Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Post-Award Debriefings - Better Hurry

You got the letter, or phone call, telling you that the bid you submitted didn't make it. The contract was awarded to someone else. This notification usually invokes a range of emotions, but at the core, you wonder what your competitor had that you didn't.

You don't need to sit and wonder. The Government is required by regulation (see FAR 15.506) to debrief and furnish the basis for the selection decision to any offeror that requests a debriefing - as long as that request is received within three days of receiving notification.

The debriefing serves to assure offerors that the Government properly evaluated their proposals and made the award determination in accordance with the RFP terms and conditions. The debriefing also provides feedback to offerors to assist in improving future proposal submissions. The Government hopes that, effective debriefings will deter a protest by demonstrating that the Government conducted a thorough, fair evaluation and made a sound decision according to the established source selection methodology.

During a debrief, offerors can expect to see a comparison of their ratings at the factor level (or sub-factor level) with the winning offeror and, at the discretion of the contracting officer, all offerors, both winning and losing. This comparison should also be accompanied with the rationale for award. What you will not receive in a debrief is a discussion on the validity of requirements, validity and integrity of evaluation process, and prohibited information including any information that might be considered proprietary to other offerors.

Other information typically disseminated at a debrief include:

  • The Government's evaluation of the significant weaknesses or deficiencies in the offeror's proposal.
  • The overall evaluated cost or price and technical ratings.
  • The overall ranking of all offerors.
  • A summary of the rationale for award.
  • Responses to relevant questions about whether source selection procedures contained in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed.

Some offerors don't bother with the debrief opportunity. We believe that is a mistake. Tomorrow we'll explain and offer some questions you might consider asking during the debrief process.

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