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The Acquisition Division (ACQ) of the U.S. Census Bureau is committed to providing the Bureau with the best possible contract/procurement services. To help accomplish this goal, this booklet provides instructions and examples for obtaining commonly used commercial services through the Federal Supply Schedule Program. It is intended to provide instructions and guidelines in how to obtain services through GSA Schedules, Government-wide Agency Contracts (GWACs), Multi-Award Contracts, Blanket Purchase Agreements (BPA), and similar purchasing systems.
Procedures for obtaining services through the Federal Supply Schedule Program are governed by SUBPART 8.4 (Federal Supply Schedules) of PART 8, and PART 38 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). These sections specifically address a Federal Supply Schedule program that is directed and managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), and provides Federal agencies with a simplified process for obtaining commonly used commercial supplies and services at prices associated with volume buying.
Using the procedures in SUBPART 8.4., orders placed against a Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) are considered to be issued using full and open competition from all sources. This competition resulted in Indefinite Delivery contracts (including requirements contracts) that were established with commercial firms to provide supplies and services at stated prices for given period of time. The award of a contract under the Multiple Award Schedule qualifies a company to further compete against other companies on the Schedule for the award of tasks offered through the Schedule program. This second level of competition subjects the Contractor to many of the same procedures and evaluations that were completed for the initial contract award. These procedures, which are driven by the task order value and requirements, may include the submission of technical proposals, cost proposals, and oral presentations.
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Purchase thresholds acquiring services through a Schedule are provided below:
- If the purchase is at or below the micro-purchase threshold of $2,500, the task may be awarded by considering as few as one Contractor on the Schedule.
- If the purchase is at a level above the micro-purchase threshold of $2,500, the qualifications and prices of at least three (3) Contractors on the Schedule must be considered.
- The requirement for completing specific procedures as described below are dependent on the value and services of the task. The appropriate procedures could range from the completion of a few simple documents, such as a memorandum and funding documents, to a full series of proposals, presentations, and evaluations.
The Management, Organization, and Business Improvement Services (MOBIS) Schedule was used as the basis for generating the procedures and examples provided in this booklet. However, many of the same procedures will be applied to purchases made through similar purchasing programs, such as the NASA Scientific & Engineering Workstation Procurement II (SEWP) and the National Institute of Health Information Technology and Assessment Center (NITAAC) contract vehicles.
The sections of the Federal Acquisition Regulation referred to in this booklet may be viewed on the Internet at https://acquisition.gov/far.
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II. DETERMINE WHAT SERVICES ARE NEEDED
The end user is in the best position to determine what services are needed. Prior to taking the next step in the acquisition process, the user should determine:
- What services are needed;
- Who in the organization will use the services;
- Where the services are needed – on-site/off-site;
- When the services are needed;
- How much funding is available for the services; and,
- Is the use of a GSA or similar Schedule the best vehicle for obtaining these services?
III. MILESTONE SCHEDULE
Once the user has determined if the services will be obtained through a Multi-Award Schedule, a milestone schedule will provide a tool for estimating the stages of the award process. Depending on the depth of the selection process, the schedule will include among other action items, the proposed completion dates for issuing the RFP, receiving the proposals, evaluations, and awards. An example of an extensive milestone schedule is provided as Attachment #1 to this booklet.
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IV. SELECT THE TYPE OF WORK STATEMENT
A work statement is one of the most important documents in the selection process – it tells the Contractor what services are needed. There are basically three types of work statements – Functional Based, Performance Based, and a combination of the two. Selecting the type of statement dependents on how much the user wants to govern what specific services are to be provided. A description of each type of work statement follows:
- Performance Based Statement of Work - A solicitation document in which an agency describes the top-level objectives the Contractor will support. It is used to maximize the flexibility afforded Contractors to propose innovative/cost-effective approaches. Based on a Performance Based Statement of Work (SOW), the Contractor submits a detailed SOW as part of its proposal, detailing their own processes for satisfying the government objectives. The Contractor will address what services will be provided, how the services will be provided, and how the services will be measured. The Performance Based SOW should identify:
- Background and Purpose
- Specific Requirements or Tasks
- Deliverables and Milestone Schedule
- Government Furnished Resources
- Travel Requirements
- Skill or Relevant Experience Requirements
- Performance Measures
- Government Quality Assurance Plan
Guidance on generating a Performance Based SOW is provided in Attachment #2 to this booklet.
