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Section M Evaluation Factors Used for 8(a) Sole Source

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I would like to pose the following question, which I'm sure has already been addressed.

I received approval from SBA for an 8(a) sole source procurement. I have prepared the solicitation using the commercial contract format contained in FAR Part 12.303. Since one proposal will be requested, what do I put in my solicitation for assessing the 8(a) firm's proposal? I understand that Section M, Evaluation Factors, is not used in 8(a) sole source procurement, but shouldn't I perform some sort of assessment of the 8(a) firm's proposal? Help!

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A technical and cost proposal was requested from the contractor. The contractor's technical proposal must describe its capabilities and how it intends to perform the requirements stated in the Performance Work Statement. Mainly, the contractor is to develop and enhance the Software and Organization Process Improvements effort, including but not limited to, project management, requirements development and management, configuration management, system life cycle definition, test planning, system designs, quality assurance, risk management, and knowledge management.

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As a start,

Since you are going to evaluate the technical approach, I would assume that you have an objective in mind. Won't you explain what it is and the criteria that you will use to determine if it is considered to be reasonble or realistic for the PWS scope?

For price, we would provide the basic cost or pricing proposal format or, if cost or pricing data is not necessary, explain what pricing detail we need to see in "L".

For "M", won't you explain that you will evaluate the price for fairness and reasonableness?

If there are more than one CLIN's, would you would explain that you will evaluate the pricing for material unbalancing between the line items?

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Guest carl r culham

I know of no requirements to include a Section M in a solicitation document issued to an 8(a) being approached on a sole basis. I would even suggest that a formal solicitation document is not necessary. Yes sending something equal to a solicitation document that shows all intended terms and conditions for an awarded contract to the firm with appropriate representations/certifications for their consideration in pricing the work does need to be sent their way and the solicitation document fits this need, but it is not required. In my experience you could send a proposed contract document with a solicitation number on it, a separate set of reps and certs and then some instructions on how you want their proposal submitted (a separate Section L if you are hung up on a formal solicitation process concept).

It also seems evaluation would be first nature without having to state what you will be looking at technically (adding a Section M)beyond the requirements of FAR 19.806, FAR 19.807, the related 13 CFR 124.511 and any agency related regulation or policy. Section M is overkill; you simply want a proposal on how they plan to approach the need. In the context of your question then again give those instructions in Section L. When you get their proposal you would simply review everything in it and let them know what you like and do not like and then negotiate accord with the only required need to apply FAR 19.806/7 as appropriate.

Note too DFARS, if you are DoD, that allows you the opportunity (DFARS 219.804-1) to afford the 8(a) firms being considered for name request under a sole source the opportunity to give a technical presentation. This is not equal to what you would want in response to a specific need but does give the ability to judge the firms capabilities prior to a match under the 8(a) sole source guidelines of FAR 19.8 (also see 13 CFR 124.502/503)thereby accomplishing many of the effort that occurs through use of a Section M in a competitive procurement. In the future I would suggest strongly utilizing this allowed effort if you are DoD to get many of the issues taken care prior to even matching a firm with a specific need. In fact it mirrors the process that should be ulitiliezed if you are not DoD. This is a unique opportunity of the 8(a) program that in my view helps eliminate the formality of Section M. Section M in my view has its place in a competitive solicitation but not in a sole source 8(a).

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See FAR 15.002(a):

15.002 Types of negotiated acquisition.

(a) Sole source acquisitions. When contracting in a sole source environment, the request for proposals (RFP) should be tailored to remove unnecessary information and requirements; e.g., evaluation criteria and voluminous proposal preparation instructions.

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