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  • Question

    Is it possible to award now to the technically acceptable offeror and enter into discussions and possibly award an additional contract (or two) after final revised proposals are received?


    Answer

    The first rule is to follow what was stated in the solicitation.  Unless the solicitation stated the potential to award on initials AND resulting from discussions, it is not advisable to change the rules of engagement midstream.  If the agency wants to pursue the opportunity to award to more than one offeror and the the offeror' s proposals are not rated as "acceptable" but could be made acceptable through discussions and final proposal revisions, then a competitive range must be determined that includes "all of the most highly rate proposals" (FAR 15.306(c)(1)) which would include the one with an acceptable technical rating.  Contracting Officer's must treat all offerors fairly and are not free to treat similarly situated offerors different.  The other consideration is the nature of the "discrepancies".  There are three types of exchanges that can be held with Offerors:  clarifications and communications which occur before establishing a competitive range; and discussions (i.e. negotiations) which occur as a result of setting a competitive range.  If the "discrepancies" can be properly resolved through clarifications or communications, there would be no need to establish a competitive range, hold discussions and receive proposal revisions, thereby allowing awards to be made on initial offers.  Recommend that you consult FAR 15.306 to more fully understand the various exchanges with offerors that are permissible, as well as consult with your office of council.


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