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A client bid on a task order last year. The award went to another contractor. The government has sent a letter stating they are doing market research on this contract and would like all IDIQ holders to submit another cost proposal. The government sent revised staffing that they would like the offerors to submit against. Is it possible for the government to make an award based on these revised proposals? Would the government need to issue a formal RFP if they find other offerors have a lower price based on their market research?

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Based upon the information you provided, I am making a few assumptions.

* First, the type of contract your client submitted a proposal last year is a multiple award Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ)-type contract.

* Second, the IDIQ contract does not include specific terms for how the Government must request for quotations or proposals. For example, some Government-Wide Acquisition Contracts (GWACs) include specific instructions for ordering. The NASA SEWP GWAC, for example, allows both market research Request for Information or a Request for Quotation, but the ordering agency must select a Request for Quotation to make an award.

* The Government requested that your client submit "another cost proposal" and did not include language in the that notice how the Government would consider that information in placement of the order.

* The value of the acquisition exceeds $150,000.

Based upon these assumptions, FAR 16.505(B) provides us with regulatory guidance here:

Orders under multiple-award contracts—

(1) Fair opportunity.

(i) The contracting officer must provide each awardee a fair opportunity to be considered for each order exceeding $3,000 issued under multiple delivery-order contracts or multiple task-order contracts, except as provided for in paragraph (
(2) of this section.

By requesting "market research" and not including placement procedures (such as significant factors and subfactors, including cost or price, that the agency expects to consider), the Government did not provide IDIQ holders with fair opportunity for consideration. Because the Government did not provide fair opportunity for consideration, it cannot issue an award based upon the revised cost information. The Government does not need to issue a "formal RFP," but it does need to provide fair opportunity in accrodance with the applicable regulations; review FAR 16.505(B)(II) through (iv) for specific requirements in providing fair opportunity related to the dollar value of the acquisition.

To sum up, I would carefully review the information requested and whether the Government made any indication if it intended to make an award using the information submitted. However, I generally recommend that Contractors respond to these sorts of requests - if your client is able to make a convincing business case to the Government, there is a possibility that the Government could make a new solicitation, thereby creating a new business opportunity. If a Contractor does not respond to my market research requests, I assume that it is not interested.

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