Monday, July 23, 2018

Government Procurement Satisfaction Surveys

The FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) Council is considering an addition to FAR to establish a survey to solicit voluntary feedback from companies who bid on Government contracts. They are seeking public input on the potential benefits and burdens of voluntary feedback surveys. There shouldn't be any burdens really. When we're asked to respond to a survey, we always answer 'no' or delete the email. That's not much of a burden. The real question concerns the benefits that can be derived from surveys and whether the Government is willing to, or is permitted to, take action or make changes to the procurement system based on survey results. A related question is whether the Government should make changes based on survey results. Voluntary survey results are not statistically valid, are they? We suspect companies that have issues with the procurement process are over-represented in the universe of participants.

In any event, the FAR Councils believe that establishing a standardized process for obtaining voluntary feedback following a contract award will provide more meaningful insight on ways to strengthen the contracting process than can be derived by relying on ad hoc or periodic agency satisfaction surveys. Voluntary participation would not bestow respondents any direct benefits or protections in the acquisition process or any subsequent protests. There are other mechanisms and protections for appeals.

The draft survey is available at this site for a time. We don't know how long the page will be active. The survey is divided into three sections; the requirements development process, the solicitation phase and the award execution and debriefings stage. Responses are on a scale of 1 to 5 ranging from extremely satisfied to extremely dissatisfied. There are also selections for 'not applicable' and 'no answer'. Survey questions include:

Requirements Development Process - How satisfied were you

  • with the agency's vendor engagement methods (e.g. FRIs, draft RFP, pre-award conferences) in fostering early communication and exchange before receipt of proposals?
  • That the exchange offered by any industry day(s) offered valuable information that improved your understanding of the agency's requirements?
  • With the agency's understanding of your firm's marketplace?
  • With the clarity of the final requirements?

Solicitation phase - How satisfied were you

  • That the agency kept vendors informed about any delays in the solicitation process (considering both the initial release and any subsequent delays)?
  • That the solicitation included clear proposal submission instructions that sufficiently guided offerors or respondents in preparing proposals or responses to requests for information?
  • That the government chose an appropriate contract type?
  • That the government chose an appropriate source selection methodology?
  • That the agency answered questions regarding the solicitation is such a way that it helped you to prepare the proposal?
  • With the opportunity to propose unique and innovative solutions (i.e., the solicitation promoted innovation)?
  • With the clarity of the solicitation's evaluation criteria?
  • With the amount of time the agency gave to submit a proposal?
  • That the solicitation's evaluation criteria allowed for the best selection among competing proposals?

Award Execution and Debriefings - How satisfied were you

  • with the agency's resolution of issues/concerns related to the contracting process?
  • with the robustness of the agency's debriefing (i.e., it allowed you to understand how to improve on similar efforts in the future)?

The survey also asks the respondents for an assessment of their overall experience on this acquisition.

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