Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Recommended Posts

FAR 15.308 says, "The source selection authority's (SSA) decision shall be based on a comparative assessment of proposals against all source selection criteria. While the SSA may use reports and analyses prepared by others, the source selection decision shall represent the SSA's independent judgment . . ."

Question:

I am aware that quite often the evaluators and CO provide the SSA an evaluation report and award recommendation memo. Typically, that "memo" does NOT include the actual proposals from the offerors, not as enclosures, attachments, or otherwise. So how can the SSA actually comparatively assess the proposals if the SSA has never even seen the proposals? All the SSA sees is the evaluation report/recommendation. While FAR 15.308 does say the SSA can "use reports and analyses prepared by others," doesn't the SSA still have a duty to actually look at the actual proposals?

Link to post
Share on other sites

While FAR 15.308 does say the SSA can "use reports and analyses prepared by others," doesn't the SSA still have a duty to actually look at the actual proposals?

Do you think the SSA can use independent judgment based on the facts presented in the evaluation report?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, sometimes, depending on the facts, the SSA can still use independent judgment based on what is written in the report. But I still think the SSA must have access to the actual proposals, and that fact must be documented contemporaneously in the SSDD.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards

Of course the SSA has access to the actual proposals. Why would you think the SSA would not have "access" to the proposals?

But that's not what you asked initially. You asked; " While FAR 15.308 does say the SSA can 'use reports and analyses prepared by others,' doesn't the SSA still have a duty to actually look at the actual proposals?"

The answer is NO, the SSA has no "duty" (moral or legal obligation) to look at the actual proposals, unless he or she thinks that's the only way to make a sound decision. FAR 15.303 says the SSA "shall" appoint an evaluation team and FAR 15.308 says the SSA "may use" the reports of such a team, so why would you ask about a "duty" to "actually look at the actual proposals"? Have you no idea about the centuries old concept of staffs and staff work in organizations? And what did you mean by "look at"? Did you mean read in detail or did you literally mean "look at"?

Seriously?!

Link to post
Share on other sites

Vern, you reminded me of that commercial where a lady is shopping for books in the bookstore and she goes to take a peek inside one of the books. The sale clerk abruptly stops her and says, "Sorry ma'am, you may only purchase these books based on their covers."

While the FAR 15.303 does not require the SSA to review proposals, I review the proposals anyways. I read them for a couple of reasons:

1) I am curious;

2) It helps me review the SSEB's report when I am already familiar with the proposals;

3) Sometimes I find problems in the proposals that the SSEB never addressed;

4) I can learn more about my solutions to our technical needs to help us in our future requirements;

5) If I see multiple Offerors making similar mistakes in their proposal, it can help me and my team develop clearer instructions in future solicitations; and

6) Overall, I feel more prepared defending the agency's overall decision when I am familiar with both the proposals and the SSEB's report.

So while there is no requirement to review the proposals as the SSA, it is my opinion that there is a value added in taking a looksie.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards

Vern, you reminded me of that commercial where a lady is shopping for books in the bookstore and she goes to take a peek inside one of the books. The sale clerk abruptly stops her and says, "Sorry ma'am, you may only purchase these books based on their covers."

While the FAR 15.303 does not require the SSA to review proposals, I review the proposals anyways. I read them for a couple of reasons:

1) I am curious;

2) It helps me review the SSEB's report when I am already familiar with the proposals;

3) Sometimes I find problems in the proposals that the SSEB never addressed;

4) I can learn more about my solutions to our technical needs to help us in our future requirements;

5) If I see multiple Offerors making similar mistakes in their proposal, it can help me and my team develop clearer instructions in future solicitations; and

6) Overall, I feel more prepared defending the agency's overall decision when I am familiar with both the proposals and the SSEB's report.

So while there is no requirement to review the proposals as the SSA, it is my opinion that there is a value added in taking a looksie.

This was the question asked by govt2310:

While FAR 15.308 does say the SSA can "use reports and analyses prepared by others," doesn't the SSA still have a duty to actually look at the actual proposals?