Attachment #2 also provides guidance for using a Quality Assurance Plan (QAP). The QAP defines what the government must do to ensure that the Contractor has performed in accordance with the PWS performance standard. This determination can range from a one-time inspection of a product or service to periodic in-process inspections of on-going product or service delivery.
Functional Based Statement of Work (SOW) – This solicitation document is the most in-depth of the three types of statements. It is a statement that provides the Contractor, at the lowest level, with the what, where, and when the specific services will be provided, as well as how the services will be measured. The SOW identifies the:
- End User of the Services – A paragraph or two describing the functions of the end user and the reasons why the services are needed.
- Description of the Minimum Requirements of the Services - A detailed description of the specific services, applicable standards, acceptance criteria and any special requirements.
- Standards of Performance - A description of what will determine whether performance requirements have been met by the Contractor, e.g., the quality and timeliness of reports.
- Timeline – A series of dates for completion of the tasks described in the SOW.
- Travel – What travel is anticipated.
An example of a Functional SOW is provided as Attachment #3 to this booklet.
Combination of Performance Base and Functional Based Statement of Work (CP-SOW)
A combination of the functional based and performance-based statements of work may be applicable when the Government is concerned about how the Contractor will perform specific tasks.
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V. MARKET SEARCH
After determining the requirements, the next step is to conduct Market Research to find out if the Contractors offered through the Schedules are able to satisfy the user’s needs. This can be accomplished by reviewing the services offered on the GSA Schedule or other Schedules.
Some of the available Internet sites include:
- https://www.gsaadvantage.gov - GSA Advantage
- http://www.sewp.nasa.gov - NASA Scientific & Engineering Workstation Procurement II (SEWP)
- http://nitaac.nih.gov - National Institute of Health Information Technology and Assessment Center (NITAAC)
Because many government agencies will use the resources provided through the GSA Schedule to acquire services, below are the steps to log-on and search the GSA Schedule.
Step 1: Log-on to GSA Advantage at https://www.gsaadvantage.gov. Step 2: The Home Page provides background information about the services provided by GSA. On the right side of the page, key on the topic of interest. However, if you are already familiar with what services you want to search, key on "Schedules – E-Library (column on left side of the page). Step 3:
Keying the "Schedules – E-Library" will display a page welcoming you to the Federal Supply Schedules Listing. At this point you can use the search block to search for a topic of interest. Just key in the word or words you are interested in finding and key "enter."
You may also view a complete list of the schedule by placing the cursor on the words "Federal Supply Schedules Listing" at the top/center of the page.
Located near the "Federal Supply Schedule Listing" is the Basic Schedule Ordering Guidelines. Because the purchase order will be processed through the Acquisition Division of the Census Bureau, the guidelines to select or award a task order or purchase order may be used as a point of interest, but no action needs to be taken.
Step 4: Keying in the word "MOBIS", the system will search the Schedule for MOBIS, which is SIN #874. The displayed screen will provide various types of management services available under SIN #874. These services include consulting, survey, facilitation, and training services. Step 5: Keying on #874-1, the system will provide a list of all Contractors that provide consulting services. At this point, the qualifications and offered services need to be reviewed to determine whether they match the needed services. By keying on the name of the Contractor, the Contractor page will be displayed. To review the background of the Contractor, key on the Web Address. Step 6: Directives require that at least three (3) Contractors be selected for competition from the list if the purchase is at a level above the micro-purchase threshold of $2,500. (Because one or more of the Contractors may decline to participate in the selection process, select five or six potential Contractors)
Once the Contractors have been selected, the next step is to identify those Contractors who interested in competing for the contract. A telephone call, a letter, or an email are acceptable. However, letters and emails provide better documentation for the selection file. And of these two vehicles, emails provide a quicker mode of communicating.
An example of the inquiry is provided as Attachment #4 to this booklet.
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VI. ISSUING REQUEST FOR PROPOSAL (RFP)
- Request for Proposal Document
FAR Section 15.203 provides guidance on the contents of an RFP. Depending on the proposed services, the RFP may range from a few to several sections. RFPs may not have to be as in-depth as the example provided in Attachment #5 to this booklet, but they should contain sufficient information to enable a thorough evaluation of the proposals. The following provides a short description of the sections that are usually included in an RFP.
