§ 127.604How will SBA process an EDWOSB or WOSB status protest?
(a)Notice of receipt of protest. Upon receipt of the protest, SBA will notify the contracting officer and the protestor of the date SBA received the protest and whether SBA will process the protest or dismiss it under paragraph (b) of this section. The contracting officer may award the contract after receipt of a protest if the contracting officer determines in writing that an award must be made to protect the public interest. Notwithstanding such a determination, the provisions of paragraph (f) of this section apply to the procurement in question.
(b)Dismissal of protest. If SBA determines that the protest is premature, untimely, nonspecific, or is based on nonprotestable allegations, SBA will dismiss the protest and will send the contracting officer and the protestor a notice of dismissal, citing the reason(s) for the dismissal. Notwithstanding SBA's dismissal of the protest, SBA may, in its sole discretion, consider the protest allegations in determining whether to conduct an examination of the protested concern pursuant to subpart D of this part or submit a protest itself.
(c)Notice to protested concern. If SBA determines that the protest is timely, sufficiently specific and is based upon protestable allegations, SBA will:
(1) Notify the protested concern of the protest and request information and documents responding to the protest within five (5) business days from the date of the notice. These documents will include those that verify the eligibility of the concern, respond to the protest allegations, and copies of proposals or bids submitted in response to an EDWOSB or WOSB requirement. In addition, EDWOSBs will be required to submit signed copies of SBA Form 413, Personal Financial Statement, the three most recent personal income tax returns (including all schedules and W-2 forms) for the women claiming economic disadvantage and their spouses, unless the individuals and their spouses are legally separated, and SBA Form 4506-T, Request for Tax Transcript Form. SBA may draw an adverse inference where a concern fails to cooperate in providing the requested information and documents; and
(2) Forward a copy of the protest to the protested concern.
(d)Time period for determination. SBA will determine the EDWOSB or WOSB status of the protested concern within fifteen (15) business days after receipt of the protest, or within any extension of that time that the contracting officer may grant SBA. If SBA does not issue its determination within the fifteen (15) business day period (or within any extension of that time the contracting officer has 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 (f) of this section apply to the procurement in question. The determination must be included in the contract file and a written copy sent to the D/GC.
(e)Notification of determination. SBA will notify the contracting officer, the protestor, and the protested concern in writing of its determination. If SBA sustains the protest, SBA will issue a decision explaining the basis of its determination and requiring that the concern remove its designation in SAM (or any successor system) as an EDWOSB or WOSB, as appropriate. Regardless of a decision not to sustain the protest, SBA may, in its sole discretion, consider the protest allegations in determining whether to conduct an examination of the protested concern pursuant to subpart D of this part.
(f)Effect of determination. SBA's determination is effective immediately and is final unless overturned by SBA's Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) on appeal pursuant to § 127.605.
(1) A contracting officer may award the contract to a protested concern after the D/GC either has determined that the protested concern is an eligible WOSB or EDWOSB or has dismissed all protests against it. If OHA subsequently overturns the D/GC's determination or dismissal, the contracting officer may apply the OHA decision to the procurement in question.
(2) A contracting officer shall not award the contract to a protested concern that the D/GC has determined is not an EDWOSB or WOSB for the procurement in question.
(i) If a contracting officer receives such a determination after contract award, and no OHA appeal has been filed, the contracting officer shall terminate the award.
(ii) If a timely OHA appeal has been filed after contract award, the contracting officer must consider whether performance can be suspended until an appellate decision is rendered.
(iii) If OHA affirms the D/GC's determination finding that the protested concern is ineligible, the contracting officer shall either terminate the contract, not exercise the next option or not award further task or delivery orders.
(3) The contracting officer must update the Federal Procurement Data System and other procurement reporting databases to reflect the final agency decision (the D/GC's decision if no appeal is filed or OHA's decision).
(4) A concern that has been found to be ineligible may not submit an offer as a WOSB or EDWOSB on another procurement until it cures the reason(s) for its ineligibility and SBA issues a decision to this effect. A concern that believes in good faith that it has cured the reason(s) for its ineligibility may request an examination under the procedures set forth in§ 127.405.