole source award is a business decision wholly within the discretion of the contracting officer. A determination that only one VOSB concern is available to meet the requirement is not required.
The contracting officer shall insert VAAR clause 852.219–10, Notice of Total Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside or 852.219–11, Notice of Total Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside in solicitations and contracts for acquisitions under this subpart.
The VA Mentor-Protégé Program is designed to assist service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) and veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) in enhancing their capabilities to perform contracts and subcontracts for VA. The Mentor-Protégé Program is also designed to improve the performance of VA contractors and subcontractors by providing developmental assistance to protégé entities, fostering the establishment of long-term business relationships between SDVOSBs, VOSBs and prime contractors, and increasing the overall number of SDVOSBs and VOSBs that receive VA contract and subcontract awards. A firm’s status as a protégé under a VA contract shall not have an effect on the firm’s eligibility to seek other prime contracts or subcontracts.
(a) A Mentor is a contractor that elects to promote and develop SDVOSBs and/or VOSBs by providing developmental assistance designed to enhance the business success of the protégé. A mentor may be a large or small business concern.
(b) OSDBU is the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization. This is the VA office responsible for administering, implementing and coordinating the Department’s small business programs, including the Mentor-Protégé Program.
(d) Protégé means a SDVOSB or VOSB, as defined in 802.101, which meets federal small business size standards in its primary NAICS code and which is the recipient of developmental assistance pursuant to a Mentor-Protégé agreement.
A Protégé firm will not be considered an affiliate of a mentor firm solely on the basis that the protégé firm is receiving developmental assistance from the mentor firm under VA’s Mentor-Protégé Program. The determination of affiliation is a function of the SBA.
(a) To be eligible, mentors and protégés must not be listed on the Excluded Parties List System, located at http://www.epls.gov. Mentors will provide appropriate developmental assistance to enhance the capabilities of protégés to perform as prime contractors and/or subcontractors.
(a) Under the Small Business Act, 15 U.S.C. 637(d)(4)(e), VA is authorized to provide appropriate incentives to encourage subcontracting opportunities for small business consistent with the efficient and economical performance of the contract. This authority is limited to negotiated procurements. FAR 19.202–1 provides additional guidance.
(b) Costs incurred by a mentor to provide developmental assistance, as described in 819.7110 to fulfill the terms of their agreement(s) with a protégé firm(s), are not reimbursable as a direct cost under a VA contract. If VA is the mentor’s responsible audit agency under FAR 42.703–1, VA will consider these costs in determining indirect cost rates. If VA is not the responsible audit agency, mentors are encouraged to enter into an advance agreement with their responsible audit agency on the treatment of such costs when determining indirect cost rates.
(c) In addition to subparagraph (b) of this section, contracting officers shall give mentors evaluation credit under 852.219-52, Evaluation Factor for Participation in the VA Mentor-Protégé Program, considerations for subcontracts awarded pursuant to their Mentor-Protégé Agreements and their subcontracting plans. Therefore:
(2) Contracting officers may assess the prime contractor’s compliance with the subcontracting plans submitted in previous contracts as a factor in evaluating past performance under FAR 15.305(a)(2)(v) and determining contractor responsibility 19.705–5(a)(1).
(d) OSDBU Mentoring Award. A nonmonetary award will be presented annually to the mentoring firm providing the most effective developmental support to a protégé. The Mentor-Protégé Program Manager will recommend an award winner to the OSDBU Director.
(e) OSDBU Mentor-Protégé Annual Conference. At the conclusion of each year in the Mentor-Protégé Program, mentor firms will be invited to brief contracting officers, program leaders, office directors and other guests on program progress.
Eligible business entities approved as mentors may enter into agreements (hereafter referred to as “Mentor-Protégé Agreement” or “Agreement” and explained in 819.7108) with eligible protégés. Mentors provide appropriate developmental assistance to enhance the capabilities of protégés to perform as contractors and/or subcontractors. Eligible small business entities capable of providing developmental assistance may be approved as mentors. Protégés may participate in the program in pursuit of a prime contract or as subcontractors under the mentor’s prime contract with VA, but are not required to be a subcontractor to a VA prime contractor or be a VA prime contractor.
(1) Must be a SDVOSB or VOSB as defined in 802.101;
(c) Protégés may have multiple mentors. Protégés participating in mentor-protégé programs in addition to VA’s Program should maintain a system for preparing separate reports of mentoring activity so that results of VA’s Program can be reported separately from any other agency program.
(d) A protégé firm shall self-represent to a mentor firm that it meets the requirements set forth in paragraph (b) of this section. Mentors shall confirm eligibility by documenting the verified status of the protégé in the VetBiz.gov VIP database. Protégés must maintain verified status throughout the term of the Mentor-Protégé Agreement. Failure to do so shall result in cancellation of the Agreement.
