Source Selection

Proposal Evaluation is an evaluation of both the proposal and the offeror’s ability, as conveyed by the proposal, to successfully accomplish the prospective contract. An evaluation of competitive proposals must be made solely on the factors specified in the solicitation.

We need to insure impartial and comprehensive evaluation of offers’ proposals; and insure selection of the source whose proposal has the highest degree of realism and whose performance will best meet the University’s needs.

Definitions:

·         Clarification – any communication with an offeror to resolve minor irregularities, informalities, or apparent clerical mistakes in a proposal.

·         Deficiency – any part of a proposal that fails to satisfy the University’s requirements.

·         Discussion – oral or written communications held with an offeror that involves information essential for determining the acceptability of a proposal or that provide an offeror the opportunity to revise or modify its proposal.

·         Evaluator – any personnel responsible for performing a technical assessment of proposals. The term also applies to members of source evaluation boards.

·         Offeror – any potential contractor submitting an offer, proposal, or quotation for goods or services.

·         Proposal – includes quotation or offer.

Communications – to insure impartiality of the source selection process, all communications between offerors and the University must be controlled by and coordinated through the Purchasing Department during all phases of the procurement process. Avoid any appearance of impropriety. Any communication, written or oral, between offerors and the University technical personnel during the procurement process without prior approval of Purchasing, may jeopardize the procurement.

In the event that the University receives proposals that clearly demonstrate an understanding of the requirements and represent fair & reasonable prices, the University may award contracts without discussions.

Use of non-University personnel such as consultants, affiliates, or contract-labor personnel is discouraged unless their use is crucial to the evaluation process and has been reviewed and approved by the Purchasing Manager. Offerors must be notified within the solicitation of the participation of non-University personnel on the source evaluation board.

 

If a technical evaluation is necessary beyond insuring that the proposal meets the minimum requirements of the solicitation, technical proposals should be assessed independently of cost or pricing proposals by the evaluators. Cost proposals should not be released to the evaluators until the buyer has obtained an acceptable evaluation of the technical proposals.

The technical evaluation must include the following information:

·         The evaluation criteria and their assigned weights specified in the solicitation.

·         An analysis of the technically acceptable and unacceptable proposals, including an assessment of each offeror’s ability to accomplish the technical requirements. Each assessment must include the strengths and weaknesses of each proposal and a list of clarification and/or deficiency questions that should be asked the offeror if discussions are held.

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

·         A summary of the findings.

Depending on the complexity and magnitude of a procurement, a source-evaluation board (typically composed of three to five members) may be convened to reevaluate proposals. If used, the members of the board must be identified before the solicitation is issued and each member must complete conflict of interest and confidentiality disclosures before the evaluation process commences if the Director of Purchasing deems it a requirement.

Responsibilities of Evaluators – the source evaluation board is responsible for the following:

·         Protecting all proposal information and evaluation reports as confidential.

·         Independently and objectively assessing the merits and weaknesses of each proposal against the stated evaluation factors.

·         Adequately documenting the evaluation process.

The source evaluation board should provide, at a minimum, the following documentation:

·         A description of the basis of the evaluation. The evaluation should always be based on the evaluation factors stated in the solicitation.

·         A written analysis of each proposal’s strengths and weaknesses and an assessment of each offeror’s ability to accomplish the technical requirements.

·         A quantitative ranking of each technical proposal in relation to the best rating possible. A matrix should be developed by the board that shows the numerical scoring of each member’s evaluation and the board’s aggregate scoring.

·         A list of clarification and discussion questions that should be posed to each offeror.

A competitive range determination must be made before written or oral discussions can be held with any offerors. The competitive range will be determined on the basis of the evaluation factors specified in the solicitation, including the proposed costs, and shall include all offers that have a reasonable chance of being selected for award. When there is doubt about whether an offer is in the competitive range, the offer should be included.

When appropriate, best and final offers are requested from offerors in the competitive range. The request must include notification that discussions have concluded and a reasonable due date for submission of best and final offers. Unless authorized by the Purchasing Director, only one request for best and final offers shall be issued.

Upon written request, unsuccessful offerors will be debriefed as soon as possible after award and furnished the basis for selection decision and contract award. Debriefing information will include the evaluation of the significant strengths and weaknesses of the offeror’s proposal; however, point-by-point comparisons with other offerors’ proposals must not be made. A written summary of the debriefing must be including in the contract file.

For technically evaluating an offerors proposal, panel members should:

·         Read each criterion and their relative weights before evaluating offerors. This will help to focus on the significant maters which offerors should address in their technical proposals.

·         Indicate in a narrative fashion the offeror’s strengths and weaknesses under every criterion. Stress the strengths and weaknesses for unsuccessful offerors as well as the winning offeror.

·         Indicate the page and paragraph number of the offeror’s proposal when writing the narrative.

·         Indicate by signing the score sheet that all attachments, exhibits and samples of work have been reviewed.

·         Be as objective as possible.

·         When writing offeror strengths and weaknesses do not use qualifying statements (e.g., “it appears that the offeror understands the scope of work”). State in as specific terms as possible the strengths and weaknesses. Remember the narratives form the basis for later debriefing.

·         Do not compare proposals. Proposals are to be evaluated individually against the evaluation criteria.

·         Do not collaborate with other panel members when reviewing an individual proposal.

·         After individual panel scores are completed, the entire panel should meet to discuss all individual narratives to arrive at an average score for each offeror.

·         Offerors will then fall into one of three categories:  Technically Acceptable, Technically Unacceptable and Capable of Being Made Acceptable. Remember, do not use cut off scores. The determination will be made solely on the basis of discussions of the individual proposal strengths and weaknesses.

Technically Acceptable – Indicates that given the information in its proposal the offeror can be involved in meaningful technical discussions with the University. Any technical questions (deficiencies, ambiguities) are to written up by the panel in the Chairman’s summary and will be addressed to the offeror before negotiations. Generally speaking, such technical deficiencies are not major in nature.

Capable of Being Made Acceptable – Indicates that not enough information was presented or was presented in such a fashion so as to leave doubt in the minds of the panel members as to whether or not the offeror is acceptable or unacceptable technically. At this point, the panel is to immediately draft clarification questions and give them to the Purchasing Director. Clarification questions are used to clear up ambiguities in the technical proposal, to verify that contactor personnel are conversant with the contents of the technical proposal and fully understand the University requirement, assure the accuracy and veracity of facts in the technical proposal.

Clarification questions are to to be used as a vehicle for offerors to submit NEW INFORMATION and in effect rewrite the proposal. The Purchasing Director will transmit these questions to the offeror(s). The Offeror(s) will be given time to respond and the answer will be given to the panel that is then in a position to determine offeror(s) either technically acceptable or unacceptable.  This may necessitate rescoring based on the clarification.

Technically Unacceptable – Indicates that the offer “Missed the Mark”, i.e., it would take a proposal rewrite, which we will not allow to occur, or the offeror merely repeated the RFP, and/or technically the offeror’s deficiencies are too major to correct during negotiations.