DHS drafts certification program for small business preparedness
Department seeks to facilitate small-biz preparedness certification
The Homeland Security Department wants to make it easier for small businesses to certify they have met national voluntary preparedness standards.
DHS has published its first plan to create a small business classification in the Voluntary Private Sector Accreditation and Certification Preparedness program, according to an Oct. 1 notice in the Federal Register. Comments from the public are invited; however, the notice did not specify a deadline for their submission.
The preparedness program was established following a recommendation from the 9/11 Commission so businesses could demonstrate they are meeting a national standard for preparedness created by DHS. The department adopted three national standards for the program in June.
In the course of reviewing public comments, DHS said concerns were raised about small business participation, specifically a need for affordable methods of compliance, a model for compliance, education, tools, technical assistance, best practices and a self-assessment method.
“The resources required to obtain third-party certification to one of the DHS-adopted preparedness standards may pose a challenge and potential barrier for many small businesses,” the Federal Register notice states.
The department is proposing three classifications of businesses in determining eligibility for participation in either a standard or an alternative certification method. The alternative method will be available only for small businesses and small nonprofit organizations.
Also, DHS will develop guidance for small businesses to help them comply with the certification requirements.
Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.