Submit a Notice of Alleged Undue Restriction

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The Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is available to assist any small business that believes a solicitation, request for proposal (RFP), or request for quotation (RFQ) may unduly restrict the ability of the small business to compete for an award. 

What does “unduly restrictive” mean?
An “unduly restrictive solicitation” means that the requirement unreasonably limits small business competition.  Unduly restrictive language may be found in the following, but is not limited to, evaluation criteria, statement of need, statement of work or proposed clauses.

When should I submit a notice of alleged undue restriction?
Complete the notice as soon as possible, but no later than on or before the due date for the proposal submission. 

Are there any examples of unduly restrictive solicitations?
See the following General Accountability Office (GAO) cases: 

  • Requires vendors to be an original equipment manufacturer’s authorized repair facility [File B-403561]
  • Requires vendors to locate data services in “designated countries” [File B-405296]
  • Prohibits a Mentor-Protégé joint venture where terms could inhibit small business advancement [File B-408685.18]

What happens after I submit a report of alleged undue restriction?
Once OSDBU receives a report of alleged undue restriction, you will receive a confirmation of your submission.  Our office may contact you in order to clarify information or to obtain additional details regarding the alleged undue restriction.  

OSDBU advocates on your behalf and will work with the appropriate officials including, but not limited to, the requirements contracting officer, the cognizant Agency advocate for competition, and the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Procurement Center Representative (PCR), as needed.

Our office will provide a response within five (5) business days after receipt of a completed submission. 

If I submit a report of alleged undue restriction, may I still submit a protest to the Agency or GAO?  When is the due date?
Yes.  As a pre-award action, you may submit a protest to the Agency or GAO regarding a solicitation or quote that is alleged to be unduly restrictive on or before the due date for the proposal submission.  [See FAR Subparts 33.103 and 33.104]

Are there other available resources to consult before submitting a report of alleged undue restriction?
Best efforts should be made to first resolve concerns with the procuring contracting officer.  Other guidance options include:

To notify DOE OSDBU of an alleged undue restriction, please fill out the form here:

Report an Alleged Undue Restriction

If you have any questions about alleged undue restrictions, or if you are having trouble filling out the form, please email small.business2@hq.doe.gov

For other support not related to undue restrictions, please contact:

Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization
U.S. Department of Energy 
202-586-7377