Small Business

Information on Eight Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization Offices Gao ID: RCED-95-137 April 14, 1995

To increase opportunities for small and disadvantaged businesses to obtain federal contracts, Congress passed legislation establishing an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization in each federal agency with procurement powers. These offices are responsible for overseeing the agency's awarding of contracts and subcontracts to small and disadvantaged businesses. This report reviews offices at the following eight federal agencies: the Departments of Defense and Energy; the General Services Administration; NASA; and, within the Defense Department, the Departments of the Air Force, Army, and Navy. GAO (1) determines whether office directors report to the appropriate agency official as required by law and (2) describes the activities that the offices perform to help small and disadvantaged businesses obtain federal contracts.

GAO found that: (1) except for at the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), OSDBU directors report to the appropriate agency official as required; (2) DLA OSDBU director reports to the Deputy Director for Acquisition, since that official is responsible for all contracting matters; (3) DLA plans to have its OSDBU director report either to the DLA head or the DLA principal deputy under its reorganization plan; (4) DOE maintains that its authorizing legislation enables the Secretary of Energy to use discretion in determining the OSDBU director's reporting level; (5) DOE plans to comply with federal OSDBU reporting requirements; (6) OSDBU activities are consistent with legal requirements for assisting SDB in obtaining federal contracts; (7) these activities include developing contracting goals, sponsoring or participating in outreach efforts, being an interagency liaison for small business procurement activities, and supervising and training agency staff who work with small businesses; and (8) several agency OSDBU have undertaken additional initiatives to promote SDB participation in federal contracting.

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