HARRISBURG, Pa., March 10, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania Department of General Services Deputy Secretary for Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities Kerry L. Kirkland today announced the release of Small Diverse Business and Veteran Small Business Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2015-2016.
"As reflected in this report, one of DGS' goals was to put a halt to the steady decline in the percentage of state contracting dollars spent with our small and small diverse businesses," Kirkland said. "Thanks to the efforts and hard work of the department, in collaboration with the Governor's Advisory Council on Diversity, Inclusion and Small Business Opportunities, we've met that goal. Pennsylvania is now in a prime position to build upon the solid program and policy foundation that has been laid to create an increase in the percentage of contract spending with small and small diverse businesses."
The report shows that in 2015-16 payments to small and small diverse businesses, or SBs and SDBs, totaled $354,331,440.00, or 8 percent, of the total $4,660,342,952.00 spent by the commonwealth on goods, services and construction. The department continues to monitor payments as a more accurate measure of how the commonwealth is doing in regards to doing business with small and small diverse businesses.
"We've been very deliberate in our efforts to lead the charge in assisting small and small diverse businesses overcome the challenges they face to build capacity, grow their businesses and become a force, not only in state contracting, but the overall economy," Kirkland said. "We will continue to look for ways to ensure that the participation levels for small and small diverse businesses in state contracting continue to improve."
Kirkland also noted data in the report suggests an increase in the use of the Request for Proposals, or RFP, method of procurement presents an excellent opportunity to increase state contracting participation rates for small and small diverse businesses.
"We noticed that as the use of the RFP process increases, so do the participation rates and dollar commitments to small and small diverse businesses," Kirkland said. "It is our intention to encourage agencies to expand their usage of the RFP process in the future. When that takes place and the policy and procedural changes we've instituted – such as the new scoring methodology for all Requests for Proposals – begin to take hold, our small and small diverse businesses can expect to see an increase in the amount of payments coming their way as well as an increase in the number of contracting opportunities available to them."
The new approach for scoring RFPs allows prospective prime contractors to receive credit for commitments they make to self-certified small businesses in addition to their commitments to small diverse businesses. DGS also introduced new contract terms and conditions, requiring formal subcontracts for small businesses and small diverse businesses.
"While we are pleased with what we have been able to accomplish this far, we realize that our work is far from being done," Kirkland said. "The report identifies some key areas that need to be addressed in order for us to get closer to completing our goals."
Recommendations in the report include:
- Conduct a disparity study to provide an empirical basis for the SDB contracting program.
- Work to achieve a 10% SDB participation rate in FY 2017, a 20% SDB participation rate in FY 2018 and a 30% participation rate by SDBs in FY 2019 and beyond.
- Expand the BDISBO program to promote SB and SDB participation in all contracts, regardless of the procurement method used to initiate the contract.
- Establish an annual goal for each Executive Agency to increase the number of prime contracts awarded to SB and SDB prime contractors each year.
- Develop a more robust system to monitor and report on expenditure data electronically so that program performance and outcomes can be evaluated.
- Establish a formal mentor/protégé program as called for in Executive Order, 2015-11 by September 30, 2017.
The Small Diverse Business and Veteran Small Business Annual Report for Fiscal Year 2015-2016 is available for review and download online.
MEDIA CONTACT: Troy Thompson, DGS, 717-787-3197
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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of General Services