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SNATSMC

Requirement to Notify Contractor if its Sole Source

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I work for a contractor and we received a solicitation from our Government Customer. We're the incumbent contractor and we're trying to determine if the solicitation is competitive or sole source. I've read FAR Subpart 6.3 Other Than Full and Open Competition to see if there's a requirement by the Government to notify the contractor within the RFP, but this section explains the procedure the Contracting Officer needs to take in order to award a Sole Source contract.

Is there an acquisition requirement that for Government Contracting Officers need to mention in the RFP if its competitive or sole source? Thanks.

Thanks

SNATSMC

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Not that I'm aware of. Question: Why would you want to know? What difference does it make?

I would hope that the desire for this information isn't because the amount of your proposal would be different based on whether the acquisition is competitive or not, so if not... why would your company want to know?

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Of course our goal is to be fully compliant, but if the opportunity is competitive then it requires us to spend more in order to move the evaluation from a Green to a Blue (Green = Compliant / Blue = Superior).

Due to budget crunches with the Government, we need to do the same and so knowing this kind of information helps.

Sincerely,

SNATSMC

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If the RFP is using "Standard Form (SF) 33 Solicitation, Offer and Award" see block # 22 and if one of the blocks is checked that would be an indicator that it is sole source. You could also do a search in FBO using the solicitation number and see what the synopsis indicates.

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Was the contract you currently hold awarded to your firm after a competition?

If it was, chances are very high that the new contract will be competed.

If the solicitation contains Sections L and M (or their equivalents) describing proposal requirements and setting out evaluation criteria, there is a clear implication of competition.

Rather than infer an answer, why not ask the contracting officer, or get someone else to ask him or her, via phone or e-mail?

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I would hope that the desire for this information isn't because the amount of your proposal would be different based on whether the acquisition is competitive or not, so if not ...

It seems likely to me that a price for the exact same item would be higher in a sole-source situation than in a competitive situation.

Enterprises work hard, invest, in order to differentiate themselves.

That investment ought to have a return, an ROI, no ?

When is a "sole source acquisition" due to unique qualifications ever appropriate ?

Seems to me - rarely.

I concede the exception for Unsolicited Proposals, but why would anyone sole source an engine to GE ?

Whatever for ?

Let others try and compete.

Let Contractors decide if they can compete economically, not a government contracting bureaucrat.

Let Contractors decide if they want the business so bad that they will do whatever it takes to compete on delivery.

Why does any contracting official ever choose to proceed that way ?

I'd guess that the reasons would be unrelated to getting the best value.

So, if a CO decides to go sole source, its because they expect, golly, they WANT to pay a higher price.

.........

maybe there is some other good business reason for doing a sole source for unique qualifications.

I can't think of any.

I'm not talking about 6.302-2 thru 6.302-7,

just 6.302-1(a) (2) (ii) and (iii)

These authorities to sole source are based on either avoiding:

Substantial duplication of cost to the Government that is not expected to be recovered through competition; or

Unacceptable delays in fulfilling the agency’s requirements.

Can't a well-written solicitation take care of that ?

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You're exactly right Brian. If a company has experience, qualifications, expertise, tools, etc., that might make them unique or close to it, COs should test that in a competitive environment. The chief resistence seems to come from program offices who don't want to take the time and effort to evaluate multiple proposals when they see only one source as the winner.

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Guest Vern Edwards

formerfed:

I don't understand your statement. Are you suggesting that it is never legitimate to base a sole source justification on a firm's experience, qualifications, expertise, tools, etc.?

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brian,

When an agency decides to pursue a sole source acquisition, they still must give others a chance to compete. See FAR 5.207( c )(16)(ii).

Not sure if you meant it, but your post is one of the better examples of free verse that I've seen in this forum. Someone with some musical talent could make a decent folk song from your post.

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Vern,

No. There are obviously valid reasons for sole source. Also agencies shouldn't be wasting industry's time and money going competitive when a sole source case is obvious.

But going back to the original post, there's an incumbent contractor who isn't sure whether the procurement is sole source or competitive. In those instances, doing a competition validates the best source was considered and provides incentive to offer a favorable price.

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Guest Vern Edwards

The person who made the original post is simply clueless about the rules. The question should have been answered in the first response, and the thread should have ended there.

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brian,

When an agency decides to pursue a sole source acquisition, they still must give others a chance to compete. See FAR 5.207( c )(16)(ii).

