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STATEMENTS OF POLICY

Title 4—ADMINISTRATION

DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES

[ 4 PA. CODE CH. 58 ]

Small Business Self-Certification and Small Diverse Business Verification

[43 Pa.B. 1731]
[Saturday, March 30, 2013]

 To provide clarity to the vendor community, the Department of General Services (Department) is amending Chapter 58, Subchapter D (relating to internal guidelines for Small Business Self-Certification and Small Diverse Business Verification—statement of policy), primarily in the area which outlines the verification of Small Diverse Businesses. To participate in the Small Diverse Business program, a vendor shall first self-certify through an online application known as Small Business Procurement Initiative (SBPI). Before the expiration of the 1-year self-certification period, the vendor shall obtain an approved third-party certification to maintain its status as a Small Diverse Business. The Department will be using a single expiration date, as determined by SBPI expiration, for both SBPI status and Small Diverse Business status. This approach will streamline the overall process for vendors seeking contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth.

Fiscal Impact

 The amended statement of policy is fiscal neutral.

Effective Date

 The amended statement of policy is effective upon publication in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

Contact Person

 Specific questions relating to information provided in this statement of policy may be directed to the Department of General Services, Office of Chief Counsel, 603 North Office Building, 401 North Street, Harrisburg, PA 17120.

SHERI PHILLIPS, 
Secretary

 (Editor's Note: Title 4 of the Pennsylvania Code is amended by amending the statements of policy in §§ 58.303 and 58.304 to read as set forth in Annex A.)

Fiscal Note: 8-19. No fiscal impact; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A

TITLE 4. ADMINISTRATION

PART III. DEPARTMENT OF GENERAL SERVICES

Subpart C. CONSTRUCTION AND PROCUREMENT

ARTICLE I. GENERAL

CHAPTER 58. CONTRACT COMPLIANCE

Subchapter D. INTERNAL GUIDELINES FOR SMALL BUSINESS SELF-CERTIFICATION AND SMALL DIVERSE BUSINESS VERIFICATION—STATEMENT OF POLICY

§ 58.303. Self-certification of eligible small businesses.

 (a) Online self-certification for small businesses. To participate in the SBPI and the Small Diverse Business Program, small businesses shall self-certify through an online application process outlined at www.smallbusiness.pa.gov. The SBPI enables eligible small businesses to compete for prime contracting opportunities with the Commonwealth against other eligible small businesses. Upon successful completion of the SBPI self-certification process, the small business will be issued a certificate. The self-certification will remain in effect for 1 year. The small business shall recertify on an annual basis to maintain its status as a self-certified small business.

 (b) Eligibility requirements.

 (1) A small business shall meet the following requirements to participate in the SBPI:

 (i) The business shall be a for-profit United States business that is independently owned.

 (ii) The business may not be dominant in its field of operation nor a subsidiary of another business.

 (iii) The business may not employ more than 100 full-time equivalent employees.

 (iv) The business shall earn less than the amounts designated by the Department, that is, $20 million in gross annual revenues ($25 million in gross annual revenues for those businesses in the information technology sales or information technology service business and $7 million in gross annual revenues for those businesses performing building design services).

 (2) The Department reserves the right to alter revenue limits. Changes will appear in the Department's guidelines at www.smallbusiness.pa.gov.

 (c) Limitation. The Department's self-certification process as set forth in this section is limited to small business status and should not be construed as an endorsement of the small business expertise.

 (d) Program auditing. The Department reserves the right to audit small business status either randomly or based on allegations of noneligibility. An applicant providing false information to the Commonwealth in connection with self-certification or as part of the bidding process is subject to debarment or suspension, exclusion from the SBPI, a determination that the bidder is not responsible under the Contractor Responsibility Program and criminal prosecution or other legal action.

§ 58.304. Verification of Small Diverse Businesses.

 (a) Prerequisite. To complete the verification process for consideration as a Small Diverse Business, the business shall, as a prerequisite, complete the self-certification process in § 58.303 (relating to self-certification of eligible small businesses) and present the resultant certificate as documentation in support of the verification process in this section.

 (b) Verification of Small Diverse Business status. The Department will verify MBE, WBE, VBE or SDVBE status through the verification of certification from one or more of the following approved third-party entities:

 (i) The Unified Certification Program.

 (ii) The National Minority Supplier Development Council.

 (iii) The Women's Business Enterprise National Council.

 (iv) The United States Small Business Administration 8(a) Program.

 (v) The United States Department of Veteran Affairs through the www.VetBiz.gov business database.

 (vi) Additional entities as identified, approved and publicly posted by the Department on its web site at www.dgs.state.pa.us.

 (c) Documentation. Applicants shall submit proof of active certifications from approved third parties in accordance with the requirements outlined on the Department's web site. The Department reserves the right to request additional information and conduct further review or auditing as needed.

 (d) Existing certification transition. The certifications of firms previously certified by the Department as MBE, WBE, VBE or SDVBE were valid through January 11, 2013, unless the firms successfully completed the Commonwealth's SBPI self-certification prior to January 11, 2013. A previously certified firm that obtained SBPI self-certification prior to January 11, 2013, automatically had its status as a Small Diverse Business extended to the same expiration date as the SBPI self-certification expiration. Prior to the SBPI self-certification expiration, a firm shall obtain approved third-party certification to maintain its status as a Small Diverse Business. A firm that fails to obtain approved third-party certification prior to the SBPI self-certification expiration date will have its status as a Small Diverse Business deemed ''inactive'' and will be unable to participate in the Small Diverse Business Program.

 (e) Single expiration date. Regardless of the expiration date of the approved third-party certification, the expiration date of the Department verification as a Small Diverse Business is the same as the SBPI self-certification date. To maintain status as a Small Diverse Business, a firm shall provide an active third-party certification upon successfully recertifying as a small business.

 (f) Limitation. The Department's verification process as set forth in this section is limited to Small Diverse Business status and should not be construed as an endorsement of Small Diverse Business expertise.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 13-566. Filed for public inspection March 29, 2013, 9:00 a.m.]



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