Number IPP 50

Dated: 2/8/08
Replaces: 05/04/07

Internal Policy and Procedures

Request for Proposal (RFP)

POLICY:

Request for Proposal is a competitive negotiation (see PRO-C-12) used when an award cannot be made strictly on exact specifications or price.

Definitions:

BAFO: Best and Final Offer
DOA: Department of Administration
ITA: Intent to Award (for services)
NOA: Notice of Award
PRO: State Procurement Rule
Procurement Lead: The UW Madison Purchasing Agent
RFP: Request for Proposal
SME: Subject Matter Expert

Process Overview:

Procurement Lead responsibilities:
The Procurement Lead is responsible for conducting the RFP process and to insure the procurement rules are followed properly. The Procurement Lead can not be a scoring member of the Evaluation Team but may score the cost portion of the Proposers responses. The Procurement Lead can initiate the Best and Final Offer (BAFO) process based on the recommendation from the Evaluation Team. (see PRO-C-39)

The Evaluation Team Selection (including Subject Matter Experts (SME’s):
The Evaluation Team (not to include the Procurement Lead) must consist of at least three people. Members must have expertise related to the goods or services being procured. One member, whenever feasible, should be from outside state government and free of any potential conflicts of interest (real or perceived). Appointees (such as the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and Provost) may not be on the Evaluation Team unless special permission is granted by Department of Administration (DOA). If an evaluator is not available from outside state government, attempts should be made to include someone from outside the agency. All Evaluation Team members will be required to sign an “Assurance of Compliance with Procedures and Ethical Guidelines for the Proposal Evaluation”, and the final “Evaluation Report”. The Evaluation Team may appoint Subject Matter Experts (SME’s) to provide technical insight but SME members cannot score the proposals. (see PRO-C-29).

Scoring:
Providing price submittals to the entire team is at the discretion of the Procurement Lead.

Best and Final Offer (BAFO):
The BAFO process can be used:

  • when no single response meets all requirements
  • when the cost of one or more proposers is too high
  • when the scores of two or more proposers require an additional level of evaluation
  • when all proposals are unclear or deficient in one or more areas
  • at the discretion of the Evaluation Team to clarify proposals, negotiate cost terms, or to further verify proposed deliverables. The Procurement Lead may independently initiate the BAFO process for reasons related to cost only to the proposed awarded vendor(s). (see PRO-C-39)


Evaluation Team Problem Resolutions:
The resolution process exists so that RFP team members have a formal method of addressing their individual concerns in regard to the integrity of the RFP process. When a serious concern surfaces the RFP process is frozen pending resolution. The first step is resolution within the Evaluation Team itself mediated by the Procurement Lead. If the issue can not be resolved internally, the Procurement Lead elevates the issue to the Director of Purchasing. If the issue is still not resolved, the Procurement Lead or aggrieved team member can contact the State Compliance Officer either via phone or in writing. (see PRO-C-34)

Evaluation Report:
The Evaluation Report is prepared by the Procurement Lead (or designee) and signed by the Evaluation Team members. It is a summary of the final result of the scoring process and any noteworthy elements that were considered during the scoring process. Individual Evaluation Team members may submit feedback to be included in this report to document their formal objection to the overall award if they choose. In the event there are any dissentions from the award recommendation, the report is forwarded to the Director of Purchasing prior to issuing the Intent to Award (for services) or Notice of Award.. The report is kept for the official Procurement File. (see PRO-C-40)

Procurement File:
The Procurement File must contain documents processed as a part of the procurement process including but not limited to; all formal communication(s), reference checks, proposals, BAFO(s), Evaluation Team participants, SME members used, cost designees, Evaluation Report Summary, Ethical Compliance Assurances, problem resolution(s) (if applicable), abstract, cost analysis, scoring summary, Intent to Award (if applicable), protests (if applicable), and any final negotiation correspondence. (see PRO-C-40)

AGENT PROCEDURES:

Departments contact Purchasing with requirements and discuss the RFP process with the appropriate Procurement Lead.

