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FAR 15.206(d) says, if an offeror submits a novel approach that is a departure from the Solicitation Requirements, then the Agency must amend the solicitation and allow all offerors to offer that novel approach as well.  I have it stuck in my head that the offeror is supposed to submit "separate proposals," one the complies the Solicitation Requirements, and one that has the "Novel Approach."  So if the Agency finds the offeror's novel approach proposal technically unacceptable, then the offeror's other proposal is still in the running.  But I cannot find anything in the FAR that says this.  Where does it say that the offeror must submit "separate proposals" in this kind of situation?

 

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There are FAR clauses like this https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/48/52.204-22.  Plus lots of agency instructions that are similar.  The idea is you may not want to disqualify an offeror for being non responsive but you are open to other ideas.  So you use the worded you described.  If the offerors qualifying proposal is acceptable, they are in the running.  If you like their alternative, you amend the solicitation to allow it.

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And here is the prescription for 52.215-1, alternate II.

“15.209   Solicitation provisions and contract clauses.

When contracting by negotiation— 

(a) The contracting officer shall insert the provision at 52.215-1, Instructions to Offerors—Competitive Acquisition, in all competitive solicitations where the Government intends to award a contract without discussions.

...(2) If the Government would be willing to accept alternate proposals, the contracting officer shall alter the basic clause to add a paragraph (c)(9) substantially the same as Alternate II.

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“Alternate II (OCT 1997). As prescribed in 15.209(a)(2), add a paragraph (c)(9) substantially the same as the following to the basic clause:

(9) Offerors may submit proposals that depart from stated requirements. Such proposals shall clearly identify why the acceptance of the proposal would be advantageous to the Government. Any deviations from the terms and conditions of the solicitation, as well as the comparative advantage to the Government, shall be clearly identified and explicitly defined. The Government reserves the right to amend the solicitation to allow all offerors an opportunity to submit revised proposals based on the revised requirements.”

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The FAR doesn’t require a proposer to submit a confirming proposal with its alternate solution. I checked DFARS and it doesn’t either.

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If commercial, look also for the standard commercial offer instruction at FAR 52.212-1 (e):

"Multiple offers. Offerors are encouraged to submit multiple offers presenting alternative terms and conditions, including alternative line items (provided that the alternative line items are consistent with subpart  4.10 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation), or alternative commercial items for satisfying the requirements of this solicitation. Each offer submitted will be evaluated separately."

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