Good news for Veteran Owned Small Businesses – VOSB – the Veterans Benefits Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006, 38 U.S.C. Sections 8127-8128 (2006), provides, in part:

“…a contracting officer of [the VA] shall award contracts on the basis of competition restricted to small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans if the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans will submit offers and that the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price that offers best value to the United States.”

This statute also sets out an order for priority of contracting preferences – first priority for contracts awarded pursuant to this Act shall be given to SDVOSB concerns, followed by VOSBs.  38 U.S.C. Section 8127(i).

The Comptroller General has determined that the VA procuring from the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) without determining whether the procurement should be set aside for SDVOSBs violates the Act.  Aldera, B-405271, B-405524, Oct. 11, 2011, 2011 CPD P 183.

In a December 19, 2011, decision, the Comptroller General again, Kingdomware Technologies, B-405727, found that the agency violated the 2006 VA Act, which requires the agency to perform market research to determine whether an SDVOSB set-aside is appropriate before conducting a procurement using FSS procedures.

38 U.S.C. Section 8127(e) states that a small business concern may be awarded a contract under a SDVOSB set-aside only if the concern and the veteran owner of the concern are listed in a database of veteran-owned small businesses (VOSB).  The VA has designated the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) as the database of businesses approved to participate in the VA’s VOSB program.  See which is the web portal hosting the VIP.  38 C.F.R. Section 74.1 (2011).

As of January 1, 2012, all VOSB and SDVOSB concerns must be listed in the VIP database in order to receive new contract awards under the Veterans First program.  Self-certification is no longer permitted.    VA Acquisition Regulation (VAAR) Secton 804.1102.

For more information contact Karen Hindson.