Hannibal “Mike” Ware currently serves as the Acting Inspector General for the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). In this role, he is responsible for independent oversight of SBA’s programs...
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Audit Report 14-18: Evaluation of Select 8(a) Business Development and HUBZone Contract Awards
On September 24, 2014, the OIG issued Evaluation Report 14-18, Agencies are Overstating Small Disadvantaged Business and HUBZone Goaling Credit by Including Contracts Performed by Ineligible Firms. This report presents the results of our evaluation of select Section 8(a) Business Development Program and Historically Underutilized Business Zones (HUBZone) contract awards.
The OIG identified over $400 million in contract actions that were awarded to ineligible firms, which may have contributed to the overstatement of small business goaling dollars for the Small Disadvantaged Business and the HUBZone Business preference programs in FY 2013. Besides reporting inaccurate information in Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG), procuring agencies may have limited contracting opportunities for firms currently participating in the 8(a) or HUBZone programs.
Further, the OIG found that HUBZone and 8(a) certification information is not consistently transmitted to the Dynamic Small Business Search and the System for Award Management. As a result, the affected small businesses are not getting the visibility in the Dynamic Small Business Search, especially the HUBZone firms, and may impact federal agencies in meeting their HUBZone procurement goals.
Additionally, the OIG also identified over $1.5 billion dollars in contract actions for which the firms were in the programs at the time of contract award, but in FY 2013 were no longer in the 8(a) or HUBZone programs. Specifically, SBA regulations permit procuring agencies to claim Small Disadvantaged Business and HUBZone goaling credit on certain contract actions even after firms have left the program. In our opinion, the amount of dollars the SBA reports to Congress and the public as being performed by 8(a) and HUBZone firms in the Small Business Goaling Report is significantly impacted by the inclusion of contract actions performed by former program participants.
The OIG made two recommendations to the Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development intended to strengthen controls between SBA databases on certification data of 8(a) and HUBZone firms and information reported in FPDS-NG.