What are programs for business inclusion and diversity?
The state of Oregon manages socio-economic programs for business inclusion and diversity that promote opportunities for disadvantaged business enterprises, minority-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses, businesses owned by service-disabled veterans and emerging small businesses.
The Certification Office for Business Inclusion and Diversity (COBID) certifies businesses that apply and meet the state’s criteria for these programs. The goal of each of these programs is to expand access to government contracting opportunities to COBID-certified businesses throughout the state.
COBID certifications include:
- Federally funded transportation related projects
- Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (ACDBE)
- Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program (DBE)
- Contracting opportunities with state, county and city government agencies and special jurisdictions (including hospitals and universities)
- Minority Business Enterprise Program (MBE)
- Women Business Enterprise Program (WBE)
- Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business (SDVOB)
- Emerging Small Business Program (ESB)
Contracting with businesses certified under COBID programs develops an inclusive, open, and honest business climate throughout the state. Certification of qualified businesses enables the state to track and validate agency-set goals and initiatives. Through the certification programs, the state of Oregon expands its efforts to increase diversity and inclusion within government contracting.
When to extend opportunities to COBID-certified businesses
An agency must provide opportunities for disadvantaged business enterprises, minority-owned businesses, woman-owned businesses, businesses that service-disabled veterans own and emerging small businesses, collectively termed “required participants” (refer to ORS 200.045, OAR 125-246-0500 and DAS Statewide Policy 107-009-0030).
When an agency intends to advertise or solicit bids or proposals for a contract with a value of $10,000 or more, it must provide notice to the Governor’s Policy Advisor for Economic and Business Equity (Governor’s policy advisor) and must notify the policy advisor when the agency has awarded the contract.
In circumstances where a contract specifies inclusion of a required participant, an agency may award the contract to a bidder or proposer that is not a required participant if it meets both of the following conditions:
- The bidder or proposer demonstrates that it is responsible.
- The bidder or proposer demonstrates that it has made a good faith effort to encourage required participants to participate in the contract.
How to extend opportunities to COBID-certified businesses
There are several ways an agency may encourage procurement using COBID-certified businesses.
- Limit competition for a contract for products and services, or for any other contract estimated to cost $50,000 or less, to COBID-certified businesses.
- Require contractors to subcontract part of a contract to, or to source materials from, a certified COBID business.
- Make a direct award of small procurements (under $10,000).
- Use OregonBuys to invite COBID-certified businesses to participate in a solicitation process for procurements over $10,000 and not exceeding $150,000.
An agency may engage in contracting practices that promote affirmative action goals, policies or programs for required participants and give a preference in awarding contracts to businesses owned by disabled veterans. An agency must follow the processes described in this section to ensure that COBID-certified businesses receive the opportunity to participate in the solicitation process.
The Governor's policy advisor for economic and business equity
An agency must consult with the Governor’s policy advisor to establish a process and timeline for providing notice and information related to contracts with a value of $10,000 or more. An agency can conduct solicitations through OregonBuys (refer to DAS Statewide Policy 107-009-0030), which will satisfy timely notice and information requirements. Other options for meeting provisions of state law exist, and the Governor’s policy advisor may authorize different processes for specific procurements or agencies.
An agency must report COBID-certified business solicitations and actual awards to the Office of Economic and Business Equity, within the Governor’s Office, on a quarterly basis.
COBID requirements by procurement type
An agency must ensure that bids or proposals received in response to a solicitation include certification that the bidder or proposer has not discriminated against and will not discriminate against COBID-certified business subcontractors. Additionally, contracts awarded based on certification must include a condition that contractors remain certified for the entire contract term and require contractors to require subcontractors to maintain certification. An agency must verify certification compliance and ensure that contractors promptly pay certified subcontractors.
The following table describes statewide policy guidance for COBID-certified businesses across various procurement methods:
|Competitive Sealed Bidding (ITB) or Competitive Sealed Proposals (RFP)
||All solicitations exceeding $150,000 require notification of suppliers through OregonBuys.|
||Small procurements (under$10,000) may be direct award procurements.|
||Intermediate procurements ($10,000 - $150,000) may follow an informal competitive process. An agency must:
- Invite COBID-certified businesses to participate in the solicitation process through OregonBuys plus one of the following:
Seek at least three informally solicited competitive price quotes or competitive proposals.
