GAO Audit Reveals Half-Measures Taken by Small Business Advocates
WASHINGTON—Today, Members of the House Small Business Committee Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce heard from a panel of government officials on the comprehensive audit of the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBUs) by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
“In order to protect and preserve the interests of small businesses across the federal government, each agency with procurement powers has its own OSDBU office,” said Subcommittee Chairman Steve Knight (R-CA). “It is our responsibility to conduct proper oversight by asking them to explain why they are noncompliant, and explore options to remedy the situation.”
“It is important to assess whether the government agencies offices are faithfully executing the Small Business Act,” said Congressman James Comer (R-KY). “The lessons we take from today’s hearing will help us understand more clearly how OSDBUs impact small business contractors nationwide.”
Agencies Should Not Be Allowed to Flout the Law
There were widespread and varying degrees of noncompliance throughout the GAO report that were particularly troubling. GAO found high levels of noncompliance for several specific requirements in the Small Business Act; these high rates of noncompliance are particularly troubling.
“Agencies demonstrated mixed levels of compliance with OSDBU Director Requirements,” said Bill Shear, Director of Financial Markets and Community Investment at the United States Government Accountability Office. “Of the five director-related requirements we reviewed, the level of demonstrated compliance varied, but was not universal for any one requirement…levels of demonstrated compliance were high for five of eight functional requirements, but were much lower for the remaining three requirements.”
A Model for Success
“Collaboration between the OSDBUs and Small Business Administration (SBA) will enable us, as advocates for small business, to pivot and meet the challenges of the ever-changing marketplace,” said Robb N. Wong, Associate Administrator for the Office of Government Contracting and Business Development at the United States Small Business Administration. “The point of all of this, SBA, the OSDBUs, and the Scorecard process, is to encourage agencies to provide small businesses access to government prime contracts and subcontracts.”
“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has a robust, award-winning small business contracting program that promotes small business prime contracts and small business subcontracts under large business prime contractors,” stated Kevin Boshears, the Director of the Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization at the United States Department of Homeland Security. “DHS has demonstrated compliance with all 12 of the 12 requirements selected by GAO for review.”