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U.S. Geological Survey Manual

404.9 - Evaluation of Competitive Proposals (Negotiated)


OPR: Admin/Procurement and Contracts

1. Purpose. This Chapter establishes the policies and procedures for the technical evaluation of competitive proposals, generally applicable to negotiated procurements.

2. Policy. Since award of a contract may be made to other than the offeror submitting the lowest priced proposal in a negotiated competitive procurement, proposals shall be evaluated in terms of the following policy:

A. All proposals must be evaluated by no less than three technically qualified individuals selected by the appropriate Contracting Officer and program officer. These individuals will constitute the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC).

B. All proposals must be treated equally, evaluated independently by each person on the TEC, and evaluated objectively against the criteria established in the Request for Proposal (RFP). This means that during the initial evaluation process, the proposal's are not compared to each other. (See Individual Evaluator's Rating Form, Appendix A)

C. The same information shall be made available only by the Contracting Officer to all offerors, prior to receipt of proposals and during the evaluation and award process in order to preclude a prospective contractor an advantage over others. (See FAR 15.413-1)

D. Proposals shall be technically evaluated without prejudice as to the proposed costs. This is accomplished by separation or deletion of all cost references prior to submission for technical evaluation.

E. The official contract file must be fully documented to show why award was made to the successful offeror. Therefore, it is imperative that the technical evaluation be clear, decisive, and complete.

F. If a technical proposal has a reasonable chance of being selected for award, and is marginally acceptable and minor changes would make it acceptable, the Contracting Officer shall be advised. The Contracting Officer will give the offeror an opportunity to make the appropriate changes prior to a competitive range determination.

G. After completing the evaluation, negotiations will be conducted with all offerors within a competitive range. The competitive range includes all proposals that have a reasonable chance of being selected for award. (See FAR 15.609)

3. Responsibilities.

A. General. General Contracting SM 404.1.

B. Specific. The Technical Evaluation Committee is normally chaired by the Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) and is responsible for the review and evaluation of all proposals referred by the appropriate Contracting Officer. The chairperson will advise the committee of the evaluation criteria in the RFP, oversee its deliberations, and report the evaluations of the committee to the appropriate Contracting Officer.

4. Procedures. Proposals are received by the appropriate Contracting Officer and processed as follows:

A. The Contracting Officer verifies the receipt and date of the proposals, separates the cost proposals from the technical proposals, and forwards the technical proposals to the Technical Evaluation Committee with a request for evaluation.

B. The Technical Evaluation Committee members evaluate the proposals independently, identify strengths as well as any deficiencies or areas requiring clarification, and develop the consensus evaluation report for submission to the appropriate Contracting Officer. See Appendix A as a sample format for independently reviewing proposals. The complexity of the procurement will determine the amount of detail required in the narrative report.

C. After receipt of the technical evaluation report, the appropriate Contracting Officer determines which offerors are to be contacted for negotiation. In many instances, the Contracting Officer may request the assistance of the TEC Chairman or all TEC members for negotiation of technical issues.

D. After completing negotiations, the Contracting Officer prepares a Memorandum of Negotiations for the record and, in turn, the award document in accordance with SM 404.1.8, .9, and .10. However, where changes to the technical proposal and/or approach occur in the Best and Final offers, the TEC will be requested to update its initial evaluation based on these changes.

5. Technical Evaluation Narrative. The technical evaluation report shall include the following in accordance with FAR 15.608:

E The basis for evaluation as described in the RFP.

E An analysis of the technically acceptable and unacceptable proposals, including an assessment of each offeror's ability to accomplish the technical requirements.

E A summary, matrix, or quantitative ranking of each technical proposal in relation to the best rating possible.

E A summary of findings.