Background – In one or two paragraphs, describe the function of the user’s branch, division, etc., and the reasons the services are being requested. (Item #1 of the Sample RFP)
Price – Describe how the services will be priced. Descriptions of the contract types are provided in PART 16 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Most of the task orders will be proposed and awarded as either a Time & Material or Firm Fixed Priced effort. (Item #2 of the Sample RFP)
Statement of Work (SOW) – Describe the requirements of the task order. The SOW will include:
- End User of the Services – A paragraph or two describing the functions of the end user and the reasons the services are needed.
- Description of the Minimum Requirements of the Services - A detailed description of the specific services, applicable standards, acceptance criteria and any special requirements.
- Standards of Performance - A description of what will determine whether performance requirements have been met by the Contractor. For example, the quality and timeliness of reports.
- Timeline – A series of dates for completion of the tasks described in the SOW.
(Item #3 of the Sample RFP)
Deliverables and Milestone Schedule – Describe what deliverables are required and a schedule for their delivery. It is important to indicate how many hard and soft copies of the deliverables are to be delivered, the format of the deliverables, and where the deliverables will be delivered. (Item #4 of the Sample RFP)
Travel - Describe what type of travel will be required. Include the statement "Travel requires the approval of an authorized government representative, and will be performed in accordance with the Federal Travel Regulations and guidelines" in the RFP. (Item #5 of the Sample RFP)
Performance Measures Will Include – Describe some method/criteria for measuring the performance of the Contractor. Examples of these measurements include:
- Meeting agreed upon schedule dates.
- Submission of all deliverables as specified.
- Adherence to agreed upon budget.
- Ability to produce quality assurance documentation.
- Preparation of comprehensive reports/presentations.
(Item #7 of the Sample RFP)
Government Provided Resources – Describe the resources to be provided by the government in support of the Contractor. This could include facilities, computers, vehicles, office supplies, etc. (Item #8 of the Sample RFP)
Task Order Administration – Provide the names, addresses, telephone numbers, fax numbers, and email addresses of the Contracting Officer and the Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative or Task Monitor/Manager. (Item #9 of the Sample RFP)
Billing and Payment Instructions – Provide the address where the invoices will be submitted and any particular requirements that must be included in the invoices – hours, rates, etc. (Requirements stated in Attachment #20 to this booklet)
Management Reports – Depending on the size and scope of the services, users may require the submission of a management report that provides the status of the contract. If management reports are required, provide the Contractor with the format for the report, due dates, the number of copies, and recipients of the reports. The reports may be submitted as hard or electronic copies. (Item #11 of the Sample RFP)
Delivery of Proposals – To ensure all Contractors receive the same consideration when receiving and evaluating the proposals, it is important to fully describe when, where and how the proposals are to be received. The RFP should include the following instructions/statements:
- How many originals and copies of the proposal will be submitted.
- Instruction about cover letters, signatures, etc.
- How the technical and cost volumes will be submitted (combined, separate covers, etc.)
- How the proposals will be wrapped, addressed, and marked.
- A statement about the date and time when the proposal must be received at the required address. (When stating a NLT time, indicate a time zone. For example, May 22, 2001, 4 P.M. Eastern Standard Time (EST).)
- A statement about the consequences of the proposal not being delivered at the indicated place and time, and in the requested format.
(Items 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 of the Sample RFP)
Capabilities of the Company – Request a description of the Contractor’s capabilities. (Item #17 of the Sample RFP)
Relevant Experience Required – Company – Request the level of experience from the Contractor. This will include similar projects, length of projects, etc. (Item #17 of the Sample RFP)
Relevant Experience Required - Personnel – Request the experience levels of the personnel offered by the Contractor. This will include years and types of experience, education, etc. Resumes could be attached to the proposal. If they are attached, include in the instructions if the pages of the resumes will be charged against the page limits of the proposal. (Item #17 of the Sample RFP)
Pricing – Some means for easily comparing prices of the various Contractors needs to be included in the RFP. If the efforts are to be performed as a Time & Material task order, an evaluation may be accomplished by including a table that includes labor categories and the number of proposed hours for each category. Even if the number of hours proposed in the RFP are not exact, this exercise will provide the evaluators a means of comparing rates. (Ensure the provided labor categories and number of hours for each category are the same for each Contractor.)
A description of the proposed categories would also aid in the evaluation of the proposals.
A similar system may be used in evaluating the pricing for a Firm Fixed Price task order. However, the provided table for the labor categories and labor rates will be populated by the Contractor to equal the total hours and price.
Costs for materials and travel will be listed separately.
