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Part 319--Small Business Programs

HHS Acquisition Regulation (HHSAR)

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Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 40 U.S.C. 121(c)(2).

Subpart 319.2--Policies

319.201 General policy.

(d) The functional management responsibilities for HHS’ small business program (i.e., small businesses; veteran-owned small businesses; service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses; HUBZone small businesses; small disadvantaged businesses; and women-owned small businesses) are delegated to the OSDBU Director. See the HHS Small Business Program manual for information on the HHS small business program, including SBS and Small Business Administration (SBA) Procurement Center Representative (PCR) acquisition review timeframes.

(e) (1) One or more qualified SBSs will implement the HHS small business program and shall be co-located within the following OPDIVs: AHRQ; ASPR/OAMCG; CDC; CMS; FDA; HRSA; IHS; NIH; PSC; and SAMHSA. The OSDBU Director shall exercise full management authority over SBSs.

(2) Within IHS, the primary SBS will be responsible for IHS’ overall implementation of the HHS small business program; however, each IHS contracting office will have a small business technical advisor (SBTA) to carry out those functions and responsibilities to implement the small business program. The primary IHS SBS shall assist and provide guidance to respective SBTAs.

319.202-2 Locating small business sources.

(a) OPDIVs shall foster, to the extent practicable, maximum participation by small businesses in HHS acquisitions. Prior to issuing a solicitation, the Contracting Officer shall make every reasonable effort to find small business concerns that can compete for the proposed requirement – see FAR 19.202, 10.001(2)(v), and 10.002(b)(1)(vii).

(1) If it cannot be determined in advance (through market research under FAR Part 10, discussions between the Contracting Officer and the SBS, or other means – see FAR 15.201, whether a solicitation in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold can be set aside exclusively for small business participation [whether for small businesses; HUBZone small businesses; service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses; or 8(a) small business(es)], the Contracting Officer may publish a notice entitled “Small Business Sources Sought” in FedBizOpps. The purpose of a Small Business Sources Sought notice is to identify the availability and capability of qualified small business sources; and their size classification relative to the appropriate North American Industry Classification System (NAICs) code. This will assist the Government in determining the appropriate acquisition method, including whether a set-aside is possible. However, to solicit technical, scientific, or business information for project planning purposes, an RFI may be used – see 315.201(e).

(2) When using a Small Business Sought notice, an OPDIV shall not request that potential sources provide more than the minimum information necessary – see FAR 10.001(b), to determine whether they have the apparent capability to perform a requirement and, therefore, whether they should be included in any future competition. The notice and the information received shall not be used to determine how well respondents can perform a requirement, which can only be evaluated in response to a solicitation. Accordingly, the notice shall not be used to— 

(i) Obtain capability statements that are evaluated and determined acceptable or unacceptable;

(ii) Require cost/price proposals or detailed technical solutions;

(iii) Identify a prospective sole source; or

(iv) Exclude small business concerns.

(3) OPDIVs shall follow the standard HHS instructions for completing a “Small Business Sources Sought” notice.” The template for the notice is available at:

The Contracting Officer shall post the notice in FedBizOpps by selecting and completing a Sources Sought notice, accessible on the FedBizOpps “Notices” page at: Additional information may be included in the notice in accordance with OPDIV procedures. The Contracting Officer shall document, in the form of a memorandum to the file, the results of the review by technical personnel of information submitted in response to the notice, including whether each respondent appears to be capable of performing the requirement. The Contracting Officer shall attach a copy of the analysis provided by the technical personnel to the memorandum.

319.270-1 Solicitation provision and contract clause.

(a) The Contacting Officer shall insert the provision in 352.219-70, Mentor-Protege Program, in solicitations that include the clause in FAR 52.219-9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan. The provision requires that offerors provide the Contracting Officer a copy of their HHS Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU)-approved mentor-protege agreement in response to a solicitation.

(b) The Contacting Officer shall insert the clause in 352.219-71, Mentor-Protege Program Reporting Requirements, in contracts that include the clause in FAR 52.219-9, Small Business Subcontracting Plan, and which are awarded to a contractor with an HHS OSDBU-approved mentor-protege agreement.

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Subpart 319.5--Set-Asides for Small Business

319.501 General.

(e) Subsequent to the Contracting Officer’s recommendation on Form HHS 653, HHS Small Business Review Form, the SBS shall review each proposed acquisition strategy and either concur or not concur with the Contracting Officer’s recommendation. The PCR shall also review the acquisition strategy and either concur or not concur with the Contracting Officer’s recommendation. If the Contracting Officer disapproves the SBS’s or the PCR’s set-aside recommendation, the Contracting Officer shall document the reasons on Form HHS 653 (Word format) and place the form in the contract file. The Contracting Officer shall make the final determination as to whether the proposed acquisition will be set-aside or not.

319.506 Withdrawing or modifying set-asides.

(d) Immediately upon notice from the Contracting Officer, the SBS shall provide notification of all set-aside withdrawals to the OSDBU Director by both telephone and e-mail.

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Subpart 319.7--Subcontracting with Small Business, Small Disadvantaged Business, and Women-Owned Small Business Concerns

319.705 Responsibilities of the Contracting Officer under the subcontracting assistance program.

319.705-5 Awards involving subcontracting plans.

(a) (3) The Contracting Officer shall provide the PCR a period of 1 to 5 working days to review the contract award package, depending upon the circumstances and complexity of the individual acquisition.

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