WIPP's myContracting Magazine January 2015 - Page 29

At Regulatory Fairness Hearings held around the country, small business owners and trade associations that represent small businesses can testify about regulatory issues involving federal agencies, enabling the National Ombudsman to identify and raise critical issues impacting small businesses. In August 2014 for example, the National Ombudsman convened a hearing in Colorado Springs, Colorado to focus on regulatory issues facing small federal contractors. At the hearing, small business owners expressed their concerns about regulatory issues impacting them including agencies’ inconsistent adherence to Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) requirements and unclear and inconsistent requirements imposed by contracting officers for a Defense Contract Audit Agency “certification”

Elevating the Voice of America’s Small Businesses

Regional Regulatory Fairness Boards in each of SBA’s 10 regions promote regulatory fairness by alerting federal regulators to important regulatory enforcement fairness issues such as unintended consequences of a new rule or regulation. These Boards, each made up of five small business owners, provide advice and policy recommendations regarding regulations impacting the small business community. They do so by highlighting recurring problems, participating in hearings and other outreach events in their local business communities, and providing insights for addressing undue burdens adversely affecting small business. Board members also help raise awareness in their communities about resources available to small businesses through the SBA and the National Ombudsman.

Delivering Measurable Impact for Small Businesses

Each year, the Office of the National Ombudsman facilitates solutions for hundreds of individual small business owners facing a range of federal regulatory fairness issues leading to:

• Refunds of erroneous fines

• Payment of overdue invoices for work done by small government contractors

• Reductions of disproportionate penalties

• Correction of inconsistently applied rules and clarification of ambiguous regulatory requirements

The National Ombudsman also analyzes small business concerns to detect regulatory trends and recurring issues that create barriers to small business growth. In response, the Office of the National Ombudsman partners with federal agencies that regulate small business to address and resolve issues of regulatory fairness for small business owners. Some of the systemic issues that have been raised and resolved involve regulatory misapplication and misinterpretation, administrative errors and delays, and fines and other compliance costs.

The National Ombudsman Can Help Your Small Business

Any small business, nonprofit or small government entity can get help with their regulatory enforcement fairness issue. To learn more about how the National Ombudsman can help your small business, or to confidentially report a regulatory enforcement fairness issue, call 888-REG-FAIR (888-734-3247) or visit sba.gov/ombudsman.

Bringing Fair Regulatory Enforcement to

America's Small Businesses