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Small Business Policy Resources

Small Business Policy Resources

The Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 requires federal agencies to perform a regulatory flexibility analysis and to help small businesses comply with the agency’s regulations through published guides and direct responses to small business inquiries. 

On March 29, 1996, President Clinton signed into law the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA)  of 1996. The Act requires federal agencies to:

  • Perform a regulatory flexibility analysis when a final rule will have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities;
  • Provide guidance, whenever appropriate, to help small businesses comply with the agency’s statutes and regulations; and
  • Establish a program to respond to small business inquiries about such issues.

SBREFA helps ensure that agencies provide a way for small businesses to comment on regulatory enforcement and compliance activity those businesses receive, or are subject to, such as:

  • An audit;
  • An on-site inspection;
  • A compliance assistance effort;
  • Other enforcement related communications; or
  • Contact by agency personnel.

To implement this requirement of the Act, the Small Business Administration (SBA) National Ombudsman developed a general notification statement on the rights of small businesses and asked other agencies to adopt similar language in their respective enforcement or compliance activities.

The SBA National Ombudsman and members of Congress have interpreted SBREFA as meaning that agencies must give notice to small businesses at the time the regulatory enforcement and compliance activity takes place.

We are committed to maintaining an environment in which small businesses and others that we regulate are free to raise questions, concerns or complain about our actions or policies. No Department of Homeland Security employee may retaliate in any way against a small entity for raising questions, concerns, or complaints about our actions or policies. Our employees must act professionally and respond appropriately to small entity concerns.

We aim to ensure a fair regulatory enforcement environment. If you feel we have treated you unfairly or unprofessionally, you may contact the SBA National Ombudsman at the below contact information or go to the SBA National Ombudsman website to file a confidential comment on any of our enforcement actions.

We strictly forbid our employees from engaging in retaliatory actions. Therefore, you should feel confident that we will not penalize you for expressing your concerns.

Small entities may comment about our enforcement and compliance process to the National Ombudsman’s office through:

Website: Office of the National Ombudsman | U.S. Small Business Administration (sba.gov)
E-mail: Ombudsman@sba.gov
Mail: Small Business Administration
Office of the National Ombudsman
409 Third Street, SW, Mail code: 2120
Washington, DC 20416

The Federal Register is the official journal of the United States Government. It provides legal notice of administrative rules and notices and Presidential documents in a comprehensive, uniform manner. The Federal Register website provides tools for monitoring and sharing documents. Those Federal Register’s notification tools include: email subscription, RSS feeds, Twitter, and Facebook. The Federal Register webpage Reader Aids: Email Notifications Now Available explains how to easily subscribe to email notifications. You can create your own custom notifications by subscribing to specific search results.

Available Assistance under the Small Business Act (15 USC 644(k))

This Act states that the U.S. Government should enable the interests of small business concerns as part of an overall commitment to America’s free competition economic system. Part of how the Government supports small businesses is to “ensure that a fair proportion of the total purchases and contracts or subcontracts for property and services for the Government (including but not limited to contracts or subcontracts for maintenance, repair, and construction) be placed with small business enterprises.”

15 USC. 644(k) - The following sections are pertinent to small business assistance:

(6) The OSDBU shall assist small business concerns to obtain payments, required late payment interest penalties, or information regarding payments due to such concerns from an executive agency or a contractor, in conformity with chapter 39 of title 31 or any other protection for contractors or subcontractors (including suppliers) that is included in the Federal Acquisition Regulation or any individual agency supplement to such Government-wide regulation. For payment assistance, please contact DHSOSDBU@hq.dhs.gov.

(14) The OSDBU shall receive unsolicited proposals and, when appropriate, forward such proposals to personnel of the activity responsible for reviewing such proposals. For information on unsolicited proposals, please visit www.dhs.gov/unsolicited-proposals or contact DHSOSDBU@hq.dhs.gov.

(17) The OSDBU shall, when notified by a small business concern prior to the award of a contract that the small business concern believes that a solicitation, request for proposal, or request for quotation unduly restricts the ability of the small business concern to compete for the award—

(A) Submit the notice of the small business concern to the contracting officer and, if necessary, recommend ways in which the solicitation, request for proposal, or request for quotation may be altered to increase the opportunity for competition.

(B) Inform the advocate for competition of such agency (as established under section 1705 of title 41 or section 2318 of title 10) of such notice; and

(C) Ensure that the small business concern is aware of other resources and processes available to address unduly restrictive provisions in a solicitation, request for proposal, or request for quotation, even if such resources and processes are provided by such agency, the Administration, the Comptroller General, or a procurement technical assistance program established under chapter 142 of title 10. For assistance on any of the areas in 15 USC 644(k)(17), please contact DHSOSDBU@hq.dhs.gov.

(19) The OSDBU shall provide assistance to a small business concern awarded a contract or subcontract under this chapter or under title 10 or title 41 in finding resources for education and training on compliance with contracting regulations (including the Federal Acquisition Regulation) after award of such a contract or subcontract. For assistance in finding these resources, please contact DHSOSDBU@hq.dhs.gov.

Code of Federal Regulations (eCFR)

Understanding applicable regulations enables small business success. As a result, the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is a helpful reference for reading the U.S. Government’s agency regulations in a single place. The electronic version (eCFR) is updated daily.

DHS Acquisition Policy Resources 

This webpage is a compilation of resources meant to help businesses understand the laws and processes that inform the DHS acquisition environment.

Presidential Executive Orders

Some executive orders relate directly to small businesses. Executive orders manage operations of the Federal Government. These orders are written, signed, and published directives from the President of the United States and have the force of law. 

Last Updated: 04/25/2024
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