What GAO found
Certain federal contracts require a plan that includes targets for the percentage of work to be subcontracted to small businesses. Contracting officers should evaluate the contractor's good faith efforts to achieve these goals by comparing the contractor's small business subcontracting performance to the goals. The contracting officer is supposed to evaluate the contractor's explanation if goals are not achieved. For these contracts, contracting officers are also required to assign subcontract-related ratings to contractors in the Contractor Performance Evaluation Reporting System.
Contracting officers at six agencies say they rarely identify contractors who aren't meeting small business goals, so they rarely give them a rating below a satisfactory rating. In contrast, government-wide data released by the Small Business Administration (SBA) found that many contractors reported not meeting their subcontracting goals for fiscal year 2022 (see chart).
2022 Government-Wide Contractor Small Business and Socio-Economic Segment Subcontracting Goal Achievement Report
Note: Data includes only contractors with separate subcontract plans.
SBA's data does not include agency-level information that may help explain differences between contracting officer statements and SBA's government-wide data. Additionally, most federal agencies surveyed by GAO do not report or review data on the achievement of subcontracting goals by subcontractors at the agency level, as required by law. Collecting and reviewing these data will help the agency better understand how conscientiously contractors are complying with the subcontracting plan and the overall success of the agency's small business subcontracting program. Helpful. Additionally, SBA can also use these data to identify specific agencies that may need additional support or training related to small business subcontracting.
SBA conducted only six compliance reviews of subcontracting plans in each of fiscal years 2021 and 2022. SBA has found that contractors generally do not comply with all subcontract plan requirements and regulations. SBA officials did not believe these reviews were representative of the world of federal contracting. However, the SBA has not analyzed the risks associated with conducting this limited number of reviews each year. Conducting such an assessment will help SBA determine whether to conduct additional reviews and will further enhance her SBA's understanding of the extent and nature of the contractor's noncompliance. .
Why GAO conducted this study
Federal regulations require contractors to make good faith efforts to provide small businesses with the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in federal contracts. GAO was asked to review federal agencies' assessments of contractors' compliance with this integrity standard. This report examines (1) how contracting officers assess a contractor's compliance with the Integrity Standard and the extent to which they determine that the contractor is not in compliance; and (2) the integrity standard evaluation. Explore the associated benefits and challenges.
GAO reviewed the documents and selected two Department of Defense agencies (Air Force and Army) and four civilian agencies (Department of Homeland Security, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, and National Aeronautics and Space Administration) based on: We interviewed contract-related employees. Regarding the total amount of contractual obligations. GAO also reviewed documents and interviewed SBA and Defense Contract Management Agency officials about their roles in supporting contracting agencies.