Request for Guidance

B-199899: Published: Oct 21, 1980. Publicly Released: Oct 21, 1980.

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A request was made to GA0 for guidance as to whether a contracting officer may negotiate, either before or after award, the terms of a small and disadvantaged business subcontracting plan submitted by the low bidder in a formally advertised procurement. The requester noted that the Office of Federal Procurement Policy only instructs contracting officers to refer to the Small Business Administration (SBA) for review any plan received from a low bidder which, in the opinion of the contracting officer, does not reflect the bidder's best efforts to award subcontracts to small and disadvantaged firms to the greatest extent practicable. Legislative history indicates that Congress intended that contracting officers not negotiate to acceptability before award, unsatisfactory subcontracting plans submitted by low bidders. GAO believed that there was no necessity for the type of negotiation mentioned since a low bidder may not be deprived of award even if it submitted an unsatisfactory plan. It is the view of GAO that the matter is one for consideration by the contracting parties.

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