Source Selection Training - SOURCE SELECTION by Levone

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     Source Selection References /
• Far 15.3
• Army Source Selection Manual dated Feb 2007
• Local templates

                BEST VALUE
• Lowest Price / Technically Acceptable process - is
  appropriate when Best Value is expected to result from
  selection of the technically acceptable proposal with the
  lowest evaluated price
• Evaluation factors and significant subfactors that establish the
  requirements of acceptability shall be included within the
• Solicitations shall state that award will be made on the basis
  of the lowest evaluated price of proposals meeting or
  exceeding the acceptability standards for non-costs factors.

                          BEST VALUE
Tradeoff Process - is appropriate when it may be in the best interest
of the Government to consider award to other than the lowest priced
offeror or other than the highest technically rated offeror

All evaluation factors and significant subfactors that will affect
contract award and their relative importance shall be clearly stated in
the Solicitation

The Solicitation shall state whether all evaluation factors other than
cost or price, when combined, are significantly more important than,
approximately equal to, or significantly less important than cost or

This process permits Tradeoffs among cost or price and non-cost
factors and allows the Government to accept other than the lowest
price proposal.

Procurement Integrity Act (FAR 3.104)
• Source selection is subject to the Procurement Integrity Act.
• Prohibitions:
      Disclosure of contractor or source selection
      information by the Government.
      Obtaining of contractor proposal or source selection
      information by others
      Discussion of employment offers from any potential
      Prohibitions on accepting compensation
• When in doubt, contact Counsel.

    What is source selection information?

•   Number and identity of offerors
•   Source selection evaluation plan
•   Evaluation worksheets and reports
•   Rankings
•   Proposed prices, analyses or evaluations

      Contracting Officer Responsibilities
                Regarding SSI

• Maintain security of all information.
• Remind board members NOT to discuss evaluations
  outside the board.
• Mark all evaluation papers in accordance with FAR
• Only the contracting officer can release SSI.
• PIA violations carry civil and criminal penalties.

            Source Selection Plan
Required for all acquisitions >$1.0M that use FAR 15.3
  source selection procedures.
The Source Selection Plan (SSP) is a required and vital
planning document that identifies the goals of the acquisition
   and describes how to evaluate proposals and select the
   winning offeror(s).
Exception – When using the simplified acquisition
  procedures (SAP) of FAR 13 and as authorized by the
  test program (FAR 13.5), a formal SSP is not required.

                Definitions of Risk

Proposal Risk – Risks associated with the likelihood that
  offeror’s proposed approach will meet solicitation
Performance Risk – Risks associated with an offeror’s
  likelihood of success as indicated by the record of
  current or past performance.

                Host Nation First
• Emphasizes awarding $ to Iraqi firms.
• Not a preference-based or set-aside program.
• Assists economic development of country.
• Socioeconomic factor must be part of trade-off.
• Establish as evaluation factor.
• Socioeconomic factor must be no lower than any other
  non-cost factor.
• Socioeconomic factor should be rated equal to cost.
• See HN First Program policy dated 19 Oct 06 for
  suggested evaluation language.

Evaluation Factors, Evaluation Ratings, & Basis for

   Evaluation Factors and significant Subfactors must -
         Represent the key areas of importance and emphasis to be
         considered in the Source Selection decision
         Support meaningful comparison and discrimination
         between proposals
   All factors and significant Subfactors that will affect contract
   award and their relative importance shall be stated clearly in the
   The Solicitation shall state, at a minimum, whether all evaluation
   factors other than cost or price, when combined, are-
        Significantly more important than cost or price;
        Approximately equal to cost or price; or
        Significantly less important than cost or price.
       Requests for Proposals – RFP
The format of the RFP will vary depending upon whether you are
buying commercial items subject to FAR Part 12 or other
supplies/services. (Always issue as RFP when > $1 million.)

Most other acquisitions use the Uniform Contract Format described
at FAR Part 15.

Construction may follow the Construction Specification Institution
(CSI) Format. Also see FAR Part 36.

