OFPP calls for more micro-purchase spending with small firms

Wednesday - 12/21/2011, 4:25pm EST

In 2010, agencies spent more than $6 billion with small businesses through the government's charge card program on purchases that fell under the micro-purchase threshold of $3,000. But the Office of Federal Procurement Policy believes more is possible.

OFPP Administrator Dan Gordon and the Office of Management and Budget's Controller Danny Werfel issued a memo to agencies Dec. 19 detailing steps they can take to improve small business contracting at the micro-purchase level using the government charge card.

"This level of spending represents approximately 30 percent of the total annual government purchase card spend," Gordon and Werfel wrote. "While much of this data is based on merchant business size self-representation, we understand from industry that 70 percent of the business size information is validated with third party data sources."

OMB wants agencies to update their purchase cardholder training to provide guidance on considering small businesses. Agencies have six months to do this.

OMB also included a set of guidelines and reporting tools under the SmartPay program, run by the General Services Administration.

This is the second memo from OFPP in the last two months on small business contracting. In November, Gordon and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills asked agencies to pay more attention to the quality of their small business data.

OFPP and SBA will integrate two separate procurement data sources — SBA's individualized report on anomalies related to small business contracting awards and annual certification of the completeness and accuracy of procurement data which did not necessarily include small-business procurement data.

"To reduce burden, agencies have requested elimination of the redundancy inherent in these separate data quality processes," Gordon and Mills wrote.

"In FY 2012, OFPP and SBA will begin integration of these two processes. For the FY2011 data reviews, SBA will continue to provide agencies with anomaly reports. These reports will be focused on high risk or high impact areas, in particular, those addressed in the information contained on the acquisition data-collaboration site. The FY 2012 process will then mature to focus on a review of contracts with the highest potential for questions or errors."

GSA also will develop tools in the Federal Procurement Data System to help standardize anomaly reports. The software will be available in early 2012.

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