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    Subject Term: "Small business development programs"

    7 publications with a total of 20 open recommendations
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that DOD's Pilot Mentor-Protege Program meets its mission, the Director, DOD's Office of Small Business Programs, should conduct periodic reviews of the processes DOD components follow to approve agreements and take oversight actions, as appropriate.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of Small Business Programs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To provide reasonable assurance that DOD's Pilot Mentor-Protege Program meets its mission, the Director, DOD's Office of Small Business Programs, should complete actions to develop performance goals and related measures that are consistent with the program's stated purpose.

    Agency: Department of Defense: Office of Small Business Programs
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Seto Bagdoyan
    Phone: (202) 512-6722

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to document its planned method for tracking revenue generated under subsidiaries' primary and secondary lines of business, with milestones and timelines for when and how the method will be implemented.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of SBA should direct the Associate Administrator of Business Development to provide the appropriate level of access to and sharing of relevant subsidiary data across district offices, including primary and secondary North American Industry Classification System codes and revenue data, once SBA develops a database with the capabilities of collecting and tracking this revenue data as we recommended in 2012.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: GAO is reviewing documentation that SBA provided regarding actions that it has taken to address this recommendation and is currently determining whether these actions fully address the recommendation.
    Director: William Shear
    Phone: (202) 512-8678

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA assesses the effectiveness of its programs, the SBA Administrator should prioritize resources to conduct additional program evaluations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA has taken several steps to prioritize resources to conduct additional program evaluations. First, in August 2016 the agency hired a lead program evaluator to develop a long-term evaluation agenda and technical guidance and manage SBA's Impact Evaluation working group. Specifically, the position description for this lead evaluator states that his/her duties include planning, coordinating, and overseeing SBA's program evaluation framework and agendas; serving as an expert advisor on program evaluation methods and design; and coordinating complex, multi-year program evaluation contracts, projects, and studies for the agency. Second, in August 2017 SBA finalized a program evaluation framework that outlines the structure of the agency's program evaluation function, defines roles and responsibilities, and establishes guiding principles. We are reviewing this evaluation framework to determine SBA's plans for additional evaluations.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's human capital management, the SBA Administrator should incorporate into its next training plan key principles such as goals and measures for its training programs and input on employee development goals.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In December 2016, SBA issued a talent development plan for fiscal years 2016-2017. We are reviewing the plan and other information provided by SBA to determine if the agency incorporated key principles.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to ensure that SBA's organizational structure helps the agency meet its mission, the SBA Administrator should document the assessment of the agency's organizational structure, including any necessary changes to, for example, better ensure areas of authority, responsibility, and lines of reporting are clear and defined.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In January 2017, SBA sent us a letter documenting its assessment of the work of a contractor hired to examine its organizational structure and actions it had decided to take regarding the agency's organizational structure. We are reviewing this letter to determine if it fully responds to our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to improve SBA's program and management guidance, the SBA Administrator should set time frames for periodically reviewing and updating its SOPs as appropriate.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: In August 2016, SBA updated its standard operating procedure (SOP) on issuing directives, including SOPs. The updated SOP calls for an annual certification of SOPs. The head of each program office is required to certify in writing as to the status of SOPs that have previously been issued by his/her office. If the SOP is currently being revised, or being canceled, the office head must provide a date by which this process is expected to be completed. SBA officials told us in October 2017 that they had successfully completed the 2017 certification process. We are awaiting documentation showing completion of the process.
    Recommendation: To improve management of the Small Business Administration and to help ensure that SBA's IT operations and maintenance investments are continuing to meet business and customer needs and the agency's strategic goals, the SBA Administrator should direct the appropriate officials to perform an annual operational analysis on all SBA investments in accordance with OMB guidance.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: As of September 2016, SBA had not completed two of the required operational assessments.
    Director: Michele Mackin
    Phone: (202) 512-4841

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: at the time of the contract award, contracting officers shall conduct and document an assessment of the 8(a) firm's ability to comply with the subcontracting limitations.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: contracting officers shall include monitoring and oversight provisions in all 8(a) contracts to ensure that the contractors comply with the subcontracting limitations.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: The Administrator of OFPP should take appropriate steps to amend the FAR to include the following requirement: prime 8(a) contractors shall periodically report to the contracting officer on the percentage of subcontracted work being performed.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: OFPP concurred with our recommendation. We asked for updates on actions taken however as of September 2017 no updates were provided. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202)512-4309

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to clarify whether an 8(a) justification is required for 8(a) contracts that are subject to a pre-existing Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) class justification.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to provide additional information on actions contracting officers should take to comply with the justification requirement when the contract value rises above or falls below $20 million between SBA's acceptance of the contract for negotiation under the 8(a) program and the contract award.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    Recommendation: To help mitigate future confusion regarding justifications for 8(a) sole-source contracts over $20 million, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the FAR Council, should promulgate guidance to clarify whether and under what circumstances a separate sole-source justification is necessary for out-of-scope modifications to 8(a) sole-source contracts.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The FAR Council opened a FAR case (2013-018) to address the recommendations from this report by clarifying the requirement for sole source 8(a) justifications. As of July 2017, the draft proposed FAR rule was awaiting approval for release. We will continue to monitor the progress of this proposed FAR rule.
    Director: Mackin, Michele
    Phone: (202)512-3000

    3 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of the limitations on subcontracting clause and to clarify who has responsibility for monitoring compliance with the clause, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the Administrator of SBA, should provide specific guidance (including data collection options) to agency officials, including to contracting officers, about how to monitor the extent of subcontracting under 8(a) contracts, including for orders under indefinite quantity contracts.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) agreed with the recommendation. In summer of 2017 we followed up to see what actions they had taken to implement the recommendation, but we did not receive any updates. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of the limitations on subcontracting clause and to clarify who has responsibility for monitoring compliance with the clause, the Administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in consultation with the Administrator of SBA, should take actions to amend the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to (1) direct contracting officers at agencies that have been delegated responsibility for ensuring compliance with the limitations on subcontracting clause to document in the contract file the steps they have taken to ensure compliance and (2) clarify the percentage of work required by an 8(a) participant under indefinite quantity contracts.

