SBA’s Awards for Staffing Support for COVID-19 Economic Relief Loan Programs
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We reviewed the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) blanket purchase agreement with Highlight Technologies, LLC for loan support services.
To meet the increased demand for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) loan program support services, SBA issued labor hour contracts, e.g. call orders, using an existing blanket purchase agreement. However, SBA contracting officials did not always perform adequate price analyses, awarding contracts that were not the best use of taxpayer funds. SBA did not establish adequate guidance to ensure contracting officials consistently followed federal regulations. Instead of using the rates originally contracted for each loan center, officials approved that all labor rates could be billed at the Washington, D.C. region rates, which were the highest rates of all regions proposed.
We also found that SBA did not actively monitor call orders to ensure compliance with the Limitation on Subcontracting Rule, which resulted in Highlight assigning more than 50 percent of its work on five orders to subcontractors who should not have received the majority of the work.