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The evaluation and source selection phase of the contract relates to the period from receipt of offers up to the award decision by the CO. The effort involved during this phase necessitates significant and critical support from the COR in the areas of technical interpretation, analysis, and evaluation to ensure that the award ultimately made is the most advantageous to the government in all respects.

Note: When contracting by sealed bidding, bids are evaluated to determine which offer provides the lowest evaluated price, and award is usually made to that bidder. When using negotiation, however, the process is more complicated in that award will be based on both price and technical factors. The following discussion refers to the negotiation process only. Figure 4-2, The Negotiation Process, provides an overall perspective on this process.

What tasks does the COR perform during the evaluation and source selection phase?

The COR:

1. Assists the CO in the receipt, processing, and evaluation of proposals

2. Provides past performance survey assistance

3. Assists the CO in evaluating other terms and conditions and in determining the responsibility of potential contractors

4. Participates in fact-finding sessions, negotiation preparations, and discussions with offerors

5. Gathers facts, prepares technical documentation, and participates in debriefings and protests by functioning as a technical expert witness for the government

6. Reviews and provides advice on the acceptability of unsolicited proposals.

How does the COR provide assistance to the CO in receiving, processing, and evaluating proposals?

The CO will initially review all proposals upon receipt to identify all variances from the RFP terms and conditions. These variances often

The Negotiation Process

FIGURE 4-2. The Negotiation Process

require, and can be resolved by, technical review and interpretation by the COR or others in the program office. These initial reviews can sometimes result in proposals being immediately excluded from further consideration (e.g., excluded from the competitive range due to technical or other deficiencies). More often, these reviews serve to identify issues that require attention during discussions with the offeror. The CO will then forward all remaining proposals to the technical evaluation panel for evaluation, in accordance with the technical evaluation plan discussed earlier in this chapter.

The Technical Evaluation Panel

What is the technical evaluation panel?

The technical evaluation panel (TEP) should comprise a few, usually four to six, technical personnel who are intimately familiar with the requirements document to serve as technical evaluators. Sometimes the COR is an evaluator, but more often the COR serves as the chairperson of the panel. As chairperson, the COR is responsible for overall direction and coordination of the TEP's efforts and is particularly responsible for responding to any requests for additional information or clarification from the CO. The evaluators are often technical personnel who will ultimately be the end users of the contract deliverables; members of the TEP, then, have not only a significant role in, but also responsibility for, determining the best technical responses to the requirement.

What is the COR's role in protecting proposals from unauthorized disclosures?

Upon receipt of the proposals from the CO, the COR (assuming he or she is to function as the chairperson of the TEP) will ensure that due care is taken to safeguard all proposals from unauthorized disclosures. This nondisclosure requirement extends to any other proprietary and source selection information. The COR must remember not to disclose this information to the general public and to government personnel who do not have a legitimate need to know.

The COR should then assemble the TEP and brief the evaluators on the technical evaluation plan procedures, process, and criteria. The COR should also ensure that there are no conflicts of interest with the offerors.

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