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AlwaysLearning

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  1. Recent policy emphasizes the desire to conduct discussions during the source selection process (DFARS 215.300 Scope of subpart. Contracting officers shall follow the principles and procedures in Director, Defense Procurement and Acquisition Policy memorandum dated March 4, 2011, Department of Defense Source Selection Procedures, when conducting negotiated, competitive acquisitions utilizing FAR part 15 procedures.) The DoD Source Selection Procedures, Chapter 3, paragraph 3.3.1 states in part "The SSA may choose, in rare circumstances, to award a contract on the basis of the initial proposals received without conducting discussions..." FAR 15.306 addresses exchanges with offerors after receipt of proposals, DFARS 215.306 indicates for procurements over $100M the KO should conduct discussions. NMCARS provides no amplifying information on discussions. Current policy is based on the assumption that through discussions, the Government will receive more efficient competition and better pricing. In most circumstances I would agree, however…. Consider a large (over $500M) Cost Reimbursable, Multiple Award IDIQ contract, where cost is established utilizing a cost model. The model provides a set number of hours per labor category, fixed subcontract amount, fixed ODC amount etc…the offeror need only provide ceiling labor and indirect rates (and the basis of the establishment of these rates). The cost analysis/realism consists of validation of the rates used in the model and realism adjustments where needed. The labor and indirect rates are the cost drivers for the contract, typically substantiated by FPRA’s or audits etc. Capped rates have been mandated to reduce risk to the Government. In the event evaluations clearly established no weakness/deficiency with the requisite number of low cost proposers, why would the Gov’t have discussions? Discussions should be meaningful - if there is nothing to discuss, why go through a competitive range determination and open up potential pre award protest issues? I understand we all have to drink a little policy kool-aide – but we also need to be mindful of our taxpayer dollars and limited resources! Upper management is not inclined to move ahead without discussions, no matter the argument. I’d appreciate any comments!
  2. I've read some previous discussions regarding the background of TINA and Certified Cost and Pricing Data but I'm not sure my question has been answered. It appears I'm approaching the 'gray area'! The scenario - Under single award IDIQ A/E contract, when issuing task orders valued over $650k, is a certificate of current cost and pricing data required? Since the basis of a task order is generally agreement to a number of hours, as the labor rates have been negotiated for the basic contract and a certificate was obtained prior to negotiating, I would tend to think no new certification is needed. However, if additional items are necessary for the task order, (increase to ODC's or new labor categories) it could be argued that a certificate is required if the threshold is met. I've read FAR 15.403-4 Requiring Cost and Pricing Data which applies to any negotiated "contract", "subcontract" or "modification". While we tend to think of a 'task order' as a mini contract, by definition a task order (FAR 2.101) is "an order for services placed against an established CONTRACT or with Government sources". So - is this the gray area I think it is? Would a task order based on established, negotiated labor rates not be subject to a certificate, while an order containing items 'other than the negotiated rates' qualify for a new certificate if it meets the threshold?
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