Document determinations regarding the number of offers and any development or changes of its normal practices for legitimate business reasons.
Set a procurement period with enough time during the work week for new suppliers to obtain information and assistance.
- Inclusive invitation to achieve a mixed or balanced solicitation indicating neutrality (preferred).
- Inclusive notification of all suppliers in the global market, including COBID-certified businesses.
|Sole Source Procurement
||An agency must meet limited requirements regarding Sole Source Procurement and COBID-certified businesses, including, but not limited to:|
- Public notice of the determination on OregonBuys for contracts of $10,000 or more.
- Written approval prior to contract awards exceeding $150,000.
- Notice to the Governor's policy advisor for contracts of $10,000 or more.
||When the level of an emergency makes competition
practicable, an agency should invite bidding from qualified,
COBID-certified businesses. An agency should consider using the
inclusive invitation or notification process for contracts above $10,000
and not exceeding $150,000.|
||To process a competitive Special Procurement, an agency must:|
Note: Special Procurements do not waive an agency's obligation to provide notice of contracts with a price of $10,000 or more to the Governor's policy advisor.
- Comply with COBID-certified business notice requirements and process according to the contract.
- Request approval of the Special Procurement using OregonBuys forms.
- Not permit discrimination in subcontracting.
|A&E Direct Selection Procurement
||Under limited circumstances an agency may enter into a contract directly with a consultant without following other selection procedures, however, it must take required steps regarding COBID-certified businesses. Affected contracts and requirements include:|
- Emergency procurements involving direct selection.
- Procurements that do not exceed $100,000. These procurements require either an agency to comply with agreed to processes communicated with the Governor's policy advisor or use processes and conditions that build or maintain a short list of prequalified A&E service providers for direct selection.
- If an agency foresees making more than one direct selection over a period, it must strive to establish a cumulatively mixed or balanced series of direct selections.
|A&E Informal Selection Procurement
||Contracts exceeding $10,000 and up to $150,000 using information selection and awarded based upon qualifications must:|
- Include at least five initiations for proposals from A&E service providers.
- Source A&E service providers, which includes COBID-certified businesses, from OregonBuys and the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) database (until integration of OregonBuys and the DCBS database occurs).
|Public Improvement - Competitive Bidding method
||Public Improvement contracts not exceeding $100,000 (including highways, bridges and transportation projects) with bidders drawn exclusively from a list of certified ESBs may be awarded without formal competitive sourcing methods. An agency must make a good faith effort to obtain a minimum of three competitive quotes from ESBs and maintain a written record of the source and amount of the quotes received.|
An agency may waive bid security, performance, and payment requirements for Public Improvement contracts less than $100,000.
Timely and qualified responses
Intermediate, informal selection and competitive quotes require setting a reasonable and sufficient time for potential bidders or proposers to respond to invitations. An invitation must inform potential bidders or proposers of:
- Deadlines for timely responses.
- Budgetary limitations.
- Target pricing.
- Any qualified-based selection requirements for A&E service providers.
If responses are insufficient or not received in a timely manner, the agency may invite or notify potential bidders or proposers from the open market.
In conjunction with issuing an invitation or notification through OregonBuys, an agency may provide a timed opportunity to COBID-certified businesses to assess their intent to respond to an invitation or notification. The deadline for responses must be at least two days after the agency issues the invitation or notification and disclosed to all potential respondents.
Non-compliance and remedies
If a contractor or subcontractor is no longer COBID-certified, an agency may:
- Terminate the contract.
- Require the contractor to terminate the subcontractor.
- Exercise breach of contract remedies specified in the contract.
An agency may also debar or disqualify bidders or proposers that discriminate against a subcontractor because it is a disadvantaged business enterprise.
An agency may address false claims regarding certification by:
- Withholding payment.
- Suspending or terminating the contract.
- Imposing civil penalties.
Additionally, an agency or the Department of Consumer and Business Services must investigate false claims of certification.