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I am a contract specialist and have been told that a new service requirement is needed. The contract vehicle will be a task order off of a MATOC, using the trade off source selection process. The dilemma that I am facing is that I have been told that we will not do a full blown source selection, but a simplified one. I haven’t been shown the difference in the two methods. I have research WIFCON and other sites, and haven’t been able to find the answer that I am looking for.

1. I am in the process of doing a Source Selection Plan SSP, and wanted to know your thoughts on doing trade off with a task order.

2. Is there really a simplified method of doing a source selection for task orders, if we are going to follow the steps for a source selection board?

3. Has anyone conducted a simplified source selection, if so, how was it different from the normal method?

I have asked these questions to my leadership and we are still figuring out how it should be formulated. I assumed that since source selection was completed on the original contract, that doing source selection for each task order would be overkill. The customer wants to ensure that the best of the best contractor is receiving the award. Of course I realize that I may be wrong. I just wanted to get some feedback from the site.

I know I have asked a lot of questions, so please be gentle or softly blunt.

Thanks

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Your leadership is very wise to advise you to perform a simplified evaluation under a multiple award contract vehicle. You will want to avoid the appearance that your acquisition is a negotiated procurement under FAR Part 15, I suggest you rename your "Source Selection Plan" by calling it an "Evaluation Plan" and review the applicable subpart in FAR Part 16. Good luck!

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'Not', please note that a task order competition under an existing MATOC is conducted pursuant to FAR 16.505. It is not a "source selection" under Part 15. Please be careful not to use the latter term anywhere in your request for task order proposals.

Also, those competing for the task order are already contract holders and would be potential "proposers", not "offerors". In developing a model RFP that has been used agency-wide for design-build task order competition, I used the term "proposers" in lieu of offerors. I agree with jlew's post, too.

You stated that The customer wants to ensure that the best of the best contractor is receiving the award. You need then to decide what evaluation factors and evaluation criteria to apply for the competition and you need to determine the relative importance of price to qualifications and any service performance considerations. Similar to a source selection, you should advise the proposers what you need to see, how it will will evaluated and the relative importance of each "factor", "subfactor within a factor, etc.

You may be able to simplify "past performance" evaluations for task orders, if there have been several task orders awarded to the various firms. You can use the original source selection evaluations and supplement them by using information to assess the recent track records of the various firms. You can also reserve the right to search for recent, government wide past performance ratings. By past performance, I am referring to recent, relevant performance - the quality of performance, not amount of recent, relevant experience, which could be a separate consideration. But you should not have to have the firms submit much, if any past performance information - especially for task orders under the instant MATOC.

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I fear that this thread is getting confusing. Retread's post and advice is most closely aligned with what Not should do, other posts prior to provide advice that is misleading in my view.

For a MATOC the ordering procedure(s) for a task order are identified in the contract. FAR and agency process has nothing to do with this process unless the contract says so.

So for Not, and the sake of this discussion, I would highly suggest that if Not wants valued opinion on how to conduct the ordering process that Not provide the exact wording from the contract for Ordering, Order Limnitations and any other term/condition of the contract that applies when an order is processed (such as those related to Market Research, agency clauses, invented CO clauses, etc.)

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Carl, I will agree with you that one needs to read the contract, first. However, it is apparent that the contract doesn't offer much help or 'not' probably wouldn't be asking for some advice.

However:

1) A task order selection is NOT a source selection;

2) The Basic policy for ordering under a MATOC would be contained in FAR 16.505 and supplements thereto as a starting point, if not already stated in the contract;

3) 'not' must determine what the objectives of the task order selection are (consistent with anything in the contract).

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Thanks to everyone for their input.

1. I do understand that task orders fall under FAR 16.505 and not FAR 15, however, my leadership told me to do a SSP and that we would be conducting a source selection board. It could also be that they want me to do an evaluation plan, but maybe that is why I am so confused. I will reengage.

2. I have been given the evaluation factors.

3. Perhaps my leadership is using the only terms that they know.

Thanks again.

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Joel - Really hate to do this but considering Not's latest response I can not help myself.

