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FAC Implements Women-Owned Small Business Program

The Civilian Agency Acquisition and Defense Acquisition Regulations Councils have issued Federal Acquisition Circular 2005-51, which contains one interim rule and one final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation. Item I contains an interim rule that addresses the Women-Owned Small Business Program (FAR Case 2010-015). This rule carries an April 1, 2011, effective date, and comments, identified by the FAR case number, are due by May 31, 2011. The Item II final rule covers Standard Form 26 --Award/Contract (FAR Case 2009-029) and goes into effect May 2, 2011. The FAC also contains a Small Entity Compliance Guide. For the text of FAC 2005-51, see 70,002.131.

WOSB Program

An interim rule, FAR Case 2010-015, amends the FAR to implement changes to the Small Business Administration regulations at 13 CFR Part 127, entitled "Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program," and implements procedures that were authorized by the Small Business Act (PL 85-536, as amended), which helped to level the "procurement playing field" to enable small business concerns, including women-owned small business concerns and economically disadvantaged women-owned small business concerns, to compete for federal contracting opportunities. This interim rule adds a new FAR Subpart 19.15 to incorporate coverage of the WOSB program. The rule also adds two new corresponding contract clauses at FAR 52.219-29, Notice of Total Set-Aside for Economically Disadvantaged Women-Owned Small Business (EDWOSB) Concerns, and FAR 52.219-30, Notice of Total Set-Aside for Women-Owned Small Business Concerns Eligible Under the Women-Owned Small Business Program. To qualify as a WOSB concern eligible under the WOSB Program, the concern must be a small business as defined in SBA Part 121 in its primary industry classification, and not less than 51 percent directly and unconditionally owned by, and the management and daily operations controlled by, one or more women who are United States citizens (see revised FAR 2.101). To qualify as an EDWOSB concern, the concern must meet the same requirements as a WOSB and the women owners and managers must be economically disadvantaged. A woman is economically disadvantaged if she can demonstrate certain income, asset, and other limitations established in SBA regulations. The rule also provides a protest process and procedures for interested parties to challenge the size and status of a WOSB or EDWOSB concern. However, a protest of the size and status does not preclude the contracting officer from awarding the contract. The FAC regulation table below contains a full listing of the regulations impacted by this rule.

SF 26

The final rule associated with FAR Case 2009-029 amends the FAR to clarify use of Standard Form 26-Award/Contract. The rule provides a revised form at FAR 53.301-26, which includes changes above blocks 17 and 18, and in block 18 to clarify that block 18 should not be used when awarding a negotiated procurement and should only be checked when awarding a sealed bid contract (see 70,006.243 for the proposed rule). The rule also amends FAR 53.214, which prescribes SF 26 for use in contracting for supplies and services by sealed bidding (except for construction and architect-engineer services). Generally, SF 26 is used to award sealed bid contracts after obtaining bids using an SF 33, Solicitation, Offer, and Award. FAR 14.408-1 (d)(1) specifies that, if an offer made using an SF 33 leads to further changes, the resulting contract must be prepared as a bilateral document using SF 26. Agencies identified instances in which contracting officers mistakenly checked block 18 when awarding negotiated, not sealed bid contracts, which created the potential for disputes between the agency and contractors. The clarifications provided on the revised form for when to use blocks 17 and 18 should eliminate this issue. This final rule also makes a technical amendment to FAR 53.215-1.




(The news featured above is a selection from the news covered in the Government Contracts Report Letter, which is published weekly and distributed to subscribers of the Government Contracts Reporter. )


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