RFP’s shall, at a minimum describe the –
     Government’s requirements
     All applicable Terms and Conditions
     Documentation and information required to be in the Offeror’s
     proposal, and;
     Factors and significant Subfactors that will be used to evaluate
     the proposals and their relative importance.

        Requests for Proposals – RFP
Potential Problem Areas
       Inconsistencies between the RFP and other documents -
       It is important that there be consistency between the SSP
       and the RFP
       Inconsistencies within the RFP
      Requesting too much Information from the Offerors -
  Request only the essential information needed to evaluate
  proposals against the evaluation factors and sub factors.
  Never ask for information you do not intend to evaluate
       Placement of information in the incorrect sections of the

      Requests for Proposals – RFP

SECTION L (Instructions, Conditions, and Notices to Offerors)
Include specific information and instructions to assist and guide
Offerors in the preparation of their proposals.

SECTION M (Evaluation Factors for Award)
Identify all significant factors and any significant subfactors that will
be considered in awarding the contract and their relative importance
(use the evaluation factors and subfactors from the SSP in Section M
of the RFP).

Evaluation Factors, Evaluation Ratings, &
            Basis for Award


 Price or cost shall be evaluated in every Source Selection

 Past Performance shall be evaluated in all Source Selections for
 negotiated competitive acquisitions expected to exceed $1,000,000.00

      Past Performance need not be evaluated IF the Contracting
      Officer documents the reason Past Performance is not an
      appropriate evaluation factor for the Acquisition

      The general approach for evaluating Past Performance shall be

Evaluation Factors, Evaluation Ratings, &
            Basis for Award
 Evaluate non-cost factors and proposal risks using adjectival ratings.
 Adjectival ratings must be included in the SSP (and should be included
 in the Solicitation), and can consist of words, colors, or other indicators,
 with the exception of numbers.
 Adjectival ratings must include definitions for each rating so that the
 evaluators have a common understanding of how to apply them.
 Numerical weightings (i.e., assigning points or percentages to
 evaluation factors and subfactors) is not an authorized method and is
 prohibited in evaluating proposals in the Army.
 The Solicitation should clearly state that each Factor, significant
 Subfactor, and overall Proposal will be assigned an adjectival rating.

Evaluation Factors, Evaluation Ratings,
           Basis for Award


To be included in Section M of the Solicitation

The Solicitation must clearly state the Basis of Award

                 Evaluation Process
Source Selection Evaluation Board (SSEB), also referred to as the Technical
Evaluation Board (TEB)

      The KO should always provide the SSEB or TEB with an Orientation prior
      to the commencement of Proposal Evaluation

The Contracting Officer should provide an SSEB Orientation to all members to
include a comprehensive overview of their duties and responsibilities and a
thorough discussion of the:

      Evaluation Factors
      Evaluation Ratings
      Relative importance of the Factors
      Strengths, Weaknesses, and Deficiencies
      All other important aspects of the Source Selection process

                        Evaluation Process
•   Individual Evaluations
•   SSEB Consensus (KO to serve as facilitator)
•   Drafting of the SSEB Report (responsibility of the SSEB Chairman)
•   Approval of the SSEB Report shall rest with the KO

     Evaluation process with Discussions
•   Competitive Range Determination
•   Discussion Letters (sent to all firms included in the Competitive Range)
•   SSEB “Reconvene”
      Evaluate responses to Discussion questions
      Draft the Final SSEB Report (responsibility of the SSEB Chairman)
•   Source Selection Decision
•   Contract Award(s)

                Basic Guidelines
• Evaluators individually evaluate proposals.
• Complete documentation is critical to success. This
  consists of –
      Significant weaknesses

              Important Definitions
• A strength is any aspect of the proposal that decreases
  risk of performance and represents a significant benefit
  to the Government.
• A weakness is a minor flaw.
• A significant weakness is a major flaw.
• A deficiency is a failure to meet a material requirement of
  the RFP.
      * May be omission of required information
      * May be an addition inconsistent with RFP.
Deficiency renders the proposal unawardable without

           Examples of Deficiencies
• A statement or suggestion by the offeror that will not
  meet the requirement.
• Providing an approach that does not meet the
  Government’s minimum requirements.
• Omission of information essential and required for

      Deficiencies – Other Definitions
• Material deficiency – affects price, quality, quantity, and
  delivery or performance.
• Immaterial deficiency – effect on any of the above is
• Minor informality – matter of form, not substance.