(Item #18 of the RFP)
Evaluation Phases and Competitive Range Determination – Describe the procedures for evaluating the written proposals and determining a competitive range. These procedures will include the basis for evaluating the proposals, how the competitive ranges will be determined, and notification of the Contractors as to whether they ranked within the competitive range. (Item #19 of the Sample RFP)
Phase II, Oral Presentation – Describe the order in which the Contractors will be scheduled for the oral presentation, where and when the oral presentations will be convened, and what the Contractor will present. Other items will include the requirements for the delivery of hard copies of the presentation slides and other visual aids (brochures, etc.), authorized number of presenters, and who provides the equipment (projectors, screens etc.) for the presentation.
Also described in the RFP will be the format for oral presentations. The format includes the various segments of the presentation and the time limitation for each segment. These segments could include the presentation by the Contractor, a period to allow the evaluators to compare notes and generate follow-up questions, and a period for the Contractor to answer the questions. (The questions answered by the Contractor could consist of a few pre-determined questions that are provided to all Contractors after the initial segments, and a few questions that only apply to a particular Contractor.)
As with all other aspects of the proposal process, each Contractor must receive the same considerations as those offered to the other Contractors. Time limits must be strictly enforced.
(Items #20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 of the Sample RFP)
Basis for Award - Describe how the evaluation will be based on best value principles. That is, the award will be made to the Contractor whose proposal provides the greatest overall value to the government, price and other factors considered. (Item 25 of the Sample RFP)
Evaluation Factors – Describe what proposal factors will be evaluated, and what weight will be assigned to each factor. A final evaluation score will be assigned by evaluating the stated factors. The evaluation process could include sub-factors of the primary factors, but the evaluation is limited only to the factors indicated in the RFP.
For example, if the user has three factors to evaluate, all three factors may be rated on an equal basis. However, the user may also elect to assign an unequal weight to each of the factors, i.e. 50% to Factor #1 (Capabilities), 40% to Factor #2 (Experience), and 10% to Factor #3 (Cost). A third option may be to weight Factors #1 and #2 (technical factors), and use Factor #3 (Cost) as the tiebreaker. Other wording may be something similar to "Factors #1 and #2 are considered technical factors, and Factor #2 (Experience) is considered the most important of the two technical factors. Factor #3 is a cost factor, and will be evaluated separately. The cost factor may become more important as the technical scores become more equal". (Item 26 of the Sample RFP)
Anticipated Award Date
Because Contractors often request information about when the contract will be awarded, include in the RFP a tentative timeline of expected completion dates for stages of the award process. The proposed dates should include:
- Issue RFP
- Receive Written Proposals
- Evaluate Written Proposals
- Notify Offerors within Competitive Range
- Conduct Oral Proposal
- Final Evaluations Completed
- Award Contract
- Services Begin Under New Task Order
(Item #27 of the Sample RFP)
- Formal Communications – Request for Clarification(s) or Questions Regarding the RFP
It is common to have Contractors ask questions about the RFP. To accommodate these requests, the Contractor needs to be provided the name, telephone number, fax number and email address of the person who will answer the questions. To help limit duplicate efforts, to control the contents of the responses, and ensure all Contractors receive copies of the responses, it is best that only one person respond to the inquires.
Because there are restrictions on the contents of the responses and when information may be provided, contact the Acquisition Division when questions about the RFP are received. (Item #28 of the Sample RFP)
- Cover Letter/Email – Request for Proposal
To ensure the wording of the Request for Proposal (RFP) contains sufficient information and is in the proper format, it will be reviewed and transmitted by the Contracting Officer. As with the above inquiry, the delivery of the RFP may be expedited by using emails (FAR 15.203(c)). The wording for the transmittal email need not be any more than the following example:
(Name of Contracting Officer)
U.S. Census Bureau
4700 Silver Hill Road, Mail Stop #1700
Washington DC 20233-1700
(Insert Address of Vendor)
Dear Mx. XXXXX;
Attached is a Request for Proposal for services to be procured via the General Services Administration's (GSA) Contract. This task order is to provide the U.S. Census Bureau (BOC) with (Insert Description of Work requested).
If your company requires a hard copy of the RFP under cover letter, please make the request via email within 24 hours from the date of this notice. The request may be made to the undersigned at (Insert email address of point of contract).
