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Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Procurement


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Small and Disadvantaged Business Acquisition Policy

Policy Statement

The Board is committed to providing small businesses and socially and economically disadvantaged small businesses with an equitable opportunity to compete, as a prime contractor or a subcontractor, in Board acquisitions conducted pursuant to the formal bidding procedures, negotiated procurement procedures, or simplified acquisition procedures of the Board’s Acquisition Policy, to the extent that this opportunity is consistent with efficient contract performance. This policy establishes the Board’s guidelines for acquisitions from small or disadvantaged businesses.

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Definitions

Contracting officer means a person with authority to enter into contracts on behalf of the Board.

Covered company means a firm qualified as a small business concern under the Small Business Act (15 USC  632) and regulations thereunder, including (1) business concerns that meet the size eligibility standards set forth in 13 CFR 121; (2) small business concerns owned and controlled by veterans or service-disabled veterans as defined by 15 USC 632(q); (3) qualified HUB Zone small business concerns pursuant to 15 USC 632(p) and 13 CFR 126; (4) socially and economically disadvantaged small business concerns as defined by 15 USC 637 and certified as such under 13 CFR 124; and (5) small business concerns owned and controlled by women as defined by 15 USC 632(n).

Responsible covered company means a covered company that, in the Board’s opinion, possesses the skill, ability, integrity, and financial and other resources necessary for the faithful performance of the work and that has complied with all requirements set forth in the solicitation.

Responsive means conforming in all material respects to the requirements of the solicitation.

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General Provisions

Small-Company Specialist

The procurement manager, or the manager’s designee, shall act as a small-company specialist, whose responsibilities will include--

  • compiling and maintaining comprehensive lists of covered companies;
  • consulting with the contracting officer to implement these guidelines;
  • recommending to the contracting officer acquisition procedures that are designed to increase the opportunities for covered companies to do business with the Board;
  • helping the contracting officer develop set-aside and preference procedures for covered companies; and
  • making available to covered companies material that sets forth (1) the general nature of the Board's business, (2) the Board's acquisition procedures, (3) the procedure for obtaining information about the Board’s proposed purchases, (4)  the types of purchases that may be set aside for covered companies, and (5) the address and telephone number of the small-company specialist who may be contacted for further information.

Covered-Company Status

To be eligible for a contract award as a covered company, an offeror must represent in its bid proposal that it is a covered company.  The contracting officer shall accept an offeror’s representation that it is a covered company unless (1) another offeror or interested party challenges the company’s representation or (2) the contracting officer has reason to question the representation. The contracting officer’s decision regarding whether an offeror is a covered company may be appealed to the chief acquisition officer, whose decision will be final.  If that officer  is the contracting officer, the decision on appeal will be made by the director of the Division of Financial Management. 

Prospective Suppliers

To encourage maximum participation by covered companies, the contracting officer will make reasonable efforts to include covered companies as prospective suppliers for goods, services, and construction, such as by adding to the bid list qualified covered companies that request inclusion.

General Acquisition Procedures

To help covered companies compete for Board contracts, the contracting officer will--

  • consider formulating acquisition procedures or designing the solicitation in such a way as to facilitate or encourage participation by covered companies  (for example, the contracting officer may consider lengthening delivery schedules and the time for the submission of offers or bids, or the officer may consider dividing proposed acquisitions to permit offers in quantities less than the total requirement); and
  • send solicitations to qualified covered companies to the maximum extent possible.

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Set-Aside, Preference, and Subcontracting Procedures

Set-Asides

To further the Board's policy of assisting covered companies, the contracting officer may, at his or her discretion, set aside an acquisition or a class of acquisitions for covered companies. If the contracting officer decides to conduct a set-aside acquisition, the contracting officer, with input from the acquiring division, will develop specific procedures for the set-aside acquisition that are consistent with this policy and with the Board’s Acquisition Policy.  If more than one responsible covered company provides a reasonable quotation that is responsive to the set-aside, the contracting officer will make an award consistent with the solicitation’s procedures for evaluation and award.  If only one responsible covered company provides a reasonable quotation that is responsive to the set-aside, the contracting officer will make an award to that company. If a reasonable, responsive quotation is not received from a covered company (e.g., a covered company’s quotation exceeds fair market price or the product offered is determined not to meet Board standards or requirements), the contracting officer may cancel the set-aside and acquire the goods and services from a noncovered company.

Covered-Company Preference

Except for the acquisitions described below, if a responsible covered company submits a responsive bid, quotation, or proposal, the contracting officer shall, for the purpose of price evaluation, add to each noncovered company’s bid, quotation, or proposal the following factors: 3 percent of the first $500,000, plus 1 percent for any amount of the bid, quotation, or proposal that exceeds $500,000.  After applying this price adjustment, the contracting officer will select the bid, quotation, or proposal as provided under ordinary Board acquisition procedures.

No price adjustment will be calculated in any the following acquisitions, even if a covered company is a bidder: (1) the value of the contract is equal to or less than $100,000, (2) the acquisition is a set-aside under this policy, (3) the covered company has executed a waiver of the price preference, (4) price is not a factor in the evaluation, or (5) the contract is being awarded pursuant to the Trade Agreements Act or another international agreement.

Subcontracting Plan

Except for solicitations for services that are personal in nature, each solicitation that has subcontracting possibilities and is expected to exceed $300,000 ($500,000 for construction) shall specify that each noncovered company’s bid or proposal must include a subcontracting plan that describes the vendor’s commitment to provide covered companies the maximum practicable opportunity to participate in contract performance, consistent with the vendor’s efficient contract performance.  The subcontracting plan must be acceptable to the contracting officer in order for the vendor to be awarded the contract. 

To determine if subcontracting possibilities exist, the contracting officer may consider whether firms engaged in the business of furnishing the goods, services, or construction to be acquired customarily contract for performance of part of the work or if they maintain in-house capability; the nature of the supplies or services to be subcontracted; the known availability of covered companies in the geographical area where the work will be performed; and the potential contractor's long-standing relationship with its suppliers. 

The contracting officer will document any determination that no subcontracting possibilities exist.  Subcontracting plans are not required from covered companies.    

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Annual Review

At least annually, the small-company specialist will--

  • consult with the chief acquisition officer, about the Board's acquisition record with covered companies, possible categories of acquisitions to be wholly or partially set aside for covered companies, and ways of increasing the participation of covered companies consistent with efficient contract performance; and
  • document the proportional and dollar amount of Board acquisitions awarded to covered companies.

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Responsibility

The Division of Financial Management is responsible for administering and updating this policy. This policy will be reviewed every three years, or earlier as necessary.

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Last update: May 30, 2014