      What is a technical evaluation?

• It is the process of determining relative merits of
  proposals based solely on evaluation factors in the RFP.
• Evaluation factors are contained in the SSEP and the
• Evaluate exactly what we say will be evaluated in
  Section L.
• Evaluate exactly how we present in Section M.
• Always use up-to-date copy of RFP for reference.

     Documentation by the board is the
          most critical function.
•   Every proposal must be examined in detail.
•   How well does the proposal satisfy EACH factor?
•   List all the strengths and significant weaknesses.
•   Be detailed; make cross references.
•   Avoid generalities.
•   Document concerns and apparent mistakes.
•   List questions for offerors if discussions are held.

             Individual Evaluations
Each Rating for all Factors and significant Subfactors MUST be
supported by written narratives that clearly support each strength,
weakness, and deficiency

Narratives from each individual Evaluator MUST specify the exact
section, tab, page, and paragraph for each weakness and/or
deficiency cited

In addition to written narratives, each weakness and deficiency must
also include a Discussion Question/Issue to submit to an Offeror
included within the Competitive Range

             General Guidelines

• Compliance – strictly enforce any limitations or
  restrictions in the RFP.
• Experience – evaluate what was done and how it relates
  to the RFP.
• Past Performance – evaluate how well it was done.

        Evaluating Past Performance

•   Based on recent, relevant contracts.
•   The RFP must define “recent” and “relevant”.
•   Do not rely only upon offerors’ statements.
•   Check references.
•   Use official performance ratings if available.
•   Offeror may provide copies of quality awards.
•   Recommend provide copy of questionnaire with RFP.
•   Reference contacts remain confidential.
•   Should take into account subcontractors and key

        Consideration of Adverse Past
          Performance Information
•   Has the offeror had an opportunity to respond?
•   Try to obtain a second perspective.
•   Consider mitigating circumstances.
•   Corrective actions taken by contractor.
•   Number and severity of problems.
•   Overall work record.

      Unknown Past Performance
• No relevant experience.
• Remember that offeror may get experience
  through principals or subcontractors
• Risk – unknown
• Rating – neutral - no positive or negative.

FAR 15.305(a)(2)(iv) – In the case of an offeror without a
  record of relevant past performance or for whom past
  performance is not available, the offeror may NOT be
  evaluated favorably or unfavorably on past performance.

      Evaluation Procedures for TEB
• The SSEB must come to “CONSENSUS” to determine the Final
  Ratings for each Factor
  and overall Proposal Rating
• A “Consensus” is NOT an average of all ratings, but an
  agreement on a rating for each factor that Board Members are
  satisfied with.
• If there is a dissenting opinion, document the report.

• The Consensus findings will be used to draft the Technical
  Evaluation Report(s)
• The Initial Technical Report (along with the Price Evaluation) will
  be used (by the KO) to determine if Discussions are required
• The KO will serve as Facilitator during Consensus

               Assessment of Risk

• Risk is the impact of weaknesses and deficiencies.
• Risk must always be evaluated.
• Proposal risk is linked to weaknesses in the technical
• Performance risk is linked to the relevance and quality of
  the offeror’s performance on recent contracts.

 Sample Past Performance Adjectival Rating
Adjectival     Description

Low Risk       Little doubt exists, based on the Offeror’s performance
               record, that the Offeror can perform to the proposed
Moderate Risk Some doubt exists, based on the Offeror’s
              performance record, that the Offeror can perform to the
              proposed effort.
High Risk      Significant doubt exists, based on the Offeror’s
               performance record, that the Offeror can perform to the
               proposed effort.
Unknown Risk Little or no relevant performance record identifiable
             equates to an unknown risk rating having no positive or
             negative evaluation signifigance

Discussions or Award Without Discussions

 Before issuing a solicitation, the Contracting Officer must decide
 whether or not to award with or without Discussions. In making this
 decision, consider whether or not you are likely to obtain the best value
 without Discussions. An award without discussions is most likely to
 result in best value when requirements are clear, commodities are
 known or stable, and the marketplace is extremely competitive.
 After receipt of proposals, there are three types of exchanges that may
 occur between the Government and offerors –
 Clarifications – are limited exchanges between the Government and the
 Offerors, that may occur when award without Discussions is
      Offerors may be given the opportunity to clarify certain aspects of
      their proposal or to resolve minor clerical errors.

