13 CFR § 126.803 - How will SBA process a HUBZone status protest and what are the possible outcomes?

§ 126.803 How will SBA process a HUBZone status protest and what are the possible outcomes?

(a) Date at which eligibility determined. SBA will determine the eligibility of a concern subject to a HUBZone status protest as of the date of its initial certification or, if applicable, its most recent recertification.

(b) Notice of receipt of protest.

(1) SBA immediately will notify the contracting officer and the protestor of the date SBA receives a protest and whether SBA will process the protest or dismiss it in accordance with § 126.804.

(2) If SBA determines the protest is timely and sufficiently specific, SBA will notify the protested concern of the protest and the identity of the protestor. The protested concern must submit information responsive to the protest within 5 business days of the date of receipt of the protest.

(c) Time period for determination.

(1) SBA will determine the HUBZone status of the protested concern within 15 business days after receipt of a complete protest referral.

(2) If SBA does not issue its determination within 15 business days (or request an extension that is granted), the contracting officer may award the contract if he or she determines in writing that there is an immediate need to award the contract and that waiting until SBA makes its determination will be disadvantageous to the Government. Notwithstanding such a determination, the provisions of paragraph (e) of this section apply to the procurement in question.

(d) Notice of determination. SBA will notify the contracting officer, the protestor, and the protested concern of its determination.

(e) Effect of determination. The determination is effective immediately and is final unless overturned on appeal by the AA/GC&BD, or designee, pursuant to § 126.805.

(1) Protest sustained. If the D/HUB finds the protested concern ineligible and sustains the protest, SBA will decertify the concern and remove its designation as a certified HUBZone small business concern in DSBS (or successor system). A contracting officer shall not award a contract to a protested concern that the D/HUB has determined is not an eligible HUBZone small business concern for the procurement in question.

(i) No appeal filed. If a contracting officer receives a determination sustaining a protest after contract award, and no appeal has been filed, the contracting officer shall terminate the award.

(ii) Appeal filed.

(A) If a timely appeal is filed after contract award, the contracting officer must consider whether performance can be suspended until an appellate decision is rendered.

(B) If the AA/GCBD affirms the initial determination finding the protested concern ineligible, the contracting officer shall either terminate the contract or not exercise the next option.

(iii) Update FPDS-NG. Where the contract was awarded to a concern that is found not to qualify as a HUBZone small business concern, the contracting officer must update the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation (FPDS-NG) and other procurement reporting databases to reflect the final agency HUBZone decision (i.e., the D/HUB's decision if no appeal is filed, or the decision of the AA/GCBD if the protest is appealed).

(2) Protest dismissed or denied. If the D/HUB denies or dismisses the protest, the contracting officer may award the contract to the protested concern.

(i) No appeal filed. If a contracting officer receives a determination dismissing or denying a protest and no appeal has been filed, the contracting officer may:

(A) Award the contract to the protested concern if it has not yet been awarded; or

(B) Authorize contract performance to proceed if the contract has been awarded.

(ii) Appeal filed. If the AA/GCBD overturns the initial determination or dismissal, the contracting officer may apply the appeal decision to the procurement in question.

(3) A concern found to be ineligible is precluded from applying for HUBZone certification for ninety (90) calendar days from the date of the final agency decision (the D/HUB's decision if no appeal is filed, or the decision of the AA/GCBD if the protest is appealed).

[63 FR 31908, June 11, 1998, as amended at 69 FR 29427, May 24, 2004; 74 FR 45754, Sept. 4, 2009; 76 FR 5685, Feb. 2, 2011; 76 FR 43574, July 21, 2011; 84 FR 65250, Nov. 26, 2019]

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