The U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) federal certification program provides greater access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses. The objective of this audit was to determine whether SBA implemented controls to prevent ineligible firms from being certified into the WOSB program. SBA had applicants provide documentation that demonstrates a woman owned and controlled the business in accordance with federal regulations, but SBA did not design a process that ensured analysts thoroughly and promptly reviewed the documentation. Despite requirements that the business be considered small to be eligible for contracts set aside for WOSBs, SBA did not require that firms submit any documentation to ensure the business met federal size regulations. We also determined the agency did not have adequate staffing levels to support the program, nor did it ensure the database used to administer the eligibility reviews could fully support the certification program. And though SBA relies on the program eligibility decisions that third-party certifiers make, SBA could not provide evidence that they effectively monitored third-party certifiers compliance with program regulations. We made six recommendations for SBA to improve its oversight and management of the WOSB certification program. Management partially agreed with recommendations 1 and 6 and disagreed with recommendations 2, 3, 4, and 5. We did not reach resolution on recommendations 1, 2, and 4.
Thursday, September 29, 2022
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