Option Paragraph #1
The schedule for the RFP submission, evaluation, and award of the task order is provided on page (Insert Page Number) of the RFP. Your proposal must be received by this office NLT (Insert Date and Time), to be considered for award. An electronic submission of your proposal to me at the above email address is encouraged.
Option Paragraph #2
The schedule for the RFP submission, evaluation, and award of the task order is provided on page (Insert Page Number) of the RFP. Your proposal must be received by this office NLT (Insert Date and Time), to be considered for award. The addresses for delivery of the proposal follows:
(Insert address for forwarding proposal through U.S. Postal System)
Delivery Address for Handcarrying Proposals:
(Insert address for handcarrying proposal)
If you have any questions, please contact me at the above email address. (Insert Address, and point of contact)"
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VII. RECEIPT OF WRITTEN PROPOSALS
The proposals should be date/time stamped upon receipt at the office indicated in the RFP. The proposals need to be reviewed to ensure they are received NLT the date and time indicated in the RFP, that the number of requested copies were received, and the information requested in the RFP was provided in the proper format. If a proposal is not received by the required date and time, or if the proposal does not contain the requested information in the proper format, the Contractor may be disqualified from competing for the award. The Acquisition Division should be contacted prior to a Contractor being disqualified. By answering the following questions, the evaluator will be able to determine if the proposal was in compliance with the RFP:
- What was the delivery deadline?
- When was the proposal delivered?
- Was the package addressed to the correct delivery location, and was the package correctly marked?
- Was the proposal submitted in the required number of sets?
- Were the technical and cost proposals submitted in the required number of volumes?
- Were the technical and price volumes limited to the required pages?
- Has the Contractor taken any exceptions?
Failure to comply with the above requirements may subject the Contractor to be disqualified. However, no action should be taken until the issues are discussed with the Contracting Officer in the Acquisition Division.
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VIII. EVALUATION OF THE WRITTEN PROPOSALS
- Appointment of Evaluators
The committee should consist of at least three (3) evaluators. Prior to issuing the written proposals to the evaluators, they should review and sign a Conflict of Interest Certification. By signing the certification, the evaluator certifies that he or she is not aware of any matter that might limit his/her ability to participate in the acquisition. A copy of this certification is provided as Attachment #6 to this booklet. NOTE: A Conflict of Interest Certification is not required if the value of the contract to be awarded is estimated at $25,000 or less.
Attachment #7 to this booklet is a slide presentation for source selection training. It provides evaluators insight into what an evaluation process is, the steps of the source selection process, the importance of individual and consensus evaluations, and the "do" and "don’t" when evaluating proposals and presentations.
- Issuing Technical Proposal to Evaluators
After the Conflict of Interest Certifications have been signed, issue copies of the technical proposals to the evaluators. Because emphasis should be placed on evaluating the technical proposal without considering the cost of the services, the cost proposals should not be reviewed until after the technical proposals have been evaluated.
- Evaluating the Technical Proposal
Proposal evaluation is an assessment of the proposal and the Contractor’s ability to perform the prospective services successfully. An agency will evaluate the proposals, then assess their relative qualities solely on the factors and sub-factors specified in the solicitation. Evaluations may be conducted using any rating method or combination of methods, including color or adjectival ratings, numerical weights, and ordinal ranking. However, no matter what system is used, a written summary of the evaluation must include the strengths, deficiencies, significant weaknesses, and risks to support the final evaluation results. (FAR SUBPART 15.3, Section 15.305)
Depending on the requirements set forth in the RFP, the evaluation process may benefit from assigning individual evaluators to compile summaries of submitted information. For example, the task of calling company references might be assigned to Evaluator A, and the task of calling individual references assigned to Evaluator B. The evaluators should keep thorough notes of their findings to brief the other evaluators during the consensus meeting.
Attachment #8 to this booklet provides an example of an evaluation form. The form may be used to record the findings of the individual evaluators, and to record the compiled ratings from the consensus meetings.
- Initial Consensus Meeting
After the evaluators have conducted their individual evaluations of the proposals, a consensus meeting should be convened to discuss the findings. The results of each individual’s evaluations should be compared, discussed, and any issues resolved. To better document the findings, minutes of the meeting should be generated and a copy of the previously discussed evaluation form (Attachment #8) completed to compile the ratings from the individual consensus evaluations, and attached to the minutes.
Attachment #9 to this booklet provides an example of the minutes. The minutes should include at least the names of the evaluators, who attended the meeting, where and when the meeting was convened, the purpose of the meeting, and the results of the meeting.
