Socioeconomics of Government Contracting
On a general scale, the federal request for solicitation (RFS) has the minimum requirements that outline this kind of a document. It is composed of three major parts. The first part is a statement of the requirement for solicitation. It outlines the type of service that the department for homeland security requires, which in this case is the installation of the Evergreen software and training of staff to operate the software. In this part, it specifies that the DHS is soliciting a contract and offering it to companies that have already had experience with this new research software. Furthermore, the respondents will be required to have the capacity to train DHS staff on the maintenance and operation of the new system.
The second part outlines the services expected of the respondent to this solicitation. These services include aiding the DHS in rolling out a new platform of digital record keeping, making recommendations to the DHS in means to secure the new system, which is through firewalls and appropriate hardware. Finally, it also specifies that the respondent should offer a quotation for training personnel to use this new research system through system administration training. This last task, they will be required to do themselves.
The third and final part of this RFP fully outlines the minimum requirement of the response to it. Some of the required information in the response include: the scope of work and cost estimations where the service provider is required to outline, clearly, what they intend to do to install this system and train personnel as well as how much it should cost. They are also required to offer information on the firms experience as regards this type of contract, and finally references whom the DHS can contact to ensure the accuracy of the information provided elsewhere within the response to the RFP. This part also includes a note indicating that the proposal will be considered on a qualitative basis, that is in terms of the quality of services offered and how much experience the company may have. As such, the contract will be awarded on merit.
The government uses the standard form 33 for solicitation and award. This is a bilateral signature document that is used to solicit orders as well as to award contracts. The bidder is expected to sign the document before it submission to the federal government which, upon accepting the bid will sign the form and a contract that binds both parties is established. It is used for contracts valued upwards of 100, 000 USD. The form is much more detailed than the above proposal, but on a general regard, the RFP meets all the required standards suggested by the standard form (SF33). It outlines all the details that the bidder is required to fill in the sf33.
When a contract is offered on the basis of an advertised solicitation, various bidders will come forward and try to win the contract. They will do this by offering more services at a lesser charge, and given the number that is likely to apply for tender in response to a solicitation, they are most likely to be cautious on overstating in terms of pricing. The RFP specifies that the bidder has to outline a cost breakdown for all the services that they intend to offer and as such, the contract solicitor, in this case the DHS will be able to choose the best bidder that suits both their cost and quality demands. However, this must be done carefully, as a tradeoff must be struck when considering minimum costs. A company offering a cheap service is likely to deliver shoddy work or work that does not meet the quality standards of the DHS. As such, the security factor they have outlined in the RFP will become null and they may end up spending more to rectify the problem than they will installing the system and training personnel to use the system. The tradeoff must be struck, where the DHS should be willing to spend a certain predefined sum so that the quality of the work delivered will not fall below the desirable standard. All in all, it will enable them to obtain the best offer in the market.
If the large company feels that the contract was wrongly awarded, they should file the protest within ten working days of establishing the cause for protest, which is the discovery that the contract award may have been based. They are only allowed to extend that time only if they can produce evidence of a good reason to delay the same. Only if a protest is filed within the duration, unless otherwise as stated above, can the contracting officer take the appropriate action geared at resolving the conflict, after consulting with the assistant general counsel (AGC). It is worth noting that if the protest is made in regard to only the contracting activity, the contract shall not be awarded until the conflict is brought to a resolution. When the contracting officer takes up the matter, he is required to give a written notice to the protestor, unless the protest has been made over the awarding process after the contract has been awarded to the small company.
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