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Small Business Contracting: Concerns About the Administration's Plan to Address Contract Bundling Issues

GAO-03-559T Published: Mar 18, 2003. Publicly Released: Mar 18, 2003.
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The Office of Federal Procurement Policy's (OFPP) plan to increase federal contracting opportunities for small business is aimed at eliminating unnecessary contract bundling and mitigating the effects of necessary contract bundling. Specifically it calls for a series of actions to (1) hold federal agency managers accountable for improving small business contracting opportunities, (2) strengthen the Federal Acquisition Regulation and Small Business Administration (SBA) regulations governing contract bundling, and (3) use SBA and agency small business resources to improve oversight and mitigate the effects of bundling. This testimony focuses on two implementation concerns: (1) the measures and information that will be used to monitor agencies' progress in eliminating unnecessary contract bundling and mitigating the effects of necessary bundling and (2) the ability of SBA's Procurement Center Representatives and agencies' Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization offices to meet the added responsibilities laid out in the plan.


Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Federal Procurement Policy To ensure OMB, agencies, and SBA can monitor the status of agency efforts to address contract bundling concerns, we believe that OFPP should establish and communicate the measures and information that are required for such monitoring. For example, measures and information on the number of consolidated contracts subject to bundling reviews and the results of those reviews would greatly support monitoring efforts. Measures could also include some quantitative analysis of how mitigation efforts (teaming arrangements and subcontract opportunities) have affected small business participation in agency acquisitions.
Closed – Implemented
In response to GAO's testimony, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) issued bundling metrics requirements to agencies in June 2003. GAO testified on March 18, 2003, that the OFPP should establish metrics for agencies to report regularly on their contract bundling activities. Contract bundling is a concern because bundling consolidates contracts in a manner that can preclude small businesses from winning contract awards. Without metrics, OFPP would be unable to assess progress of agencies' efforts to address contract bundling. In response to GAO's recommendation, OFPP established metrics and, in June 2003, directed agencies to provide to the Office of Management and Budget the specified data in quarterly reports on their contract bundling actions.

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Contract administrationContract oversightDownsizingFederal procurementProcurement planningSmall businessSmall business contractsSmall disadvantaged business contractorsGovernment procurementProcurement