Discussions or Award Without Discussions
  Communications – are exchanges between the Government and Offerors after
  receipt of proposals, leading to the establishment of the Competitive Range

  If a Competitive Range is to be established, communications –

        Shall be limited to the Offerors whose Past Performance information is the
        determining factor preventing them from being placed within the
        Competitive Range, and

        May only be held with those Offerors, whose exclusion from, or inclusion
        in, the Competitive Range is uncertain

  Discussions or Negotiations – are exchanges between the Government and
  offerors that are initiated with the intent of allowing Offerors to revise their

        Discussions only occur after the establishment of the Competitive Range

 Discussions or Award Without Discussions

• Decision must be based on an assessment of both the
  technical evaluation and price.
• Four conditions must exist for award without discussions.
      1.   Offeror’s proposal must be awardable.
      2.   Solicitation must state such. FAR 15.306(a)(3)
      3.   Price must be fair and reasonable.
      4.   No inadvertent discussions have occurred.
• Contracting officer must clearly be able to establish best
• If all conditions exist, proceed with award decision.

Discussions or Award Without Discussions
 Award with Discussions (Establishment of the Competitive Range)

 Should Discussions be conducted, the establishment of a Competitive Range
 shall occur unless ALL offerors remain competitive.

 The competitive range will consist of all of the most highly rated proposals

 The contracting officer may limit the number of proposals in the competitive

       The RFP must clearly state that the Government reserves the right to
       limit the competitive range for the purposes of efficiency.

 The primary purpose of Discussions is to maximize the Government's ability to
 get the best value, based on the requirements and evaluation factors stated in
 the solicitation

 Discussions allow the Government to get information needed to better
 understand proposals and make best value decisions.

Discussions or Award Without Discussions
   Award with Discussions (Establishment of the Competitive Range)

   Discussions are tailored to each offeror’s proposal, and must be conducted by
   the Contracting Officer with each Offeror in the Competitive Range

   At a minimum, the Contracting Officer must indicate to, or discuss with, each
   Offeror, all deficiencies, significant weaknesses and adverse Past Performance

   The Contracting Officer should also discuss other aspects of the offeror’s
   proposal that could, in the opinion of the Contracting Officer, be altered or
   explained to enhance the proposal’s potential for award

   The Contracting Officer is not required to discuss every area where the proposal
   could be improved

   If after Discussions have begun, an Offeror in the Competitive Range is no
   longer considered to be among the most highly rated offerors, that Offeror may
   be eliminated from the Competitive Range whether or not all material aspects
   have been discussed or whether or not the Offeror has been afforded an
   opportunity to submit a proposal revision.

Discussions or Award Without Discussions
 Award with Discussions (Establishment of the Competitive Range)

 After receipt of the offerors' responses to all the issues raised during
 discussions, the SSEB must re-evaluate proposals

 Each Factor and Subfactor which contained a deficiency and or significant
 weakness, must be rated again by the SSEB

 Limitations on Discussions - Government personnel shall not engage in conduct
 that –

       favors one offeror over another;
       reveals an offeror’s technical solution
       reveals an Offeror’s price
       reveals the names of individuals providing Past Performance information
       knowingly furnishes source selection information

 The SSEB Chairman is responsible for preparing the documentation (i.e., SSEB
 Technical Report) of the evaluation for presentation to the SSA. This will not
 include a selection recommendation.
    Final Proposal Revisions - Summary

• The board evaluates proposal revisions.
• The board documents revisions and ratings in a final
• The SSEB makes no recommendations or rankings.
• The source selection authority conducts the trade-off
  analysis and makes the award decision.
• The source selection decision document is prepared.
• The award notification is issued.