1. Procurement Lead will request a preliminary meeting with the department to discuss requirements and specifications to determine if the RFP process is appropriate. From this point forward, information pertaining to the bidding process remains confidential until after the award.

During this meeting, it should be determined who will be on the Evaluation Team to develop the RFP document and who will be chosen to serve on the Evaluation Team (including any SME’s). Members must have expertise related to the goods or services being procured. One member, whenever feasible, should be from outside state government and free of any potential conflicts of interest (real or perceived). Appointees (such as the Chancellor, Vice Chancellor, and Provost) may not be on the Evaluation Team unless special permission is granted by Department of Administration (DOA).

All Evaluation Team members, beginning with all departmental contacts, will review and sign the “Assurance of Compliance with Procedures and Ethical Guidelines for the Proposal Evaluation” document which is collected by the Procurement Lead for the Procurement File.

Beginning at this meeting, and continuing forward as needed the Procurement Lead works with the department to try and identify and recruit an Evaluation Team member(s) from outside the University, and preferably from outside state government. Refer to the attached criteria. Efforts in this regard must be documented for the file.

2. Procurement Lead provides RFP document in paper or electronic format to department staff with instructions for the sections they have to complete.

3. Procurement Lead receives RFP document back from department staff with their completed sections and edits with the department to finalize requirements.


4. Procurement Lead meets with department to:

  • Review the document: “RFP Process, Basics Checklist”.
  • Discuss timetable, and the commitments required by all members.
  • Discuss how the proposal sections will be scored, especially the cost portion
  • Explain the Evaluation Team roles, make up, and responsibilities; 
    • minimum of three, suggested maximum of six
    • review and define responsibilities
    • discuss any conflicts of interest relationships with potential proposers
  • Review RFP document:
    • to determine applicable calendar of events dates for site visits, questions, posting and due dates
    • how will clarification of requirements be addressed
    • establish proposers conference date (if determined necessary to product/service)
    • if necessary proposers presentations (what will be allowed, questions to be asked, time limits)
    • site visits, if necessary
    • establish number of copies of proposals needed to be submitted minimum of 1 copy for each evaluator (and SME if applicable), original always kept at Purchasing
    • for the need to include reference checks in the scored criteria sections when applicable
    • to establish the need for additional contract riders
    • for the need for additional documents or materials

5. Procurement Lead meets with all the selected members of the Evaluation Team to review the RFP document, RFP Process, Basics Checklist, and “Assurance of Compliance with Procedures and Ethical Guidelines for the Proposal Evaluation” document, which is collected after all members sign.

6. Procurement Lead will finalize document and prepare score sheet as a part of the RFP package. If over $50,000, submit information to be included on the Procurement Plan (see PRO-A-4) for Department of Administration (DOA) Procurement approval. (see IPP 29), Union Notification must be performed before posting if the RFP is for services over $50,000(see IPP 60)

7. DOA will review and approve or deny proposed procurement.

8. Bid Processing staff will consult with Procurement Lead and establish finalized Calendar of Events and mail (e-mail or fax) the RFP to proposers, and post on Vendornet (which will automatically update the Public Notice Website).

9. If applicable, Procurement Lead reviews written questions submitted by proposer(s) in accordance with calendar of events and meets with Evaluation Team to prepare responses.

10. Procurement Lead holds Proposers Conference, if scheduled, at the announced time and location, and makes available any written clarification questions submitted prior to due date. Questions that arise at the Proposers Conference will be documented and a response prepared in the form of an amendment as necessary. Prepare amendment and submit to all proposers.

11. Procurement Lead opens proposals at the designated due date and time, this can be a public opening but only the submitting vendor names will be read. Materials submitted for the RFP process are not available for public inspection until after a final accepted award has been made (see IPP 47).

12. Procurement Lead will review each proposal for mandatory requirements and a signed affidavit. If any of these elements are missing, it is documented and the proposal is disqualified and not forwarded to the Evaluation Team.

13. Procurement Lead (or designee) will abstract cost proposal sheets. Cost proposal sheets should not be forwarded to Evaluation Team members at this time unless agreed to previously.