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IX. ORAL PRESENTATIONS
Conducting oral presentations may benefit the evaluation process by providing the Contractors an opportunity to supplement/enhance the written proposals and answer questions. The presentations will also provide evaluators an opportunity to meet some of the key personnel associated with the efforts, to better evaluate the capabilities of the Contractor by evaluating company representatives, and to address issues that are more easily resolved face to face, rather than through written communications. Invitations should provide instructions for where and when the presentations will be conducted, the format of the presentations, equipment needs, visual aids, handouts, etc. The questions that evolved from the evaluation of the written technical proposals should also be included with the invitation. Including the questions in the invitation will provide the Contractor an opportunity to prepare responses prior to oral presentations.
The instructions may be provided via email. The wording for the email need only consist of a few remarks. An example is "Attached is an invitation for your company to provide an oral presentation to the (Insert Name) for the (Insert Name of Contract) contract. Please read the invitation carefully because it requests several actions".
Attachment #10 to this booklet provides an example of an invitation to provide an oral presentation. It may be attached to the above email.
- Conducting Oral Presentations
The oral presentations should not deviate from the procedures described in the invitations. By following the predetermined format, all of the Contractors will be assured the same opportunity to present their qualifications. A recorder should be assigned to take notes of the proceedings. Another suggestion is to provide each evaluator a copy of the previously completed technical evaluation form, a tablet, and pencils/pens.
The evaluators should discuss each presentation immediately after it has been conducted. This allows the discussion to take place while information is fresh in the minds of the evaluators. It also gives the recorder an opportunity to supplement his/her notes, and to update the evaluation form. Completion of the above will also provide a record at the final consensus meeting.
As an aid for documenting who attended the oral presentations and consensus meetings a sign-in sheet should be made available at the start of the sessions. An example of attendance sheet is provided as Attachment #9A to this booklet.
- Minutes of the Oral Presentations
The minutes of the oral presentation provide a summary about which Contractor made the presentation, who represented the Contractor and the Government, and where and when the presentation was conducted. The minutes will also act as a coversheet for the updated technical evaluation forms.
An example of the minutes is provided as Attachment #12 to this booklet.
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X. AWARD OF THE CONTRACT
- Final Consensus Meeting
After the oral presentations are concluded, a consensus meeting will be convened to decide contract award. During this meeting the evaluators will determine the final strengths, deficiencies, weaknesses, and risks assigned to each technical proposal. Both the written and oral presentations will be considered when determining each Contractor’s technical capabilities. As previously stated, the evaluators may use a system of points, colors, etc. to aid them in making their determinations, but the final decisions must be documented by describing the strengths, deficiencies, weaknesses, and risks of each Contractor.
After the technical capabilities of the Contractors have been evaluated, the cost proposals will be evaluated. Generating a summary of the cost proposals prior to the meeting will allow the evaluators to quickly compare the offered rates/prices.
Once the cost proposals are reviewed, the evaluators will make the award decision by weighing all of the technical and cost factors.
- Notice of Award
After selecting the Contractor, all Contractors must be notified of the decision in writing. These notifications should be made by a member of the evaluation team and copies of the notifications included in the section folder. These notifications may be accomplished via email using wording similar to the following:
- Contractor Awarded the Order
It is with pleasure that I notify you of the Government’s decision to award (Insert name or Contractor) the order for (describe services). Please provide (Name of Government Representative) via email at (insert email address) with the name, address, telephone number, and email address of your point of contact for processing the award.
A Kickoff Meeting has been scheduled for (Date and Time) at (Location of Meeting). Please confirm the receipt of this email and provide the names, telephone numbers and email addresses of your representatives who will be attending the meeting.
- Contractor Not Awarded the Order
The Government has thoroughly reviewed and evaluated your technical and cost proposals for (describe services) and has evaluated your oral presentation for the same. It was determined that (Insert name of Contractor) offered the best value for the needed services. If requested, we will provide your company with a debriefing. Please notify (Insert Name) via email at XXXXXXXXXX within three days of this notification if you desire such a debriefing.
The Government appreciated your participation through your proposal and oral presentation, and we wish you success in future endeavors.
- Contractor Debriefings
In accordance with Part 15, Section 15.506, of the FAR, a Contractor, upon its written request being received by the agency within 3 days after the date on which a Contractor has received notification of contract award, will be debriefed and furnished the basis for the selection decision and contract award. To the maximum extent practicable, the debriefing should occur within 5 days after the Contractor’s receipt of the written request. A Contractor that was notified of exclusion from the competition but failed to submit a timely request, is not entitled to a debriefing.
