Study Analyzes Effectiveness of Surveillance Reviews in Government Agencies

Date: August 15, 2021

The Small Business Administration (SBA) monitors whether government agencies are providing opportunities for small business participation in federal contracting by performing Surveillance Reviews, which assess whether selected Procurement Centers (PCs) at federal agencies execute their small business programs effectively and according to federal regulations.

The SBA completes about 30 Surveillance Reviews annually at major PCs across the country. These are selected for review from a pool of approximately 3,000 PCs and based on several criteria, including, but not limited to, failing to meet small business goals in the prior fiscal year and having not been reviewed in the prior 5 fiscal years. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Surveillance Reviews shifted from in-person site visits to virtual Surveillance Reviews from March 2020 to the present. Barriers to virtual information sharing such as security constraints reduced the number of reviews possible during the pandemic.

Optimal Solutions Group LLC is evaluating the effectiveness and efficiency of Surveillance Reviews, which includes an analysis of outcomes for PCs that have undergone Surveillance Reviews and to what extent PCs increase their small business contracting goal achievements following Surveillance Reviews. This evaluation also looks at lessons learned from the SBA’s shift to virtual Surveillance Reviews during the COVID-19 pandemic. Results in findings will be used to produce actionable recommendations to Surveillance Review effectiveness and efficiency and be presented to the SBA in 2022.  

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Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

Founded in 2000, Optimal Solutions Group, LLC, is a nonpartisan public policy research and technical assistance firm that stands out for its quantitative expertise and innovative approaches to provide rigorous, data-driven research and technical assistance to government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations and philanthropic foundations. Located at the University of Maryland’s Discovery District in College Park, Optimal is a leader in driving real-time public policy research. Optimal has 60+ employees, including multidisciplinary researchers with backgrounds in economics, education, health, housing, sociology, statistics, information management and entrepreneurship. Optimal has four research centers—Health, Education, Housing and Workforce Development, and Social Policy—as well as an International Practice, Analytics Group, and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center.