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cs123

IDIQ, Intent to Award to Three, Tradeoff

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Quick Question: If you are competing a large IDIQ requirement and you stated that you intend to award to three Offerors using the tradeoff process and then only three Offerors each submit a single offer that is determined to meet the requirements (so you have three viable offers), does a Contracting Officer need to conduct a tradeoff analysis or can the CO proceed and award to all three, especially considering the minimum guaranteed amount is $100.00?

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If the solicitation specifies that the agency will conduct a tradeoff process, then the agency must conduct and document that tradeoff process, see FAR Subsection 15.305(a). I would then use the results of my tradeoff analysis to conduct negotiations with the three Offerors to get the best value for the agency.

Though, in this scenario, there is a very low risk that you would get a protest for failing to conduct a tradeoff analysis.

Next time, I would not quantify the number of multiple awards that you intend to make, or if you do, state that the Government intends to make awards to three different contractors, but reserves the right to award more or less if in its best interest.

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Quick Question: If you are competing a large IDIQ requirement and you stated that you intend to award to three Offerors using the tradeoff process and then only three Offerors each submit a single offer that is determined to meet the requirements (so you have three viable offers), does a Contracting Officer need to conduct a tradeoff analysis or can the CO proceed and award to all three, especially considering the minimum guaranteed amount is $100.00?

What are you "trading off" and what type of awards are you making? Are you buying something from one of the firms in the initial competition? Or is the competition only for inclusion in the pool of three contractors to compete for subsequent task or delivery orders? What "trade-off" is involved if the three aren't competing for an award to all three.

If you are going issue an order as part of the initial compeition to only one of the firms, then you would need to perform a trade-off analysis.

If there were more than three firms competing for base contract awards and inclusion in the pool, then you would perform a trade-off analysis to determine which three firms offer the best value to include. And you would also have to decide which of the three offers the best value, if you are going to issue an order as part of the initial competition as described above.

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I do agree that the Government would have to determine if all three firms would offer enough value to be awarded a base ID/IQ contract for inclusion in the pool. So, perhaps there is some type of trade-off consideration, if less than three firms could be included in the pool.

Regarding that, I would state something to the effect that the government intends to include "up to three" firms in the pool. But I would discourage an open end to the number - at least if this were for an ID/IQ for something like design-build construction, where competition for task orders can be very expensive to participate in.

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Thanks for the information. Here are the answers to your questions.

1) What are you "trading off" and what type of awards are you making?

Answer: Various technical factors/subfactors and price

2) Are you buying something from one of the firms in the initial competition? Or is the competition only for inclusion in the pool of three contractors to compete for subsequent task or delivery orders?

Answer: There is a minimum that will be fulfilled for all awardees as required for IDIQ awards, but for the purposes of my question its $100.00; therefore, 99.9% of the subsequent requirements will be competed among the pool.

3) What "trade-off" is involved if the three aren't competing for an award to all three.
Answer: Not sure but I have heard a legal advisor say that you still need to do a tradeoff and justify to award to 3 vice 2 or 1. I wanted some solid information to show why this is correct/incorrect.

4) If you are going issue an order as part of the initial competition to only one of the firms, then you would need to perform a trade-off analysis.
Answer: All Offerors will get the $100.00 order without competition.

5) If there were more than three firms competing for base contract awards and inclusion in the pool, then you would perform a trade-off analysis to determine which three firms offer the best value to include. And you would also have to decide which of the three offers the best value, if you are going to issue an order as part of the initial competition as described above.
Response: So for the award documentation, I assume you suggest to state that as only three offers were received that were acceptable no trade-off analysis is required as it is in the Government best interest to three for increased Fair Opportunity competition, etc., etc.?

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So for the award documentation, I assume you suggest to state that as only three offers were received that were acceptable no trade-off analysis is required as it is in the Government best interest to three for increased Fair Opportunity competition, etc., etc.?

You have supposedly evaluated each of the three firms to determine if the technical and price proposals meet the minimum requirements and if they are all acceptable to the government, as proposed. Or you have conducted discussions and are now satisfied that all three firms are acceptable for inclusion in the award pool. There doesn't appear to be any "trade-off" involved here.

The only trade-off that I see possible in this scenario, as described, would be if you intend to award to less than all three proposers and would have to decide who, between the three proposers, you will award to and who you will not award to.