14. Procurement Lead schedules an Evaluation Team meeting at which they distribute the names of the proposers and queries all members of the Evaluation Team for any possible conflicts of interest. Conflicts are communicated as a group and ultimately assessed by Procurement Lead. Members with conflicts will be dismissed.

15. Procurement Lead meets as needed with RFP Evaluation Team. Evaluation Team should discuss and decide:

  • individual Evaluation Team scores and initial ranking of proposals
  • whether to hold additional oral presentations and/or demonstrations
  • if references will be contacted
  • determine content of standard reference questions to be used
  • who will contact references and report back to Evaluation Team
  • Procurement Lead should be at all Evaluation Team and SME meetings
16. If determined to be needed, references are contacted and asked a standard series of questions, the results of which are tabulated and summarized for review at the final evaluation meeting. All reference check information is retained for the official file.

17. Hold final Evaluation Team meeting to:
  • discuss reference report and evaluate/score,
  • discuss individual scores as necessary, (final scoring shall be the result of averaging all individual's scores, or based on consensus scoring of the group for each item), make cost proposal points available to Evaluation Team (if not already done)
  • summarize final results and attach to abstract,
  • determine whether to request a Best and Final Offer(s).

18. If determined by the Evaluation Team to be in the University’s best interests, a Best and Final Offer (see PRO-C-39) may be used (additional time should be allowed). Best and Final Offer can be used:

  • When no single response meets all requirements
  • When the cost of one or more proposers is too high
  • When the scores of two or more proposers require an additional level of evaluation
  • When all proposals are unclear or deficient in one or more areas
  • Or at the discretion of the Evaluation Team to clarify proposals, negotiate cost terms, or to further verify proposed deliverables. The Procurement Lead may independently initiate the BAFO process for reasons related to cost only to the proposed awarded vendor(s). (see  PRO-C-39
19. Evaluation Team disagreement.  Discussion of individual scores and summary scores are part of the final process. Serious disagreements or challenges to the process must be taken very seriously by the Procurement Lead. When such a challenge exists the Procurement Lead must notify the Director of Purchasing and then work to address the issue internally. If this is not satisfactory, the aggrieved party can formally submit their concerns to the State Compliance Officer either via mail to PO Box 8922 Madison, WI 53708-8922, or via phone at 866-203-8989. Procurement is frozen pending resolution of any issues. (see PRO-C-34).


20. Procurement Lead gathers score sheets from Evaluation Team members and they become part of the final record attached to the Abstract.

21. Prepare and process Intent to Award/Notice of Award letter (see IPP 21) if applicable.

22.  If necessary, Procurement Lead may enter into contract negotiation with the high scoring vendor(s) to resolve any remaining issues such as contract language. During this phase, Procurement Lead may not substantively change the original scope or deliverables established in the RFP.

23. If applicable, respond to any protests received (see IPP 22).

24. Prior to Intent to Award/Notice of Award or contract award, Procurement Lead assures that all Union and DOA approvals have been received.

25. Procurement Lead finalizes award, prepares contract and sends to awarded proposer(s) for signature.

REFERENCES:

State Procurement Manual:
PRO-A-4   - Procurement Plans
PRO-C-12 - Competitive Negotiation
PRO-C-29 - Evaluation Committee
PRO-C-34 - Evaluation Committee Problems/Issue Resolution
PRO-C 39 - Best and Final Offer Process and Procedures
PRO-C-40 - Evaluation Team Reports
Purchasing Services Policies and Procedures:
IPP 21 - Intent to Award Letter Process
IPP 22 - Protest of an Award Process (Services Only)
IPP 29 - Request for Purchasing Authority (RPA)
IPP 47 - Records, Public Access
IPP 60 - Contractual Services

Assurance of Compliance with Procedures and Ethical Guidelines for the Proposal Evaluation

Criteria for Outside Member RFP Evaluation Team

RFP Process, Basic Checklist

Evaluation Team Final Report

Requesting an Exception to the Rule

Procurement Plan Form

RFP Form