Unofficial Oral Proposal Guide

What Submissions Must or Should be Written

The regulation for orals has only two mandatory requirements for written proposal submissions—1. Representations and Certifications and 2. a signed offer sheet. In some infrequent cases, the vendor’s offer is based on certain terms and conditions, probably more aptly exceptions to terms and conditions in the solicitation. In those cases, the vendor must submit them in writing.

Note that the regulation does not require that a cost proposal be submitted in writing. Don’t fall for it. This is one area where you definitely want something in writing. Even if the vendor delivered the proposal cost/price and backup orally, from memory, you’d just end up writing it down and possibly transposing a few numbers, so save yourself the trouble and require the cost proposal to be in writing, though with an unlimited number of pages. I have never asked for or received a cost proposal orally and can’t imagine why I ever would that doesn’t include some form of post-apocalyptic unavailability of writing utensils or computers.

Occasionally, you may need to ask for other proposal submissions in writing, such as a Statement of Work. Written submissions ideally become part of the contract, either as attachments or incorporated by reference. These should not be documents that are unnecessary or that can be delivered under the contract, though you may possibly need a draft delivered with the proposal for incorporation, negotiation, or finalization later. These documents may be evaluated as a pass-fail or more extensively if you plan to hold discussions, similar to the way proposals delivered without any oral components (i.e. pass-fail basis, trade-off selection with or without discussions) would be handled.

INSIGHT:

For example, the vendor might pen a draft Statement of Work or a draft Performance Work Statement in response to a Statement of Objectives in the solicitation. The draft document might then be evaluated as part of the proposal and definitized later. Be careful not to enter into discussions over these drafts if you intend to award without discussions under FAR Part 15.

Written submissions may also include technical plans, labor rates, or price bands you specifically want to include in the contract, and—perhaps the most common written submission—the Small Business Subcontracting Plan.

TIP:

Don’t ask for a written submission that you won’t use or evaluate. Never ask because it’s something that’s “nice to know.” If it’s not necessary for you to make a vendor selection, then you are wasting your time, government resources, taxpayer dollars, and the vendor’s time and resources. Stay focused.

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