   Source Selection Decision & Award
The SSA must make the source selection decision using rational and
independent judgment based upon a comparative analysis of the competing

     The SSA performs this analysis by comparing the strengths, weaknesses,
     and the cost/price of the competing proposals to determine which
     proposal represents the best value to the Government

     The analysis must be consistent with the evaluation factors and process
     described in the RFP and SSP

     The SSA may not merely rely on the adjectival ratings alone

     To determine which proposal provides the best value, the SSA must
     analyze the differences between competing proposals

     This analysis must be based on the facts and circumstances of the
     specific acquisition.

   Source Selection Decision & Award

The SSA is not bound by the evaluation findings of the SSEB as
long as the SSA has a rational basis for the differing opinion

The SSA has broad discretion in making the source selection

Selection of a higher-priced offer always involves the necessity
to state in the source selection decision document the rationale
for concluding that payment of a higher price is justified. If the
superior technical proposal is not selected, it is also imperative
that the rationale for its non-selection be documented.

  Notification to Unsuccessful Offerors
Preaward Notices - exclusion from the Competitive Range

    The contracting officer shall notify offerors in writing when
    their proposals are excluded from the competitive range or
    otherwise eliminated from the competition

    The notice shall state the basis for the determination and
    that a proposal revision will not be considered

  Notification to Unsuccessful Offerors
Postaward Notices – Within three (3) days after the date of the award, the
Contracting Officer shall provide written notification to each Offeror whose
proposal was in the Competitive Range but was not selected for award

The notice shall include:
      the number of Offerors solicited;

      the number of proposals received;

      the name and address of each offeror receiving an award;

      the total contract price, items, quantities, and any stated unit
      prices of each award;
      in general terms, the reasons the offeror’s proposal was not

      never, shall an Offeror’s cost breakdown, profit, overhead rates,
      trade secrets, or other confidential information be disclosed to
      any other Offeror.

Offerors excluded from the Competitive Range or otherwise excluded from the
Competition before award, may request a debriefing before award

The Offeror may request a Preaward Debriefing by written request within three
(3) days after receipt of the notice of exclusion from the competition

At the Offeror’s request, this Debriefing may be delayed until after award, and
shall then include all information as provided in a Postaward Debriefing

Should the Offeror not submit a timely request, the offeror is not entitled to a
Preaward or Postaward Debriefing

Offerors are only entitled to one (1) Debriefing

If compelling reasons exist as determined by the Contracting Officer, a
Debriefing may be delayed. Yet, it shall be conducted no later than the time
Postaward Debriefings are provided

Debriefings may be done orally, in writing, or by any other method acceptable to
the Contracting Officer.

Pre-award Debriefings shall include:

     the agency’s evaluation of significant elements in the
     offeror’s proposal

     a summary of the rationale for eliminating the offeror from
     the competition, and

     discussions, if asked, on whether source selection
     procedures, regulations, and other applicable authorities
     were followed in the process of eliminating the Offeror
     from the competition

Preaward Debriefings shall not disclose:

    the number of Offerors;

    the identity of Offerors;

    the content of other Offerors’ proposals;

    the ranking of Offerors;

    the evaluation of Offerors; or

    any other prohibited information


    An Offeror, upon written request received by the agency
    within 3 days after the date on which that Offeror has
    received notification of contract award, shall be debriefed
    and furnished the basis for the selection decision

    The Debriefing should occur within five (5) days after
    written request

Postaward Debriefings
At a minimum, the Debriefing shall include:
      The Government’s evaluation of the significant weaknesses or
      deficiencies in the Offeror’s proposal
      The overall evaluated price and technical rating of the successful Offeror
      and Debriefed Offeror, and Past Performance information on the
      Debriefed Offeror
      The overall ranking of all Offerors (if applicable)
      A summary of the rationale for award
      Discussions, if asked, on whether source selection procedures,
      regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed in the
      process of eliminating the Offeror from the competition
      If a commercial item, the make and model of the item
      The Debriefing shall not include a point-to-point comparisons of the
      Debriefed Offerors with those of other Offerors


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