Agencies' scores reflect failure to meet small-biz goals

About half of departments and agencies failed to meet their small-business goals in fiscal 2006, according to the Small Business Administration. Moreover, a revision of 2005 data decreased the amount of contract dollars that went to small businesses by $4.6 billion.

In its first score cards, SBA handed out 12 red scores, which show that agencies did not reach their annual small-business goals. There were five yellows and seven green scores.

The departments that earned red scores are Defense, Education, Health and Human Services, Interior and State. The agencies earning red were the Agency for International Development, Environmental Protection Agency, General Services Administration, NASA, National Science Foundation, Office of Personnel Management and Social Security Administration.

SBA and the departments of Agriculture, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation and Veterans Affairs each earned green scores.

To achieve a green score, agencies must meet their overall small-business contracting goal in addition to the goals for at least three of four subcategories. Each federal agency has a different goal, determined annually in consultation with SBA.

Officials have made efforts to get correct procurement data into the system and have changed bad data. The revisions reduced the share of contracts awarded to small businesses in 2005 from the previously reported 25.4 percent to 23.4 percent. For 2006 the figure is 22.8 percent, just short of the small-business procurement goal established by law at 23 percent.

"We still have more to do to reach our targets," SBA Administrator Steven Preston said in a statement this morning.

Matthew Weigelt writes for Federal Computer Week, an 1105 Government Information Group publication.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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