When is a technical evaluation plan not required?

If the contract will be awarded based solely on the lowest price, then the evaluation criteria and the technical evaluation plan are not required.

What steps does the COR take in developing the technical evaluation plan?

The COR:

1. Researches evaluation factors from prior or comparable acquisitions and looks for any problems with the factors and the validity of the factors in practice.

2. Identifies applicable evaluation factors.

When contracting for commercial items, the COR may limit evaluation factors to:

- Past performance

- Technical capability (i.e., how well proposed products meet the government's requirements)

- Price (e.g., purchase price and relevant price-related factors).

When contracting for noncommercial items, the COR should consider the following factors:

- Price (e.g., purchase price and relevant price-related factors)

- Past performance

- Quality (by using factors such as past performance, technical excellence, management capability, personnel qualifications, prior experience, and schedule compliance to evaluate the contractor's work)

- Environmental objectives, such as promoting waste reduction and energy efficiency.

3. Determines the relative importance of each evaluation factor and significant subfactors, if any. (See Chapter 3, Questions 73 and 74, for further information on evaluation factors.) The COR then selects the evaluation method (e.g., adjective ratings, numerical scores, ranking) and defines the relative importance, technically speaking, of each evaluation factor, as appropriate. The COR also must prepare and include a written rationale for the rating/scoring methodology.

Numerical weighting of the factors and subfactors is not mandated (or encouraged) by the FAR. However, the FAR affirms that numerical weighting can be usedand does not necessarily have to be disclosed in the RFP. COs may disclose numerical weights "on a case by case basis" in the solicitation. Although the FAR is silent on this practice, disclosing weights generally is not a good practice. The General Accounting Office (GAO) has repeatedly ruled that source selection authorities have discretion to overrule numerical scores when numerical weights are not disclosed in the solicitation.

4. Drafts the minimum criteria for acceptable award (i.e., "go/no-go" factors).

5. Accurately recognizes and diagnoses problems with proposed factors, such as:

Omissions (e.g., missing standards)

Vagueness or ambiguity

No apparent relationship to the SOW

Inconsistency with the SOW.

6. Provides data to assist the contracting office in determining whether to solicit on the basis of:

Tradeoffs or

Award to the lowest-priced, technically acceptable offer. For example, the COR should consider tradeoffs between price and non-price factors when:

- Soliciting cost-type contracts

- Using performance or functional specifications that will open the door to a variety of technical approaches, each characterized by different strengths and weaknesses

- There is no clear-cut means of determining the technical acceptability of marginal offers.

7. Identifies TEP members and briefs them on their roles and responsibilities.

8. Determines the importance of the non-price factors relative to price. Relative importance is a function of the business and technical risks inherent in the work. The higher the risks, the greater the emphasis on non-price evaluation factors. The COR should expressly state whether non-price evaluation factors (taken as a whole) are significantly more important than, approximately equal in importance to, or significantly less important than cost or price. When a solicitation indicates that price will be considered but does not indicate the relative importance of price and technical factors, they are considered approximately equal in weight.

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