Not sure if you meant it, but your post is one of the better examples of free verse that I've seen in this forum. Someone with some musical talent could make a decent folk song from your post.

of course, Don, you mean 5.207 (c )(15)(ii)

which only applies to 6.302-1, Only one responsible source and no other supplies or services will satisfy agency requirements.

So, going sole source under 6.302-1(a) (2) (ii) for supplies, or 6.302-1(a) (2) (iii) for services, a statement is included that says that all responsible sources may submit a capability statement, proposal, or quotation, which shall be considered by the agency.

The poet in me says that is not really giving others "a chance to compete," not when the solicitation will permit an outsider to submit a proposal, but the requiring activity has already determined that you outsiders cannot possibly be competitive (your supplies or services will not satisfy agency requirements.)

My perception, at all levels, from janitorial services to major weapons systems, many contracting officials and their clients don't really like opening things up to competition. They have trained "their" incumbent and want to stay in their comfort zone. That's understandable. But I think its improper.

.

I apologize to anyone trying to read that post of mine around 10:30 last night, my time. It took me at least a dozen edits before I could get it even halfway understandable.

And that's before I started making the ends of the lines rhyme.

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CO's are given greast latitude thru FAR 15 source selection procedures to winnow a too-big field of offers.

FAR 9 Responsibility determinations afford great discretion.

So I don't see why allowing me to bid on the next-generation stealth aerial tanker would be a problem. My biggest job ever was under $ 6 M, IIRC. No way I could pull it off. I, and bidders like me, could be eliminated quickly without delaying the process.

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brian,

You must be looking at an old FAR.

There is no FAR 5.207( c )(15)(ii).

Not on the FARSite,

Not on the Acquisition Central site.

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brian,

You must be looking at an old FAR.

story of my life. Sorry.

I looked at the Hill AFB Farsite, and its just as you said.

This is where I found the old version: http://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart%205_2.html

I'll bet my computer is somehow pulling up an old cached version, because it still says:

"5.207 Preparation and transmittal of synopses.

(a) Content. Each synopsis transmitted to the GPE must address the following data elements, as applicable:

(b ) Transmittal. Transmissions to the GPE must be in accordance with the interface description available via the Internet at http://www.fedbizopps.gov.

(c ) General format for “Description.” Prepare a clear and concise description of the supplies or services that is not unnecessarily restrictive of competition and will allow a prospective offeror to make an informed business judgment as to whether a copy of the solicitation should be requested including the following, as appropriate:

(1) National Stock Number (NSN) if assigned.

(14) In the case of noncompetitive contract actions (including those that do not exceed the simplified acquisition threshold), identify the intended source and insert a statement of the reason justifying the lack of competition.

(15)

(i) Except when using the sole source authority at 6.302-1, insert a statement that all responsible sources may submit a bid, proposal, or quotation which shall be considered by the agency.

(ii) When using the sole source authority at 6.302-1, insert a statement that all responsible sources may submit a capability statement, proposal, or quotation, which shall be considered by the agency.

(16) If solicitations synopsized through the GPE will not be made available through the GPE, provide information on how to obtain the solicitation.

… "

Edited by brian

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brian,

... your post is one of the better examples of free verse that I've seen in this forum. ...

I just figured out what you are referring to.

I use a lot of white space and carriage returns in my writing.

Back when I was your age, and typed stuff on a "typewriter," I was concerned with the efficient use of typing paper.

I tried to get as much info onto a page as I could. Text was quite dense.

But today, I hardly ever type on paper.

Now almost all I type onto is a computer monitor.

All that white space doesn't cost me a nickel more.

Plus, I and some of the people I write for are visually impaired.

This style, which I call "low-cost electrons," makes for much easier reading for old fogies.

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story of my life. Sorry.

I looked at the Hill AFB Farsite, and its just as you said.

This is where I found the old version: http://www.acquisition.gov/far/html/Subpart%205_2.html

I'll bet my computer is somehow pulling up an old cached version, because it still says:

BRIAN-

On May 31, 2011, FAC 2005-52 added the new FAR 5.207( c)(11), thus changing (15) to (16).

In the link you provided, you're just missing "current/" between "far/" and "html/"

I can't quite figure out how you came to that URL.

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thnx.

I couldn't figure it out on my own.

I just tried the fix, inserting "current," and it works.

Brian

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