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RedHorse74

Postaward Contract Debriefings

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We are a contractor who is a MATOC ID/IQ holder. We have repeatedly requested a Postaward Debrief from a contracting command for competitively awarded task orders. The response we continually receive from the contracting officers of that command is that the awards are made under FAR Part 16, so debriefs are not required. Our understanding of how the FAR works is that if the Task Order is competitively procured amongst the the group of MATOC ID/IQ holders, the rules of FAR 15.505 would apply. Otherwise, wouldn't FAR Part 16 have to contain all the requirements of FAR Part 15 (and the FAR would get much, much bigger)?

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We are a contractor who is a MATOC ID/IQ holder. We have repeatedly requested a Postaward Debrief from a contracting command for competitively awarded task orders. The response we continually receive from the contracting officers of that command is that the awards are made under FAR Part 16, so debriefs are not required. Our understanding of how the FAR works is that if the Task Order is competitively procured amongst the the group of MATOC ID/IQ holders, the rules of FAR 15.505 would apply. Otherwise, wouldn't FAR Part 16 have to contain all the requirements of FAR Part 15 (and the FAR would get much, much bigger)?

Red, have you read FAR 16.505 (Bee)? There is a requirement for postaward debriefings when the task order exceeds $5 million. See, in particular:

"(Bee) Orders under multiple award contracts—

(1) Fair opportunity...

(iii) Orders exceeding $5 million. For task or delivery orders in excess of $5 million, the requirement to provide all awardees a fair opportunity to be considered for each order shall include, at a minimum—

(A) A notice of the task or delivery order that includes a clear statement of the agency’s requirements;

(Bee) A reasonable response period;

(Cee) Disclosure of the significant factors and subfactors, including cost or price, that the agency expects to consider in evaluating proposals, and their relative importance;

(D) Where award is made on a best value basis, a written statement documenting the basis for award and the relative importance of quality and price or cost factors; and

(E) An opportunity for a postaward debriefing in accordance with paragraph (Bee)(4) of this section."

"(Bee)(4) Postaward Notices and Debriefing of Awardees for Orders Exceeding $5 Million. The contracting officer shall notify unsuccessful awardees when the total price of a task or delivery order exceeds $5 million.

(i) The procedures at 15.503(Bee)(1) shall be followed when providing postaward notification to unsuccessful awardees.

(ii) The procedures at 15.506 shall be followed when providing postaward debriefing to unsuccessful awardees.

(iii) A summary of the debriefing shall be included in the task or delivery order file."

Note (Bee) refers to the letter B

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We are a contractor who is a MATOC ID/IQ holder. We have repeatedly requested a Postaward Debrief from a contracting command for competitively awarded task orders. The response we continually receive from the contracting officers of that command is that the awards are made under FAR Part 16, so debriefs are not required. Our understanding of how the FAR works is that if the Task Order is competitively procured amongst the the group of MATOC ID/IQ holders, the rules of FAR 15.505 would apply. Otherwise, wouldn't FAR Part 16 have to contain all the requirements of FAR Part 15 (and the FAR would get much, much bigger)?

I'm assuming you mean FAR 15.506, not 15.505. FAR 16.505(B)(4) specifically invokes the procedures of 15.503(B)(1) and 15.506 for orders exceeding $5 million, and agencies must provide an opportunity for a post-award debriefing for such orders, per FAR 16.505(B)(1)(iii)(E). The procedures of FAR 15.505 don't make sense in the context of ordering under MATOCs.

If the order is under $5 million, then the contracting officer is correct that a debriefing is not required.

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Thank you Mr. Hoffman. You may find this humorous, but I am using my well dog-eared 8/1/2008 version of the FAR which doesn't contain that language. Makes me feel pretty silly. Anyway, is it safe to say there is no debriefing requirement then for Part 16 procurements under $5 million?

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So, again the question. If an agency cites the ordering procedures process of FAR Part 16 under "fair opportunity" then they don't have to provide unsuccessful offeror notices or debriefs for orders under $5M? Does any one else see how agencies could easily abuse this? This belies logic in the alleged days of transparency.

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The purpose of awarding IDIQ contracts is to have a pool of qualified contractors that can quickly meet requirements using streamlined procedures. Over the years the services procured on IDIQ contracts became high dollar and extremely complicated. So the FAR was changed to allow debriefings and GAO protests for the higher value projects. However, the idea is to keep the small dollar projects streamlined with reduced documentation. My experience has been that with all the contractors being awarded as the most qualified in a competitive solicitation, most small, uncomplicated projects come down to a low price shootout.

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I absolutely concur with your assesment. However, what if an agency uses LPTA? What if the lowest priced offeror is found technically unacceptable? Shouldn't that offeror or any offeror for that matter be given an opportunity for a debrief, notice of what led to an unacceptable technical rating, and to "cure" their proposals for future orders?

Seems to me that if agencies don't have to provide unsuccessful letters or conduct debriefs on orders under $5M, they essentially have carte blanche to award to whomever they like (typically, this means keeping the incumbent in place).

The problem here is that I think this provides a way for "smart" CO/KOs to circumvent FAR 6 and 15 by citing the "Ordering Procedures" of Part 16 after establishing an ordering vehicle. I understand what you've stated above, and if the IDIQ is for supplies or severable services (non-complex) than I agree. However, I do think this is very likely being abused. Thoughts?

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