The contracting officer should normally chair any debriefing session held. Individuals who conducted the evaluations will provide support. Debriefings of successful and unsuccessful Contractors may be done orally, in writing, or by any other method acceptable to the contracting officer.
At a minimum, the debriefing information will include (1) The Government’s evaluation of the significant weaknesses or deficiencies in the Contractor’s proposal; (2) The overall evaluated cost or price (including unit prices), and technical rating, if applicable, of the successful offeror and the debriefed offeror, and past performance information on the debriefed offeror; (3) The overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during the source selection; (4) A summary of the rationale for award; (5) For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful Contractor, and (6) The reasonable responses to relevant questions about whether source selection procedures contained in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed.
The debriefing will not include point-by-point comparisons of the debriefed Contractor’s proposal with those of other Contractors. Moreover, the debriefing will not reveal any information prohibited from disclosure by 24.202 or exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act.
Attachment #13 to this booklet provides an example of an agenda for debriefing contractors.
To support the Government selection process during possible debriefings, all background information will be maintained on file for at least 60 days after the announcement of the award.
An official summary of the debriefing will be included in the contract file.
- Department of Commerce, Department Administrative Order 208-10
The Department of Commerce, Department Administrative Order 208-10 requires that the heads of operating units (HOUs) ensure that all contracted services of their respective organizations are consistent with the objectives of paragraph 1.02 of the Order. These responsibilities include ensuring that (a) there are adequate procedures in place to monitor the contracted services, to evaluate their cost-effectiveness, to hold contractors accountable for results and to ensure the Department gets what it is paying for; (b) services being performed by contractors are not inherently governmental; (c) the services are essential to the mission of the Department; and (d) appropriate procurement policies (including emphasis on adequate competition) are observed. Completion of this DAO 208-10 is required for all service-related contracts/orders. A copy of the Order 208-10 is provided as Attachment #15 to this booklet.
Attachment #10a to this booklet is a copy of Office of Federal Procurement Policy Letter 92-1, dated September 23, 1992. This letter is referred to in the DAO 208-10 and establishes Executive Branch policy relating to service contracting and inherently governmental functions. Its purpose is to assist Executive Branch officers and employees in avoiding an unacceptable transfer of official responsibility to Government contractors.
- Department of Commerce Form 570 – Small Business Set-Aside Review
There is no requirement to complete a CD-570 Form (Small Business Set-Aside Review) for purchases made from GSA Federal Supply Schedule contracts or other government delivery order contracts.
- Contract Funding
In order for the Simplified Acquisition staff to execute an award, a fully processed CD Form 435 – Procurement Request must be provided to the Simplified Acquisition Branch. It is the responsibility of the agency (end user) to request the requisition and to ensure the process has been completed.
Note: Because it often takes two weeks for the process to be completed, the request should be made as soon as possible after award.
- Award Memorandum
In addition to the CD 435, a memorandum that summaries the selection process will be provided to the Acquisition staff. The memorandum at a minimum will included:
- Background – Provide a short background about the functions of the Government agency requesting the services.
- Purpose – Provide a paragraph or two describing the reason for the services. An example of this description is "The purpose of the proposal evaluations and negotiations was to reach an agreement on the cost and technical proposals as being fair and reason to (describe services).
- Acquisition Description – The wording from the Statement of Work may be inserted.
- Period of Performance – Indicate the period of performance.
- Selection Process – Describe the selection process from beginning to end. Included in this section will be information about (1) When the Request for Proposals were issued, (2) When the proposals were received, (3) Determination of Competitive Range, (4) Oral Presentations, (5) Technical and Cost Evaluations, (6) Consensus Meetings, and (7) Notifications of Award.
- Contract/Purchase Order Type - Indicate the type of contract awarded, i.e., Time and Material, Firm Fixed Price, etc.
- Rates/Costs/Prices – Provide the rates for each labor category if the services will be provided through Time and Material or Labor Hour contract types, or the Firm Fixed Price. If more than one series of rates applies, indicate in the memorandum the rates for each period and the inclusive dates for each period.
- Authorized Funding – Wording similar to the following is suggested. "Funding for the services offered through this contract has been authorized through CD form 435, Requisition Number (Insert Number). The amount authorized through this requisition is (Insert Amount Authorized in CD 435). Attach a copy of the CD Form 435 to the memorandum.
