The Federal Government Contracts & Procurement Blog

Nicholas contributes to the Federal Government Contracts & Procurement blog, addressing current and future issues affecting federal contractors and procurement professionals in both the Washington, D.C., area and throughout the United States.

Recent Blog Posts

  • Eye on Affiliation: Joint Venture Partner Not Small Due to Economic Dependence Under the Small Business Administration’s regulations, two firms may partner as a joint venture to perform a small business set-aside contract, provided that each partner is a small business under the size standard assigned to the contract.  But, a recent SBA decision highlights the fact that simply entering into a joint venture does not excuse each member of the joint venture from SBA scrutiny over affiliation. In this recent case, a U.S. Department of Defense, Missile Defense Agency contract for business... More
  • Contractor Compliance Update: Mentor-Protégé Agreement Must Be Approved to Avoid Affiliation For small business government contractors, the question of affiliation should always be at the top of the list of priorities.  A finding of affiliation between your business and another business (and, in particular, a large business) could be enough to lose your small business size status – and the ability to compete for those coveted set-aside contracts. One of the few recognized exceptions to affiliation is an approved mentor-protégé relationship under the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) 8(a) business development program.  In... More
  • Bid Protest Corrective Action: You Can’t Always Get What You Want Every government contractor that files a bid protest has the same goal in mind – corrective action.  The agency made a procurement error and changes need to be made. But just because the agency takes corrective action does not mean it will be the corrective action your firm wants.  Contractors should take the time to consider the possible outcomes of a successful bid protest before filing. Take, for example, the recent U.S. Court of Federal Appeals decision denying a protest over corrective action.  In that... More
  • Update: GAO Previews New Electronic Protest Docketing System (EPDS)   The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is establishing a new system for filing bid protests – the Electronic Protest Docketing System (EPDS).  GAO promises that the new system will be both “secure” and “easy-to-use.” This week, GAO rolled out a new set of instructions that offers greater insight into the new e-filing process. The instructions include definitions of key terms, details on eligibility for bid protest filers, and some logistical information on how protests will be filed and processed under the new EDPS... More
  • Proposal Prep Tips: GAO Approves Agency’s Hardline Stance on Post-Deadline Submission   Our Blog often covers issues associated with government contracts protests (like, for example, protests at the GAO, Court of Federal Claims, and size protests at the SBA).  The point of those posts is to highlight ways that disappointed offerors can “get back in the game” by challenging an improper award made to another business. But, occasionally, we’re reminded that the best practice (whenever possible) is to avoid the need for a protest altogether.  By focusing on the details and learning how to serve... More
  • GAO: No Requirement to Certify as Small under Specific NAICS Code Just last week, we looked at the importance for small business contractors to check their profiles to make sure they are properly certified as small.  Incorrect information can lead to a variety of problems, not the least of which is potentially losing out on a small business set-aside contracting opportunity. This point was refined by a newly published opinion from the Government Accountability Office.  As part of the GAO protest, a disappointed offeror alleged that the awardee on a VA... More
  • SAM Profile Mistake Leads to Possible Lost Contract Small business owners have lots of items on their to-do lists.  In addition to actually running the business, there are many administrative tasks required to make sure that you meet the applicable small business size standards and maintain those standards year-after-year (in order to avoid, or at least minimize, vulnerability to an SBA size protest). Among the (sometimes admittedly) tedious tasks associated with remaining eligible for small business contract awards is registering in the required government databases.  Over the past five... More
  • Government Contract Novations – Practical Practices under FAR 42.1204 Novations are the government contracting equivalent of M&A in the private sector – the process through which a government contract can be transferred from one business to another (without violating the Anti-Assignment Act). There are many reasons that a novation might be necessary.  A business holding a government contract could be acquired by another business (that now wants to take over and perform the contract).  Or a government contractor could divest assets during a bankruptcy proceeding.  The common denominator is a... More
  • Proposal Prep Tips – Don’t Play Hide-and-Seek with Technical Details Contractors that want to improve their proposal drafting skills (and win more contract awards) should always keep an eye on the news and learn from others’ mistakes.  Understanding an agency’s award rationale can provide a competitive advantage and keep you well-positioned to receive the next contract. And, sometimes, simply following instructions and staying within the lines can make the difference between winning and losing. Take, for example, a recent GAO decision discussing the merits of an agency’s technical evaluation.  The protest argued... More
  • Look Before You Leap: Strategic Teaming Under the New SBA Rules The SBA’s new “small business mentor-protégé program” is causing quite a stir.  As we covered yesterday, the new final rule opens the door for all small businesses (not just those in the 8(a) program) to receive assistance from large business mentors – and more importantly – to form mentor-protégé joint ventures to compete for small business set-aside contracts (including those offered under the SBA’s socioeconomic programs, such as WOSB, SDVOSB, and HUBZone) without the danger of affiliation. This new program is... More