Small Business Update from Wolters Kluwer Law & Business
October 3, 2012
- A proposed rule issued by the Department of Defense, General Services Administration, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration would amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation to clarify that acquisitions for research and development shall be set aside when there is also a reasonable expectation that there are small businesses capable of providing the best scientific and technological approaches. The rule would revise FAR 19.502-2(b)(2), Total small business set-asides, to clarify that contracting officers shall set aside acquisitions for R&D in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold when the market research indicates there are small businesses capable of providing the best scientific and technological approaches. The rule is issued in response to a request from the Small Business Administration to review the last sentence of FAR 19.502-2(b)(2), which reads "[i]n making R&D small business set-asides, there must also be a reasonable expectation of obtaining from small businesses the best scientific and technological sources consistent with the demands of the proposed acquisition for the best mix of cost, performances, and schedules." According to SBA, this language has been interpreted as an additional and unique condition that must be met before a CO can proceed with a small business set-aside for R&D. FAR 19.502-2(b) establishes the general requirements for a total small business set-aside above the simplified acquisition threshold: that offers will be obtained from at least two responsible small business concerns offering the products of different small business concerns; and that the award from the set-aside will be made at fair market prices. Comments referencing FAR Case 2012-015 are due October 9, 2012. For the text of the rule, see 77 FR 47797.
- The Small Business Administration has issued proposed rules that would increase the small business size standards for industries in three North American Industry Classification System Sectors. The first proposed rule (77 FR 42197) would increase the small business size standards for one industry and one sub-industry in NAICS Sector 23, Construction. The second proposed rule (77 FR 42211) would increase the small business size standards for 17 industries in NAICS Sector 71, Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation. A third proposed rule (77 FR 42441) would increase the small business size standards for 9 industries in NAICS Sector 22, Utilities. Each rule would amend SBA 121.201 to reflect the increased size standards. These proposed rules are part of a series that will examine size standards of industries grouped by NAICS sector. SBA issued a white paper entitled "Size Standards Methodology," which can be found at http://www.sba.gov/size for public review and comments. This white paper explains how SBA establishes, reviews, and modifies its small business size standards. Comments on each rule are due September 17, 2012.
- The Small Business Administration has amended its policy directives for the Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs. These amendments implement provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012. The NDAA contained the SBIR/STTR Reauthorization Act of 2011, which made several key changes to the programs relating to eligibility, awards, program administration, and fraud, waste, and abuse. SBA has addressed these changes in the amended directives. The directives outline how agencies must generally conduct their SBIR and STTR programs. Each agency, however, can tailor its program to meet its needs, as long as the general principles of the programs set forth in the Small Business Act and directives are followed. Although SBA published the directives as final, it is requesting comments on the various amendments. Comments are due October 5, 2012. For the text of the directives, as amended, see 77 FR 46805 and 77 FR 46855.