The report shall be concise yet relevant and complete. One (1) copy of the report shall be signed by all evaluators and submitted to the appropriate Contracting Officer. Unacceptable proposals must be discussed in detail and the unacceptable aspects emphasized specifically and concisely. The evaluation of acceptable proposals shall emphasize the strong and weak points of the offeror's proposal. If an area is "over-proposed," that should also be addressed in the evaluation. Each offeror's proposal shall be discussed separately.

The following are simple examples of evaluation factors. Contracting Officers can provide examples that will more closely match specific requirements.

A. Scientific, Engineering, or Management Approach.

(1) Understanding of Problem or Program. Does the offeror show familiarity with the detailed aspects of the program or is the offeror guessing? Has the offeror addressed in detail the program aspects of interest to the Government or does the offeror only repeat what was given in the RFP? Does the offeror indicate a depth of understanding of all program requirements?

(2) Soundness of Approach. Is the theory behind the offeror's approach sound? Has the offeror looked at alternative approaches and proposed the best one? What is the overall value to USGS of the offeror's approach?

(3) Design of the Study. Does the offeror propose to proceed in a meaningful way? Are the offeror's procedural steps logical? Is the offeror wasting a large part of the time on meaningless pursuits?

(4) Completeness. Does the offeror give sufficient information? Is the information adequate to preclude any doubt of the offeror's ability to complete the contract requirements?

B. Qualifications of the Offeror.

(1) Specific Experience. Does the offeror's proposal show specific accomplishments in the specific area required? Is the offeror abreast of the latest developments and knowledge in the area? Has the offeror produced meaningful work in the past?

(2) Personnel. Do the key personnel proposed have relevant education and experience? Is the offeror adequately staffed with the required specialists in all needed specifics? Is the theory versus work/operations balance satisfactory?

(3) Facilities. Does the offeror have adequate laboratory space and equipment? Does the offeror have unique equipment or any other features necessary to this project?

C. Organization of Technical Effort, Materials, and Equipment. Are the amount and type of man-hours or man-months proposed satisfactory? Are the material, equipment, and travel requirements appropriate?

D. Summary of Findings. A summary of all proposals which consolidates each TEC member's findings, by offeror, must be submitted to the Contracting Officer as part of the technical evaluation.

6. Technical Evaluation Rating. A sample of this form is shown in Figure 1. Prior to release of the proposals for evaluation, the Contracting Officer will approve the form the TEC Chairman plans to use and which has been tailored to the specific evaluation. One completed copy of the Technical Evaluation Worksheet shall be prepared by the evaluation team and submitted to the appropriate Contracting Officer as an attachment to the Narrative Evaluation Report.

7. Discussion of Procurement Actions with Offerors.

A. Assistance. Any assistance requested by offerors during or after preparation of proposals shall be rendered through the appropriate Contracting Officer.

B. Status. Contractual matters such as budget amounts, purchase requests, proposals, and availability of funds shall not be discussed with offerors. Offerors are aware of this policy and any question on such matters must be referred to the Contracting Officer.

C. Results of Technical Evaluation. Results of the technical evaluation shall not be divulged to anyone without the "need to know." The Contracting Officer will determine the "need to know" and will notify each offeror whose proposal is determined to be unacceptable (See FAR 15.001) and is no longer eligible for award (See FAR 15.609(c)). After award, upon their written request, unsuccessful offerors will be debriefed by the Contracting Officer and furnished the basis for the selection decision and contract award. The COR and other TEC members may be required to take part in the debriefing.

D. Basis for Award. The Contracting Officer determines the successful offeror based on information made available by the Technical Evaluation Committee as well as any additional information obtained through cost/price analysis, audit, the offeror's business management proposal, etc. Below is a sample of the basis for award as described in a sample solicitation.

The proposed price between substantially equal technical proposals shall be a major factor in the selection of a proposal for award. Between acceptable proposals with a significant difference in technical weighting, overall cost to the Government shall be considered in making a determination as to which proposal offers the greatest value to the Government, price and other factors considered.

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Last modification: 13-Feb-2013@15:14 (bt)