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Acquisition Policy Flash! 16-09

What's Changed?

Guidance on Revised Procedures for Small Business Procurement Reviews and VA Form 2268 Coordination by Heads of Contracting Activities

Purpose: This Acquisition Flash provides Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) guidance regarding Head of Contracting Activity (HCA) involvement in small business procurement reviews of the VA Form 2268.  These revised procedures capture updated guidance resulting from the Employee Empowerment Initiative (EEI).

Dated:  June 22, 2016

Effective Date:  Immediately

Expiration Date:  Until incorporated into the Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) or Veterans Affairs Acquisition Manual (VAAM) or otherwise rescinded.

Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Veterans Affairs Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) Sections referenced:  FAR part 19 and VAAR part 819.

Background:  The FY 2014 Office of Small & Disadvantage Business Utilization (OSDBU) Procurement Review Policy memorandum required OSDBU review of all 2268s regardless of the dollar value for actions that have been set-aside for small businesses and those not set-aside for small businesses.  In August 2015 contracting officers expressed concern that the review process was overly burdensome and increased procurement acquisition lead times (PALT).  Additionally, contracting officers questioned the value of OSDBU’s review of actions that were set-aside for small businesses.

In response to the contracting officer’s concerns regarding the small business review process, the thresholds were examined when the VA acting Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) instituted an Employee Empowerment Initiative (EEI).  One of the EEI’s goals was to improve VA acquisition’s operating efficiency by streamlining decision making and acquisition-related approval processes.  Consequently, one of the EEI recommendations was to streamline the approval process for the VA Form 2268.

OSDBU reviewed and concurred with the EEI’s recommendation.  In an effort to further streamline the VA Form 2268 review and approval process OSDBU agreed to additional changes to the process.  As a result, the revised VA Form 2268 coordination and review process now requires HCA involvement only when there is a disagreement with an OSDBU recommendation for any acquisition the contracting officer did not set-aside for small business concerns.  The thresholds for all other VA Form 2268 reviews will be specified in the individually approved HCA Small Business Operating Plans.

Applicability:  The FY 2016 Small Business Procurement Review Program policy and the contents of this Acquisition Flash applies to all new VA procurement actions to be performed in the United States.

Summary of Changes:

Below is a summary of the most significant change to the Small Business Procurement Review Program policy:

Procurements set aside for Veteran-owned small businesses do not require OSDBU review.

OSDBU Procurement Reviews for proposed procurements that are not set aside for Veteran-owned small businesses within the Small Business Focus Categories (SBFC) is required for procurements with an estimated contract value greater than the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) for all NAICS codes listed in the FY 2016 Small Business Procurement Review Program Policy.  Reviews for requirements with and estimated value between $3,500 and the SAT for certain NAICS codes is no longer required.

Contract Bundling Review requirements changed from “all acquisitions (regardless of the NAICS code) valued at greater than the Simplified Acquisition Threshold that meet the definition of a consolidated or bundled contract” to “all acquisitions not set aside for small businesses (regardless of NAICS code) valued above the Simplified Acquisition Threshold that meet the definition of a consolidated or bundled contract.”

Exemptions from OSDBU Review paragraph has been added to identify actions that are exempt from OSDBU review.

HCAs shall review all OSDBU non-concurrences and shall have final review authority over all procurements receiving a non-concurrence by OSDBU.

While task orders against multiple award contracts with both large and small business awardees with a NAICS code within the SBFC do require a VA Form 2268 at the contract and task order level, single award IDIQ contracts do not require OSDBU review at the task order level.

Procurement actions under the SAT in the SBFC do not require review by the program SES or HCA.  Procurements in this category not set aside for small businesses shall be reviewed by the cognizant Small Business Liaison (SBL) or Small Business Specialist (SBS) attached to the contracting activity under delegated authority from OSDBU.  If the SBL or SBS non-concurs on the action, the supervisor in the program office where the requirement originated shall sign the 2268, in lieu of the Program Office SES.  The 2268 will be forwarded to the Director of Contracting (in VHA) or to an acquisition manager designated by the HCA (non-VHA) for final review.  Should the DOC or HCA designee agree that the procurement should continue, s/he will sign the 2268 in lieu of the HCA and forward the signed copy to the CO and the SBL.

NOTE:  The changes identified above are not all inclusive.  Acquisition personnel are encouraged to review the memorandum in its entirety to ensure they are familiar with all of the changes contained therein.

Action Required:  HCAs shall implement all requirements of the FY 2016 Small Business Procurement Review Program Policy.  Additionally, HCAs shall incorporate the following review thresholds into their respective HCA Small Business Operating Plan:

Procurement actions set aside for small business:
Procurement actions set aside for small business at any dollar value will be reviewed by the CO and SBL or SBS and OSDBU in accordance with the FY 2016 Small Business Procurement Review Program Policy.

Procurement actions not set aside for small business:
< $50M — will be reviewed by an individual one level above the contracting officer, the SBL and OSDBU in accordance with the FY 2016 Small Business Procurement Review Program Policy.

> $50M — will be reviewed by the HCA or designee and OSDBU as required in accordance with the FY 2016 Small Business Procurement Review Program Policy.

Effectively immediately HCAs shall revise their respective Small Business Operating Plan to implement all requirements of the FY 2016 Small Business Procurement Review Program Policy and the review thresholds identified above.  HCA review is required only when OSDBU’s recommendation is not going to be followed for any acquisition not set-aside for Veteran-owned and service-disabled Veteran-owned small businesses.

Contracting officers shall conform to the thresholds for all other VA Form 2268 reviews as specified in the cognizant HCA Small Business Operating Plan and FY 2016 Small Business Procurement Review Program Policy guidance.

Required Forms:  VA Form 2268, Small Business Program and Contract Bundling Review, and VA Form 2268a, Contract Bundling Checklist.

Additional Information:  Direct any questions or comments to Procurement Policy and Warrant Management Services via email at va.procurement.policy@va.gov or via telephone at (202) 632-5288.