So.. what's your point and how was it relevant to the issue at hand?

I'm glad you are curious and like to read proposals. I'm glad you have the time to do it. I have always found them to be tedious and I have never had the time to read them. In the last DOD source selection for which I was the CO each proposal was several thousand pages long and each came with large file cabinets full of technical supporting documentation. The SSA was the DARPA Director, who had quite a number of projects to worry about. The source selection evaluation board consisted of about 150 persons, more or less and from time to time, including a lot of Ph.D. specialists in space, laser, and ballistic re-entry sciences. I suspect that you are not involved with those kinds of source selections, so maybe the importance of staff work to decision-makers doesn't mean much to you. My challenge was managing the board. Delegation is the soul of management.

Now, I don't know why I remind you of anything other than a serious-minded person who no longer has patience for idiotic questions the answers to which are obvious from the language of FAR and, in this case, to any literate person who is willing to read a book, like, say, Competitive Proposals Contracting: The Source Selection Process 2d by Nash, Cibinic, and O'Brien, 709 - 719, and think for a moment or two before hopping on the Internet. I also have no patience for inapposite analogy or for irrelevant and pointless commentary like:

So while there is no requirement to review the proposals as the SSA, it is my opinion that there is a value added in taking a looksie.

P.S. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, "looksie" is properly spelled look-see (or looksee).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Vern, you had stated, "[t]he answer is NO, the SSA has no "duty" (moral or legal obligation) to look at the actual proposals, unless he or she thinks that's the only way to make a sound decision." My point was that, even though there is not a duty, there may be reasons to review the proposals other than the single reason that you stated.

I can't disagree that the SSA for hundreds of SSACs probably does not have time to read each proposal, but this is not the case on the civilian side for many agencies.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards

Vern, you had stated, "[t]he answer is NO, the SSA has no "duty" (moral or legal obligation) to look at the actual proposals, unless he or she thinks that's the only way to make a sound decision." My point was that, even though there is not a duty, there may be reasons to review the proposals other than the single reason that you stated.

You just don't pay attention, do you? I said that there was no duty. I did not say that there was no reason to want to, or only one reason to want to, duty or not.

Look, make whatever comments you want, but don't make them in response to me until you really read what I write and feel you need to say something about it. If you had simply said I read proposals even though I don't have a duty to do so, because I like to read them, and left me and your stupid lady in a bookstore nonsense out of it, I would be bothering with you right now.

Your comment was silly. Evaluation boards were invented because most SSAs don't have the time, inclination, or know-how to evaluate proposals. As for the civilian agencies, plenty of them conduct plenty of source selections with voluminous technical proposals that SSAs cannot understand or don't want to read. You're apparently buying relatively simple stuff and don't have other executive responsibilities, so indulge. The fact is, for most run of the mill procurements there is no need for technical or management proposals, technical and management proposals don't have much to do with actual performance, and they are boring. In most cases, "best value" doesn't mean best performance after award, it means best job of proposal writing.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Response to Vern's citation in Post #9:

Thanks, Vern. You are correct. I should have looked in Nash and Cibinic first (note, you refer to the Nash and Cibinic Book as Competitive Proposals Contracting: The Source Selection Process, but the actual title is Competitive Negotiation: The Source Selection Process). Yes, it says on p. 712 of the Second Edition:

"See, for example, Sabreliner Corp., Comp. Gen. Dec. B-242023, 91-1 CPD P 326, where the Comptroller General stated: 'The SSA is not required to personally revie the proposals or hte complete evaluation documentation, but can rely upon a briefing that presents the results of the proposal evaluation.'"

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Vern Edwards

govt2310:

Thanks for the correction on the title. I'm glad you have access to that book. There's actually a third edition out, but I have it on my Kindle, which I can't find.

I worked on many a source selection for which the SSA was a two or three star general who made the decision based on a briefing. The concept of a staff as a body of specialist assistants to a decision-maker is a key characteristic of bureaucratic organization. An SSEB is a perfect example of an ad hoc personal staff, as opposed to a permanent staff.

Vern

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...