On Wednesday, March 23, 2016, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced on its website that for the next “several weeks” federal Contracting Officers (COs) will need to check with the SBA to verify self-certifications submitted by women-owned small businesses (WOSBs) competing for contract set-asides.
SBA says that the on-line repository where WOSBs have been uploading ownership and control documentation has been inactivated. SBA’s notice indicates that the WOSB repository will be replaced within “several weeks” by a new portal that will support the WOSB program.
The new portal is located at https://certify.sba.gov however, as of March 25, the website is marked: “This site is a work in progress.”
SBA’s existing rules stipulate that small businesses interested in responding to a solicitation set aside for WOSBs must first submit a checklist of certification documentation. Once certification uploads are submitted, Contracting Officers are responsible for checking the repository to ensure all required documents have been submitted.
During the period where the new portal is not fully functional, it is unclear how WOSBs that have not previously uploaded their certification documentation will satisfy the 13 CFR 127.300(e) certification requirements.
Until SBA’s new portal is fully functional, the SBA is directing Contracting Officers to contact the SBA to request verification of self-certification compliance by specific WOSBs.
The instructions SBA has issued are as follows:
SBA will review the Repository on behalf of a CO. A CO may request that SBA review the Repository on their behalf by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org(link sends e-mail) with the following in the subject line:
“PENDING AWARD UNDER FAR 19.505(e) VERIFICATION REQUEST- SOLICITATION NUMBER [insert solicitation number].”
In the body of the email, the CO should provide the following: provide the apparent successful offeror’s DUNS, EIN, FIRM NAME, OWNER NAME; indicate whether the pending award is a WOSB or EDWOSB set-aside or sole source award; specify the NAICS code assigned to the procurement; and identify the State where the CO is located. Within 2 business days, SBA will perform the necessary check to determine whether the apparently successful offeror has filed all the required eligibility documents and provide the CO with an email response which either: (a) notifies the CO that all required documents have been provided or (b) identifies which documents are missing in order to allow the CO to file a status protest in accordance with SBA regulations and the FAR.
Emails for this information will be processed only for Contracting Officers.
More information on the WOSB program and the features of the new portal can be found at: https://www.sba.gov/content/women-owned-small-business-program.