(a) Mentor firms will be solely responsible for selecting protégé firms. Mentors are encouraged to select from a broad base of SDVOSB or VOSB firms whose core competencies support VA’s mission; and choose SDVOSB and/or VOSB protégés in addition to firms with whom they have established business relationships.
(b) Mentors may have multiple protégés. However, to preserve the integrity of the Program and assure the quality of developmental assistance provided to protégés, VA reserves the right to limit the total number of protégés participating under each mentor firm for the Mentor-Protégé Program.
(c) The selection of protégé firms by mentor firms may not be protested, except that any protest regarding the size or eligibility status of an entity selected by a mentor shall be handled in accordance with the FAR and SBA regulations.
(a) Firms interested in becoming approved mentor-protégé participants must submit a joint written VA Mentor-Protégé Agreement to the VA OSDBU for review and approval. The proposed Mentor-Protégé Agreement will be evaluated on the extent to which the mentor plans to provide developmental assistance. Evaluations will consider the nature and extent of technical and managerial support as well as any proposed financial assistance in the form of equity investment, loans, joint-venture, and traditional subcontracting support.
(3) A description of the mentor’s ability to provide developmental assistance to the protégé and the type of developmental assistance that will be provided, to include a description of the types and dollar amounts of subcontract work, if any, that may be awarded to the protégé firm;
(5) Termination procedures, including procedures for the parties’ voluntary withdrawal from the Program. The Agreement shall require the mentor or the protégé to notify the other firm and VA OSDBU in writing at least 30 days in advance of its intent to voluntarily terminate the Agreement;
(10) An agreement by both parties to comply with the reporting requirements of 819.7113;
(a) VA OSDBU will review the information to establish the mentor and protégé eligibility and to ensure that the information that is in VAAR 819.7108 is included. If the application relates to a specific contract, then OSDBU will consult with the responsible contracting officer on the adequacy of the proposed Agreement, as appropriate. OSDBU will complete its review no later than 30 calendar days after receipt of the application or after consultation with the contracting officer, whichever is later. There is no charge to apply for the Mentor-Protégé Program.
(b) After OSDBU completes its review and provides written approval, the mentor may execute the Agreement and implement the developmental assistance as provided under the Agreement. OSDBU will post a copy of the Mentor-Protégé Agreements to a VA Web site to be accessible to VA contracting officers for review for any VA contracts affected by the Agreement.
(c) If the application is disapproved, the mentor may provide additional information for reconsideration. OSDBU will complete review of any supplemental material no later than 30 days after its receipt. Upon finding deficiencies that VA considers correctable, OSDBU will notify the mentor and protégç and request correction of deficiencies to be provided within 15 days.
The forms of developmental assistance a mentor can provide to a protégé include, but are not limited to, the following:
(b) Mentors and protégés shall submit reports to VA OSDBU in accordance with 819.7113.
(a) OSDBU will oversee the Program and will work cooperatively with relevant contracting officers to achieve Program objectives. OSDBU will establish internal controls as checks and balances applicable to the Program. These controls will include:
(b) VA may rescind approval of an existing Mentor-Protégé Agreement if it determines that such action is in VA’s best interest. The rescission shall be in writing and sent to the mentor and protégé after approval by the OSDBU Director. Rescission of an Agreement does not change the terms of any subcontract between the mentor and the protégé.
(4) The extent to which the mentor’s participation in the Mentor-Protégé Program impacted the protégé’(s) ability to receive contract(s) and subcontract(s) from private firms and federal agencies other than VA; and, if deemed necessary;
(c) In addition to the written progress report in paragraph (a) of this section, at the mid-term point in the Mentor-Protégé Agreement, the mentor and the protégé shall formally brief the VA OSDBU regarding program accomplishments as pertains to the approved agreement.
(d) Mentor and protégé firms shall submit an evaluation to OSDBU at the conclusion of the mutually agreed upon Program period, the conclusion of the contract, or the voluntary withdrawal by either party from the Program, whichever comes first.
The overall success of the VA Mentor-Protégé Program encompassing all participating mentors and protégés will be measured by the extent to which it results in:
(b) An increase in the number and dollar value of contract and subcontract awards to prote´ge´ firms since the time of their entry into the program attributable to the mentor-protégé relationship (under VA contracts, contracts awarded by other Federal agencies and under commercial contracts.)
(a) Insert 852.219–71, VA Mentor-Protégé Program, in solicitations that include FAR clause 52.219–9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan.
(b) Insert 852.219–72, Evaluation Factor for Participation in the VA Mentor-Protégé Program, in solicitations that include an evaluation factor for participation in VA’s Mentor-Protégé Program in accordance with 819.7105 and that also include FAR clause 52.219–9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan.
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