1. The contract might specify "source selection" we do not really know do we? Does not seem to matter anyway reading Not's posts as leadership seems to be determining the course and not the contract, unless of course leadership has a very good handle on what the contract says.

2. Again the heck with the FAR, the contract rules whether the agency followed the FAR or not. And if the contract is not specific to ordering, source selection or whatever anyone wants to call it then shame on the agency and the contractor(s) for entering into it and welcome to the wonderful world of claims.

3. Not seems to have found the objectives - Do what leadership says. I will not say whether this is good or bad it is just my read of why Not is proceeding as is. In the end I hope leadership is suggesting the course because it is what the contract says to do.

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C Culham/Joel,

The contract does not specify source selection, nor specific ordering instructions, other than everyone in the pool will be given fair opportunity and the max amount for each task order. I believed that most of our task orders are handled the same way, meaning they treat it as a standalone and do not refer back to the base contract for ordering instructions.

I have researched 10 of our contracts and they do not have any reference to specific ordering source selection. I don't think that I have ever seen it in a base contract. I could have overlooked it though.

I constantly go back to review the base and I was asked why am I wasting time and effort on reviewing the base.

Again, thanks for responding to me.

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Not, if your contract says that each contract holder will be given a fair opportunity to receive a task order, I suggest that you ensure that the procedures listed in 16.505 as to what constitutes a fair opportunity are followed. If not, you may be opening yourself up to a CDA claim. This is different from a protest because the claim is asserting that the agency did not comply with the terms of the contract when awarding orders.

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If multiple award and the base contracts did not provide for a uniform or simplified selection process then a SSP should be written to spell out how the selection will be made and that process provided to the contractors in the solicitation (we call it a Task Order Request for Proposal (TORP). All awardees get fair opportunity unless we have grounds for a limited competition J&A. The source selection is conducted very close to an open market selection. However, please note that most of our task orders exceed $20M and can be protested (and are most of the time). Much litigation unfortunately.

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Regardless of the FAR Part you are following, any solicitation you issue must identify the evaluation factors, criteria, or selection bases you will use to evaluate the bids, proposals or quotes. Some FAR Parts (i.e. FAR Part 15) require more detailed information about the criteria and their relative importance than others (e.g. FAR Parts 8, 13 and 16). MATOCs may identify requirements for submission of proposals and evaluation criteria, or the basis upon which the selection will be made.

In my experience, some kind of evaluation plan, or source selection plan, is prepared for every competitive procurement to assure, at a minimum, that the evaluation of contractor submissions is consistent with the criteria or factors identified in the solicitation or MATOC. Depending upon the agency and dollar value of the procurement, these plans can include much more information than a mere listing of the evaluation factors or their relative importance. They can identify roles, definitions of acceptability, and evaluation vocabularies and process methodologies.

While a “source selection plan” is not mentioned in the FAR, source selection procedures and processes are mentioned in FAR Part 7. The DFARS does mention “source selection plan” in Part 215.

1. I am in the process of doing a Source Selection Plan SSP, and wanted to know your thoughts on doing trade off with a task order.

That depends upon the complexity of the supply or service and the familiarity one has with the contractors holding the MATOC. If the services are simple and straightforward or if you have had satisfactory experiences with all MATOC holders, you could rely on a LPTA approach.

For $20 million orders, I suspect there is a degree of complexity that will require consideration of factors other than price (e.g. résumés of key personnel, staffing plan, experience, and past performance). However, recently appearing budget constraints may encourage greater use of LPTA.

2. Is there really a simplified method of doing a source selection for task orders, if we are going to follow the steps for a source selection board?

You must always provide guidance to the evaluators. Its length and complexity will depend upon agency policy and procedures, complexity of the service and / or dollar values. If you have experience with the MATOC holders, perhaps you may wish to evaluate only cost / price and past performance.

3. Has anyone conducted a simplified source selection, if so, how was it different from the normal method?

I have solicited only price, and I evaluated price and past performance. I did not solicit past performance information as I relied on the information we had gathered on the contractors' performances under earlier orders.

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