If all three are in line for award, you will simply document why each one is acceptable for award.

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P.S.: I am referring to the trade-off process in FAR 15.308

15.308 -- Source Selection Decision.

The source selection authority’s (SSA) decision shall be based on a comparative assessment of proposals against all source selection criteria in the solicitation. While the SSA may use reports and analyses prepared by others, the source selection decision shall represent the SSA’s independent judgment. The source selection decision shall be documented, and the documentation shall include the rationale for any business judgments and tradeoffs made or relied on by the SSA, including benefits associated with additional costs. Although the rationale for the selection decision must be documented, that documentation need not quantify the tradeoffs that led to the decision.

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Joel, do you know of any training materials, FAR references, court decisions, etc., that support that we don't need to do tradeoffs give the scenario provided, including information provided in your last posts?

I would have trouble proving my point without such references.

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Joel, do you know of any training materials, FAR references, court decisions, etc., that support that we don't need to do tradeoffs give the scenario provided, including information provided in your last posts?

I would have trouble proving my point without such references.

cs 123, just comply with 15.308. Your point should be that there is nothing to "trade-off". You can ask any dissenter what you are supposed to trade-off. If there is something to consider then perform the analysis.

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cs123, I just thumbed through "The Selection Decision" portion of "Selection, Award, Notices and Debriefings" in Chapter 6 of Formation of Government Contracts, 3rd Edition by Nash and Cibinic to confirm what I said and thought.

Because the FAR doesn't really discuss the trade-off process in much detail, most of the policy concerning the trade-off analysis in formulating the selection decision has been derived from decisions in contract award controversies. I think that the narrative pretty well backs up my statement that there has to be something to trade-off in order to perform a trade-off analysis. Generally required when a lower priced, conforming offer is or isn't selected for award and/or where equally priced proposals vary in non-price areas.

In your case, you haven't told me that there is anything to trade-off. If you have access to the latest edition of said book, I suggest reading it. If you don't, you SHOULD purchase and read it - not just for this question but for professional reference and growth. That and Administration of Government Contracts are two of the best bookls ever written for Government Contracting. If and when I get some time, I will peruse the Army JAG manuals to see if they discuss the trade-off analysis. I'm behind on personal matters as it is. :)

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cs123, I just thumbed through "The Selection Decision" portion of "Selection, Award, Notices and Debriefings" in Chapter 6 of Formation of Government Contracts, 3rd Edition by Nash and Cibinic to confirm what I said and thought.

Because the FAR doesn't really discuss the trade-off process in much detail, most of the policy concerning the trade-off analysis in formulating the selection decision has been derived from decisions in contract award controversies. I think that the narrative pretty well backs up my statement that there has to be something to trade-off in order to perform a trade-off analysis. Generally required when a lower priced, conforming offer is or isn't selected for award and/or where equally priced proposals vary in non-price areas.

In your case, you haven't told me that there is anything to trade-off. If you have access to the latest edition of said book, I suggest reading it. If you don't, you SHOULD purchase and read it - not just for this question but for professional reference and growth. That and Administration of Government Contracts are two of the best bookls ever written for Government Contracting. If and when I get some time, I will peruse the Army JAG manuals to see if they discuss the trade-off analysis. I'm behind on personal matters as it is. :)

Thanks, I actually have that edition. Was able to get it for less than $20 used recently. I'll peruse the referenced section a little bit closer in the coming days. I agree, the book is very useful. Thanks for the information.

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great - that is outstanding!

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Guest Vern Edwards

Quick Question: If you are competing a large IDIQ requirement and you stated that you intend to award to three Offerors using the tradeoff process and then only three Offerors each submit a single offer that is determined to meet the requirements (so you have three viable offers), does a Contracting Officer need to conduct a tradeoff analysis or can the CO proceed and award to all three, especially considering the minimum guaranteed amount is $100.00?

You make tradeoffs when you have to choose from among differing opportunities. In your case, all you have to do is determine:

(1) If each offer is legally acceptable,

(2) if each offeror is responsible, and

(3) if each set of prices is fair and reasonable.

If all meet those tests, then award three contracts and be done with it. If any does not meet any of the tests, then decide whether or not to award without discussions or conduct discussions and request final proposal revisions. I would conduct discussions if there is any reasonable possibility of getting a better proposal, if only to avoid a protest.

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