    Agency: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget: Office of Federal Procurement Policy
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) agreed with the recommendation. In summer of 2017 we followed up to see what actions they had taken to implement the recommendation, but we did not receive any updates. GAO will continue to monitor OFPP's actions to address this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To improve oversight of tribal firms' participation in the 8(a) program, the Administrator of SBA should, as the new 8(a) tracking database is being developed, take steps toensure that it has the capability to (1) provide visibility to district offices into all tribal 8(a) firms' activity by tribal entity to ensure compliance with new prohibition to award sole-source 8(a) follow-on contracts to sister subsidiaries; (2) track revenue from tribal 8(a) firms' primary and secondary industry codes to ensure that subsidiaries under the same parent company are not generating the majority of their revenue from the same primary industry; and (3) track information on 8(a) contracts and task or delivery orders,including orders awarded under basic ordering agreements, tohelp ensure that district officials have information necessary toenforce the 8(a) program regulations.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: The Small Business Administration (SBA) neither agreed nor disagreed with this recommendation. In June 2015, SBA officials told GAO that they will use a high risk model of random surveillance to track revenue in primary and secondary codes for entity-owned firms, such as tribal 8(a) firms. SBA will include this as a part of the continuing eligibility process, and will randomly select entity-owned firms and subsidiaries for the deep dive. As part of this effort, SBA will pull data from the Federal Procurement Data System to determine what industry codes the subsidiaries are earning revenues. SBA will look for firms generating revenue in another industry code that exceeds the revenue in their primary industry code when the revenue also aligns under the primary industry code of another subsidiary firm for two consecutive years. These firms will be notified of SBA's concern in writing during their continuing eligibility review to be vigilant to avoid further action by the SBA. In February 2016, SBA informed us that it had delayed plans for the random surveillance, and had taken steps in the interim to begin monitoring the revenue generated under a subsidiary's primary and secondary NAICS codes by tracking award obligations for all entity-owned firms in a spreadsheet. SBA officials told us that the spreadsheet is a stop gap measure until the database can be developed. We asked for updates to steps taken but as of September 2017, no updates were provided. We will continue to track progress on the development of this randomized analysis and other efforts to provide the necessary visibility to all district offices on tribal 8(a) firms participation in the 8(a) program.
    Director: Shear, William B
    Phone: (202)512-8678

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better address the purpose of the 8(a) program, meet the needs and expectations of the firms in the program, and improve SBA's ability to determine how well the program is working, the Administrator, SBA, should periodically perform a nationwide sample survey of 8(a) firms to obtain measurable program data. At a minimum, the survey should assess whether SBA assistance is meeting the firms' expectations and needs.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: SBA drafted a plan for providing individualized business development assistance to 8(a) firms, along with an assessment tool--the 8(a) Business Development Assessment Tool (BDAT). A subsequent evaluation of BDAT revealed that the tool would not provide the expected outcome. Consequently, the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development launched a more broad modernization effort in December of 2011. One of the outcomes of that effort was the conceptualization of the One Track Certification Management System (One Track CMS), which included many of the requirements from the BDAT. However, SBA experienced some delays regarding the contract for development and the ultimate implementation of the One Track CMS. On June 3, 2015, SBA and GAO staff met to discuss the status of open SBA 8(a) program recommendations. This recommendation was mentioned, but, no updates on the current status of this recommendation were provided. The One Track CMS was not yet operational as of the date of that meeting.
    Recommendation: To better address the purpose of the 8(a) program, meet the needs and expectations of the firms in the program, and improve SBA's ability to determine how well the program is working, the Administrator, SBA, should provide a method for collecting data on each firm's training needs for tracking the assistance provided.

    Agency: Small Business Administration
    Status: Open

    Comments: With the deployment of the Business Development Management Information System on July 28, 2008, along with an 8(a) Business Development Assessment Tool (BDAT)--which will entail an enhancement of SBA's Business Development Management Information System--SBA stated that it will be able to annually collect data that will be used to assess an 8(a) participant's needs for technical assistance and training. A subsequent evaluation of BDAT revealed that the tool would not provide the expected outcome. Consequently, the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development launched a more broad modernization effort in December of 2011. One of the outcomes of that effort was the conceptualization of One Track Certification Management System (One Track CMS), which included many of the requirements from the BDAT. However, SBA experienced some delays regarding the contract for development and the ultimate implementation of the One Track CMS. On June 3, 2015, SBA and GAO staff met to discuss the status of open SBA 8(a) program recommendations. This recommendation was mentioned, but no updates on the current status of this recommendation were provided. The One Track CMS was not yet operational as of the date of that meeting.