- Contractor Debriefings – Indicate whether contractor debriefings were conducted, when they were conducted, and a summary of the debriefings.
- Need for Publicizing Solicitations/Award – There is no requirement for the award to be solicited or announced through the Commerce Business Daily or other similar publications. Insert wording similar to the following statement in this section: "Due to the efforts being performed under the terms of a Multi-Award Schedule, the services provided through this award do not have to be synopsized or published in the Commerce Business Daily (CBD) or other similar publications."
- Completion of DAO 208-10 – Indicate whether order was completed and attach a copy of the order to the memorandum.
- Legal Review – the award requires no legal review.
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- Appointment of the Task Manager
Even though the Contracting Officer (CO) is the exclusive agent of the Government with the authority to enter into and administer a contract, the Task Manager has the responsibility for communicating with the Contractor and making sure the Contractor is making satisfactory progress in performing the requirements of the purchase order. The Task Manager will be appointed in writing by the Contracting Officer to perform these duties. This appointment process will be accomplished through the Intranet system by sending an email to the Task Manager. Attached are examples of the Appointment Memorandum (Attachment #18) and the wording for the transmittal email (Attachment #19).
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- Issuing Supply, Equipment or Service Order
The Acquisitions staff will issue the Supply, Equipment or Service Order, CD Form 404, authorizing the awarded services. Prior to issuing the CD Form 404, the Contracting Officer needs to receive copies of the memorandum described above, statement of work, CD Form 435, the Task Manager Appointment Memorandum, and a DAO 208-10 (when purchase order is for services).
The selected Contractor must be listed on the Census Vendor List prior to issuing the purchase order. If the Contractor is not listed, the Acquisition staff will request the information by sending a BC-185 (Vendor Registration Form) to the Contractor.
It will be the responsibility of the Contracting Officer to review and approve the above documents, and approve the issuance of the purchase order.
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XI. POST-AWARD ACTIONS
- Kickoff Meeting
After the contract has been awarded, the Government and Contractor representatives should meet to discuss the requirements of the contract. During the meeting the Request for Proposal (RFP) and the Contractor’s proposal should be compared and the work confirmed. Rates, deliverables, delivery dates for the deliverables, and invoicing should also be addressed. Notes from the meeting should be included in the contract file.
The Contractor will be briefed on the requirements for submitting invoices during the Kickoff Meeting. Each invoice must include the information as set forth in the instructions in Attachment #20 to this booklet.
- Controlling Funds
To ensure funds are controlled, the Task Manager should keep a running tally of contract/order funding and payments. Attachment #21 provides a tool for managing the funds. It will enable the Task Manager to add and delete funds, and keep a history of what invoices have been paid and what funds remain. A different summary sheet will be generated for each task order.
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XII. CHANGES TO THE PURCHASE ORDER
There will be occasions when the purchase orders will need to be changed/amended. Prior to any changes being made, the Task Manager and Contracting Officer will meet to ensure the changes do not affect the scope of work and that funding is available. All changes to purchase orders must be approved in writing by the Contracting Officer. This may consist of a simple email. However, the Acquisition staff will not act on changes unless authorized in writing by the Contracting Officer.
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XIII. CLOSEOUT ACTIONS
- Notice to Contractor
Once it has been determined by the Task Manager that the contracted services have been completed, steps should be taken to ensure the final invoice has been submitted for payment and any unused funding has been de-obligated. To accomplish this goal, an email will be sent to the Contractor. An example of the email is provided as Attachment #22 to this booklet.
- Notice to Acquisition and Finance Divisions
If the Contractor has not responded to the above email within 30 days and the Task Manager has no knowledge of outstanding invoices, an email will be sent to the Acquisition and Finance Divisions stating that the "Contract file has been reviewed, and it has been determined that all services under the terms of Purchase Order # (Insert Number) have been provided and all known invoices have been submitted and paid".
- Retention of Contract File
The Task Manager will maintain the contract file for at least six (6) months after the above email has been sent to the Acquisition and Finance Divisions. At the end of six (6) months, the contents of the contract file will be destroyed in a manner that will ensure proprietary information is protected from disclosure.
A checklist covering the actions addressed in this booklet are provided as Attachment #23. Many of the actions are necessary and others optional, depending on the complexity and value of the purchase. If there are any doubts about completion
Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Last Revised: May 17, 2013