b. Transition Guidance. Contracting officers shall take the following actions to ensure compliance.
1) Solicitations set aside for SDVOSBs/VOSBs. Contracting officers shall continue with requirements that have been set aside for SDVOSBs or VOSBs that have been verified in the Vendor Information Pages (VIP) database.
2) Verification of GSA FSS SDVOSBs/VOSBs. The General Services Administration (GSA) FSS program does not require SDVOSBs or VOSBs to be verified in VIP; however, 38 U.S.C. § 8127(e) requires SDVOSBs or VOSBs to be verified in VIP. Therefore, if an RFQ for an order or BPA under an VA FSS contract is being set-aside for SDVOSBs or VOSBs, contracting officers shall include a requirement in the solicitation that only verified SDVOSBs or VOSBs in the VIP database when an offer is submitted and at the time of contract award will be considered for award and unverified firms will be considered non-responsive and ineligible for award.
3) Limitation on Subcontracting (Non-manufacturer rule). The Small Business Act and the Small Business Administration’s regulations impose performance requirements (limitations on subcontracting) on firms that are awarded set aside contracts. Any SDVOSB or VOSB that proposes to furnish an end product it did not manufacture (a “nonmanufacturer”) must meet the requirements in FAR 19.102(f) to receive a benefit under the Veterans First Contracting Program. Contracting officers are reminded that any SDVOSB or VOSB set-aside is subject to the Limitations on Subcontracting clauses—VAAR 852.219-10, VA Notice of Total Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside or VAAR 852.219- 11,VA Notice of Total Veteran-Owned Small Business Set-Aside, respectively. Any market research must take this into consideration. Regarding the procurement of supplies via a set aside, see FAR 19.102(f)(5) “For a specific solicitation, a contracting officer may request a waiver of that part of the nonmanufacturer rule which requires that the actual manufacturer or processor be a small business concern if no known domestic small business manufacturers or processors can reasonably be expected to offer a product meeting the requirements of the solicitation.” When market research indicates the market has a sufficient number of SDVOSB or VOSB distributors, the contracting officer is responsible for preparing a request for waiver of the non-manufacturer rule, if needed, and the expected value exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold.
4) Requirements currently in the pre-solicitation phase: The VA Rule of Two applies:
a) If the acquisition strategy is to set-aside for SDVOSBs or VOSBs, ensure the solicitation includes the requirement for offerors to be listed as verified in VIP. Evaluation criteria should clearly indicate that unverified SDVOSBs or VOSBs will be considered non-responsive to the requirements of the solicitation. Offers from unverified SDVOSBs or VOSBs are considered deficient and will not be evaluated. Supporting documentation must be maintained in the contract file in eCMS.
b) If the original acquisition strategy was not to set aside the acquisition for SDVOSBs or VOSBs, a review of the original market research and VA Form 2268 shall be accomplished to confirm whether or not the VA Rule of Two was appropriately considered and whether offers are likely to be received from two or more capable and verified SDVOSBs or VOSBs at a fair and reasonable price that offers the best value to the United States. If the review finds that there are two or more capable and verified SDVOSBs or VOSBs and award can be made at a fair and reasonable price, the action shall be set aside for SDVOSBs or VOSBs in accordance with the contracting order of priority set forth in VAAR 819.7004.