Panel has ideas to aid small businesses

The Acquisition Advisory Panel voted last month to adopt recommendations designed to help small companies win government contracts.

Congress established the panel in 2003 under the Services Acquisition Reform Act to review government acquisition laws and ensure the use of commercial practices and performance-based contracting. The panel later this year will submit its full report to the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and Congress.

The panel recommended that agencies awarding multiple contracts reserve one or more for small businesses and limit competition for some of the recurring work to small businesses.

It also recommended resolving confusion over the government's various small-business preference programs by giving contracting officers greater discretion in selecting companies to meet the goals for awards in each category.

The panel also suggested prohibiting the use of cascading procurements, which lets agencies determine whether a procurement will be reserved for a particular small-business preference.

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