The contracting officer shall review the subcontracting plan for adequacy, ensuring that the required information, goals, and assurances are included (see 19.704).
(a) No detailed standards apply to every subcontracting plan. Instead, the contracting officer shall consider each plan in terms of the circumstances of the particular acquisition, including—
(1) Previous involvement of small business concerns as prime contractors or subcontractors in similar acquisitions;
(2) Proven methods of involving small business concerns as subcontractors in similar acquisitions; and
(3) The relative success of methods the contractor intends to use to meet the goals and requirements of the plan, as evidenced by records maintained by contractors.
(b) If, under a sealed bid solicitation, a bidder submits a plan that does not cover each of the 11 required elements (see 19.704), the contracting officer shall advise the bidder of the deficiency and request submission of a revised plan by a specific date. If the bidder does not submit a plan that incorporates the required elements within the time allotted, the bidder shall be ineligible for award. If the plan, although responsive, evidences the bidder's intention not to comply with its obligations under the clause at 52.219-8, Utilization of Small Business Concerns, the contracting officer may find the bidder nonresponsible.
(c) In negotiated acquisitions, the contracting officer shall determine whether the plan is acceptable based on the negotiation of each of the 11 elements of the plan (see 19.704). Subcontracting goals should be set at a level that the parties reasonably expect can result from the offeror expending good faith efforts to use small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business subcontractors to the maximum practicable extent. The contracting officer shall take particular care to ensure that the offeror has not submitted unreasonably low goals to minimize exposure to liquidated damages and to avoid the administrative burden of substantiating good faith efforts. Additionally, particular attention should be paid to the identification of steps that, if taken, would be considered a good faith effort. No goal should be negotiated upward if it is apparent that a higher goal will significantly increase the Government's cost or seriously impede the attainment of acquisition objectives. An incentive subcontracting clause (see 52.219-10, Incentive Subcontracting Program), may be used when additional and unique contract effort, such as providing technical assistance, could significantly increase subcontract awards to small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, or women-owned small business concerns.
(d) In determining the acceptability of a proposed subcontracting plan, the contracting officer should take the following actions:
(1) Obtain information available from the cognizant contract administration office, as provided for in 19.706(a), and evaluate the offeror's past performance in awarding subcontracts for the same or similar products or services to small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business concerns. If information is not available on a specific type of product or service, evaluate the offeror's overall past performance and consider the performance of other contractors on similar efforts.
(i) The subcontracting opportunities available to the contractor, commensurate with the efficient and economical performance of the contract;
(ii) The pool of eligible subcontractors available to fulfill the subcontracting opportunities; and
(iii) The actual performance of such contractor in fulfilling the subcontracting goals specified in prior plans.
(3) Ensure that the subcontracting goals are consistent with the offeror's certified cost or pricing data or data other than certified cost or pricing data.
(4) Evaluate the offeror's make-or-buy policy or program to ensure that it does not conflict with the offeror's proposed subcontracting plan and is in the Government's interest. If the contract involves products or services that are particularly specialized or not generally available in the commercial market, consider the offeror's current capacity to perform the work and the possibility of reduced subcontracting opportunities.
(5) Evaluate subcontracting potential, considering the offeror's make-or-buy policies or programs, the nature of the supplies or services to be subcontracted, the known availability of small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business concerns in the geographical area where the work will be performed, and the potential contractor's long-standing contractual relationship with its suppliers.
(6) Advise the offeror of available sources of information on potential small business, veteran-owned small business, service-disabled veteran-owned small business, HUBZone small business, small disadvantaged business, and women-owned small business subcontractors, as well as any specific concerns known to be potential subcontractors. If the offerors proposed goals are questionable, the contracting officer must emphasize that the information should be used to develop realistic and acceptable goals.
(7) Obtain advice and recommendations from the SBA procurement center representative (or, if a procurement center representative is not assigned, see 19.402(a)) and the agency small business specialist.