Report 2018-114 Recommendation 11 Responses
Report 2018-114: Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Program: The Departments of General Services and Veterans Affairs Have Failed to Maximize Participation and to Accurately Measure Program Success (Release Date: February 2019)
Recommendation #11 To: Veterans Affairs, Department of
To ensure that its outreach efforts are effective and result in a greater number of DVBE firms available that can provide the necessary goods and services awarding departments are seeking, CalVet should work with awarding departments to identify the types of goods and services for which they struggle to find a DVBE contractor or subcontractor.
Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2022
In order to ensure the efficacy of CalVet's outreach efforts with awarding state departments, and to gain a better understanding of awarding department's challenges in awarding DVBE contractors and subcontractors, CalVet has developed and implemented a number of tools and best practices to support and maintain this ongoing effort. For continued knowledge transfer from awarding departments, CalVet developed the Annual State DVBE Advocate Survey (Advocate Survey). The annual Advocate Survey allows awarding agencies to provide the top 5 goods, and top 5 services that they struggle to procure from DVBEs. Information captured from this survey has been disseminated to the DVBE community, and will continue to be shared annually, in order to enhance the DVBEs awareness of what goods and services awarding departments desire to procure. Survey data is additionally used by CalVet in order to improve its outreach practices. The inter-agency agreement between CalVet and DGS continues to allow a dedicated CalVet position to collaboratively work alongside DGS in a supporting role as an SB/DVBE Advocate both within the structure of the California Small Business/Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Advocate Steering Council and as a continuous resource for DVBE advocates. As such, CalVet analysts developed a process for the review and assessment of improvement plans with underperforming agencies, visitations and recommendations directly with underperforming departments, as well as the development of procedures for DVBE exemption requests provided by DGS. CalVet continues to utilize and refine tools such as the Request for Response that offer state advocates assistance in locating DVBEs that provide goods and services that departments struggle to find.
- Completion Date: October 2022
California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Fully Implemented
Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2021
CalVet has recognized the need to implement a yearly survey for awarding departments and the challenges they experience awarding DVBE contractors and subcontractors that provide the goods and services they seek to procure in order to gain a base line understanding of their needs. In response, CalVet has developed an annual Advocate Survey that will allow awarding agencies to provide the top 5 goods and top 5 services that they have challenges procuring from DVBEs, as well as to provide CalVet any additional information salient to their department's procurement needs. Information captured from this survey, will be shared with the DVBE community of what goods and services are opportunistic for their business as well as by CalVet in order to improve its outreach practices. The inter-agency agreement also allows there to be a position dedicated to working alongside DGS and awarding department Advocates on Goods & Services they seek and supporting their role as an SB/DVBE Advocate both within the structure of the California Small Business/Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise Advocate Steering Council and as a year round resource for DVBE advocates. In order to fully execute this recommendation, CalVet analysts are in the process of implementing procedures for the review and assessment of improvement plans in coordination with DGS for underperforming agencies, visitations with underperforming departments, as well as developing procedures for DVBE exemption requests that are sent from DGS. The analyst have also continue to develop tools such as the Request for Response in order to provide advocates a direct line to CalVet in order to gain assistance in locating DVBEs that provide goods and services that departments struggle to find.
- Estimated Completion Date: October 1, 2022
California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending
Annual Follow-Up Agency Response From October 2020
Due to complications from COVID 19, the two positions funded through the IA with DGS were not filled until October 1, 2020. Since then, the two funded positions have begun the process of working directly with DGS in establishing CalVet's role in supporting State DVBE Advocates and underachieving state departments. These analysts are working to establish year-round engagement with departments who have struggled to reach their contracting goals by providing direct support to connect with potential DVBE contractors offering the goods and services they seek. Further, the data sharing agreement between CalVet and DGS established through the IA will further increase CalVet's ability to further assess its activities to ascertain program impact.
Duty Statements (signed) for the two DVBE employees
- Estimated Completion Date: June 30, 2021
California State Auditor's Assessment of Annual Follow-Up Status: Pending
1-Year Agency Response
The new IA will greatly increase connectivity to the statewide Advocate Program outside of the quarterly meetings held in coordination with DGS. The new positions will provide continuous support to the DVBE advocates in underachieving departments by acting as a conduit to connect DVBEs with the Look Ahead Reports developed through the efforts of DVBE advocates working with DGS. These analysts will ensure year-round engagement with departments who have struggled to reach their contracting goals by providing direct support to connect with potential DVBE contractors offering the goods and services they seek. This will greatly increase CalVet's level of engagement with underperforming departments and with an increase in data sharing between the two departments, CalVet will have the ability to further assess its activities to ascertain program impact and success.
- Estimated Completion Date: 12/2020
- Response Date: February 2020
California State Auditor's Assessment of 1-Year Status: Pending
6-Month Agency Response
During the Discovery Meetings we worked with multiple awarding departments to identify the types of goods and services for which they struggled to find a DVBE contractor or subcontractor. One issue we identified was that the departments did not have a good process for tracking such goods and services. An identified best practice is for departments to develop a 12-Month Look Ahead Report. These reports are intended to project the goods and services a department will likely utilize in the coming year.
CalVet intended to review the reports with the awarding department to identify the goods and services underserved by DVBEs. This exercise revealed the need for improved operational effectiveness between DVBE advocates and their purchasing teams. Therefore, CalVet is in the early stages of developing a statewide DVBE training for department advocates and their purchasing team.
- Estimated Completion Date: March 27, 2020
- Response Date: August 2019
California State Auditor's Assessment of 6-Month Status: Pending
60-Day Agency Response
CalVet agrees with this recommendation. During January 2019, CalVet scheduled a series of aforementioned Discovery Meetings with agencies not meeting the 3 percent requirements, as well as with entities that have expressed a desire to increase their DVBE participation goals beyond the 3 percent requirement.
During each of the individual agency Discovery Meetings, a "DVBE Roadmap and Success Timeline" and a simplified certified DVBE spreadsheet was given to each agency. This simplified search method should enable potential awarding agencies to locate certified DVBEs and potential DVBEs to fulfill their product and service needs.
- The refined list of DVBEs that CalVet generates is specifically tailored to meet each of the awarding agency's purchasing needs;
- To align state agencies with DVBEs, CalVet conducts monthly calls to DVBEs to support awarding agencies' contracting needs when an agency is experiencing difficulty trying to locate a specific DVBE for a particular contract; and
- Additionally, CalVet will work with DVBEs by email and phone to ensure their capabilities and the region-service information served by the DVBE are up-to-date. CalVet intends to share information regarding specific contracting opportunities and give guidance where appropriate to the DVBE to help them assess whether they are qualified to bid on the contract.
To assist the agencies and departments, CalVet has also developed a list of Veteran Service Organizations, categorized regionally. This provides DVBE awarding departments access to local veteran-centric organizations that might have a network of veteran-owned firms which are not currently certified as DVBEs. The goal is to connect this larger universe of veteran business owners with knowledge about the process and benefits of becoming DVBE certified as part of CalVet's efforts to increase the number of California DVBEs.
- Estimated Completion Date: August 30, 2019
- Response Date: April 2019
California State Auditor's Assessment of 60-Day Status: Pending
Agency responses received are posted verbatim.