Contract 'Bundling' Under the Small Business Act: Existing Law and Proposed Amendments [June 11, 2012] [open pdf - 339KB]
From the Introduction: "'Bundling' refers to the consolidation of two or more requirements for goods or services previously provided or performed under separate smaller contracts into a solicitation for a single contract that is likely to be unsuitable for award to a small business because of its size or scope. Although bundling can potentially reduce costs or improve performance for federal agencies, it can also limit opportunities for small businesses to receive federal prime contracts. For this reason, Congress amended the Small Business Act in 1997 to require that procuring activities comply with certain procedures before issuing a bundled solicitation. Specifically, the 1997 amendments require that procuring activities (1) conduct market research to justify acquisition strategies that could lead to bundled contracts, (2) provide advance notice of bundled solicitations to the Small Business Administration (SBA) and incumbent small business contractors, and (3) implement certain procurement strategies when solicitations involve 'substantial bundling.' These steps are intended to ensure that any bundling is 'necessary and justified.' Only 'unnecessary and unjustified' bundling is prohibited under the 1997 and subsequent amendments. [...] This report provides an overview of the existing law regarding bundling and consolidation of requirements under the Small Business Act, as well as proposed amendments thereto. It does not address limitations that the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA) of 1984 or other legislation imposes on 'consolidation' of requirements. Agency actions that constitute improper bundling under the Small Business Act can constitute improper consolidation under CICA or other provisions of law."
CRS Report for Congress, R41133