In CON 124 Contract Execution, Lesson 2.2 Knowledge Review (slide 13 of 14) the question states that the Senior KO provides other avenues to discuss with vendors and we are to select what we think are correct methods. One answer is to hold one-on-one meetings with multiple vendors. I disagree with this as a good recommendation. Could this not open up the bidding /awarding to protests as it could be argued that the same information was not given to each vendor or the information was not provided to other vendors who were not invited to the meetings, but still bid the project?
Why would multiple one-on-one meetings be acceptable?
Past experience with potential vendors / bidders for projects (USACE, USAF) were NOT to answer any questions and have each vendor / bidder submit the question(s) in writing to the KO.
See FAR 15.201 Exchanges With Industry Before Receipt of Proposals. One of the specific type of exchanges is one-on-one meeting. See FAR 15.201(c)(4) One-on-one meetings with potential offerors (any that are substantially involved with potential contract terms and conditions should include the contracting officer; also see paragraph (f) of this section regarding restrictions on disclosure of information).
Open full Question Details
Notice the reference to FAR 15.201(f) which states "General information about agency mission needs and future requirements may be disclosed at any time. After release of the solicitation, the contracting officer must be the focal point of any exchange with potential offerors. When specific information about a proposed acquisition that would be necessary for the preparation of proposals is disclosed to one or more potential offerors, that information must be made available to the public as soon as practicable, but no later than the next general release of information, in order to avoid creating an unfair competitive advantage. Information provided to a potential offeror in response to its request must not be disclosed if doing so would reveal the potential offeror’s confidential business strategy, and is protected under 3.104 or Subpart 24.2. When conducting a presolicitation or preproposal conference, materials distributed at the conference should be made available to all potential offerors, upon request."
In conclusion not only are one-on-one meetings authorized they are part of exchanges with industry before receipt of proposals that are encouraged. Special attention should be paid to FAR 15.201(f) make sure information is available to all potential offerors.