By: Jake Clabaugh, WIPP Government Relations
Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) recently submitted comments on the interim rule implementing sole source authority into the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). For more details please read WIPP’s full comment here.
WIPP’s 15-year effort to expand contracting opportunities for women entrepreneurs cleared an important hurdle with sole source authority finalized in the government’s contracting rulebook. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) is the government’s official source for rules when it comes to awarding contracts. Implementing sole source authority into the FAR means that women entrepreneurs wll now be competing on a level playing with other small business contracting programs.
WIPP’s comment on this rule acknowledged the FAR Council for recognizing the “urgent and compelling need” to grant contracting officers this authority. Their recognition is the culmination of years of hard work and advocacy to bring parity for women-owned contracting firms.
Although the Small Business Administration (SBA) published sole source rules last fall, some contracting officers had been waiting for official language to be put into the FAR before they would use sole source authority. WIPP members have experienced this inconsistency firsthand and WIPP’s comment highlighted how important it is for the FAR to eliminate the conflict.
The FAR Council’s rule became effective on December 31, 2015 – a great way to start the New Year. Contracting officers now have official instructions to award sole source contracts through the WOSB Procurement Program. We encourage women business owners to comment on this important victory for our community. If you wish to echo WIPP’s comments, you can submit them electronically using Regulations.gov and search for “FAR Case 2015-032.” Please use the “Comment Now” option, which will provide instructions for uploading your document and ensure that your voice is heard.