There is a very strong emphasis by the Government these days on ensuring that proposals and rate proposals are adequate. These are not new requirements - they've been around since the inception of the FAR in 1984. What is new about this requirement is the increased emphasis on compliance. According to DoD, adequate and well-supported proposals will
- facilitate the timely and efficient completion of the audit,
- reduce contractor effort needed to support an audit, and
- facilitate the negotiation process.
DCAA (Defense Contract Audit Agency) and DCMA (Defense Contract Management Agency) as well as procurement contracting officers will often cite Table 15-2 as an authoritative source when commenting on a proposal's inadequacy. If deficiencies are significant enough, the forward pricing proposal or forward pricing rate proposal may even be rejected as inadequate.
The new DFARS checklist for Proposal Adequacy and the proposed DFARS checklist for Forward Pricing Rate Proposal Adequacy both source Table 15-2 as the basis for most of the checklist items.
The first section of Table 15-2 is a reminder of contractor's obligation to submit rather than make available. It states:
There is a clear distinction between submitting certified cost or pricing data and merely making available books, records, and other documents without identification. The requirement for submission of certified cost or pricing data is met when all accurate certified cost or pricing data reasonably available to the offeror have been submitted, either actually or by specific identification, to the Contracting Officer or an authorized representative. As later data come into your possession, it should be submitted promptly to the Contracting Officer in a manner that clearly shows how the data relate to the offeror's price proposal. The requirement for submission of certified cost or pricing data continues up to the time of agreement on price, or an earlier date agreed upon between the parties if applicable.This is pretty straight-forward but the many defective pricing cases have been lost because contractors failed to "submit" data. It's not a defense to suggest that if the Government wanted something, all they had to do was ask.
The next section of Table 15-2 is a reminder that by submitting the proposal, the contractor is giving the Government access to its books and records.
By submitting your proposal, you grant the Contracting Officer or an authorized representative the right to examine records that formed the basis for the pricing proposal. That examination can take place at any time before award. It may include those books, records, documents, and other types of factual data (regardless of form or whether the data are specifically referenced or included in the proposal as the basis for pricing) that will permit an adequate evaluation of the proposed price.Companies that cannot abide by the access to records requirement should probably not be bidding on Government contracts that require the submission of cost or pricing data.
Tomorrow we will look at the information required to be included on the first page of the proposal.