At DHS, we understand that small businesses are vital to our national strength. We ensure that small businesses have a fair opportunity to compete for our contracts.
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.
Notification to Small Businesses of Their Rights to Comment
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.
Your Rights to Enforcement Fairness
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:
Telephone: 1-888-REGFAIR or 202-205-2417
Mail: Small Business Administration
Office of the National Ombudsman
409 Third Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416
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During DHS Small Business Vendor Outreach Sessions, you are invited to join us for pre-arranged 15 minute appointments with DHS Small Business Specialists and representatives from prime contractors. We encourage you to participate in one of our upcoming Vendor Outreach Sessions in order to learn more about doing business with DHS.
- Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) Interagency Council
- SBA's Office of Government Contracting at SBA.gov
- Available Assistance under the Small Business Act
- Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources
To ask questions or submit comments about the DHS small business program, please contact us at DHSOSDBU@hq.dhs.gov