on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 04:41 pm:
After administering contracts for
years, I've now been assigned to preaward. I've read most of the
posts on oral presentations but still do not completely
understand the "how to". I would like to have some information
to be submitted in writing and some verbally. Would it be
acceptable to evaluate both under the same factor? For example,
have the offerors submit resumes and then evaluate the
capability of the personnel based on the resume (looks good in
writing) and the personnel's knowledge as demonstrated in the
oral presentation. The factor in this case would be personnel
on Monday, December 04, 2000 - 05:43 pm:
Yes, it would be okay to evaluate personnel capability on the
basis of both resumes and oral presentations. FAR does not
Use the information in the resumes to evaluate the proposed
personnel's experience and past performance and the oral
presentations to evaluate their understanding of the work.
Experience, past performance, and understanding of the work
would thus be subfactors of personnel capability.
Your RFP should describe the relative importance of each of the
personnel capability subfactors.
on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 07:45 am:
What if I also have a technical
plan submitted and during the oral presentation I want the
offerors to address specific topics which would be more in depth
than what was asked for in the plan or something that they
weren't asked to address in the plan, but which would lead to
total understanding of the plan by the evaluators. The factor
would be plan viability. Could I evaluate the viability of the
plan based on the written technical plan and on the oral
presentation? Thus, I would be using the oral presentation to
evaluate two different subfactors: personnel capability and plan
viability. Is this acceptable?
on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 08:02 am:
Before I can answer you I need some more information.
Why are you asking for a written technical plan? Do you intend
to make the plan a part of the contract so that it will be
binding, or do you want it for some other reason? On what basis
are you going to evaluate the plan? What's the evaluation
on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 10:54 am:
The plan will be made a part of
the contract. The evaluation factor would be capability. Plan
viability would be the subfactor.
on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 11:39 am:
Since you intend to make the plan a part of the contract, my
advice is to avoid addressing it during oral presentations. In
doing so you might inadvertently allow an offeror to orally
revise its plan or state its intention to do so. Such an
exchange about prospectively binding promises would almost
certainly constitute discussions and require you to conduct
discussions with all offerors in a competitive range.
FAR 15.102 says that statements that will be included in the
contract must be put in writing. Although FAR does not prohibit
you from addressing such things in oral presentations, I believe
that oral presentations should not be used in that way. They are
best reserved for the presentation of information pertaining to
offeror capability that will not be incorporated into the
on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 01:16 pm:
I understand. What if a plan is
not made part of a contract, but you still want a plan submitted
in writing as part of the proposal? Could you then ask for the
offerors to address topics which would be more in depth than
what was required in writing and use both the oral and written
to evaluate how effective the approach proposed would be in
procuding a quality outcome?
on Tuesday, December 05, 2000 - 04:13 pm:
Yes, and I think that would be a better approach than making the
plan a part of the contract. And I would skip the written plan
entirely. Why do both?
Require each offeror to have its proposed key personnel present
their plan and use their presentation to test their
understanding of your requirement. This should be a capability
subfactor. Ask the presenters questions to probe the depth of
State in the RFP that because you are using the presentations as
tests you will not discuss the presentations if you decide to
conduct discussions. The GAO has approved that approach.
joel hoffman on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 12:39 am:
Anon and Vern, Why ask for a
written plan at all, if it won't become part of the contract?
You can have the plan presented dural the oral presentation...
on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 08:02 am:
That's the same question that I asked. Check the second and
third sentences of my last message.
on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 11:02 am:
out of curiosity, if one were
getting a tech proposal that was to be incorporated into the
contract, couldn't you ask WHY a particular approach was used
during orals? I am thinking mainly of RDT&E where there might be
more than one means of solving a problem and the contractor's
technical approach is critical. For example, if a weight
critical item is proposed to be made out of carved plastics vs
metals there are plusses and minuses to that approach and one
might very much want the contractor to show depth of
understanding the situation by orally explaining what they
did/did not consider in making their choice. The first (plastic
vs metal) would be part of the contract, but the WHY would not -
but would be a significant plus for the Govt to know if the
contractor really does understand what they are doing.
on Wednesday, December 06, 2000 - 12:13 pm:
Yes, you could ask why an approach was used, and that question
would be clarification, not discussion, as long as you didn't
let the offeror change its proposal. We have GAO case law to
that effect, in the Development Alternatives, Inc.
decision of a couple of years ago.
However, in my opinion it's not a good idea to use oral
presentations as a way to make inquiries about statements that
are to be made a part of the contract. I don't think that oral
presentations should be used as a forum for clarifications or
discussions about previously submitted proposal information. I
think it's too risky and that an agency can too easily cross the
line into discussions.
I want to make it clear that this is my personal approach. The
FAR does not prohibit obtaining clarification during an oral
presentation, as the Development Alternatives decision
demonstrates. You can even combine oral presentations with
discussions. I just don't think it's a good idea, for reasons
that I have explained in the past.
joel hoffman on Thursday, December 07, 2000 - 12:02 am:
I believe I'd use orals to have
the offerors demonstrate their understanding of contract
requirements and for me to judge their skills or qualifications;
I'd steer away from duplicating or clarifying their written
proposals. Just my preference. If I want to know their proposed
technical approach - and if I want that part of the proposal to
be incorporated into the contract - I'll ask for it in the
written material. I personally think it a waste of time to ask
someone to provide an oral technical approach. That's a
meaningless sales pitch, which I can't hold them to later. Happy
on Thursday, December 07, 2000 - 11:18 am:
What I was trying to get to isn't
in my mind clarifications. The Government might well understand
exactly what the contractor is proposing to do. What the orals
would be for in my scenario would be to demonstrate that the
contractor does, in fact, understand the plusses/ minuses to
their particular approach and has the competence to deal with
the known and theoretically the unknown issues that will arise
(in RDT&E it's the rare case where everything goes as planned).
In other words, the intent of the orals would be to determine if
the contractor has enough "depth" of competence to really
accomplish what they have said they will do. In my mind, that
was pretty much what Oral presentations were intended to do.
on Thursday, December 07, 2000 - 12:10 pm:
I think it's pretty clear that you can use oral presentations
for the purpose that you describe. It's simply my personal
preference not to conduct oral presentations about an offeror's
offer, that is, about the things that will become a part of the
contract. I say that because I want to maintain a sharp
distinction between oral presentations, on the one hand, and
discussions or clarifications, on the other.
But I don't think that there is anything wrong about your idea.
on Thursday, December 07, 2000 - 12:22 pm:
There is an excellent Air Force prepared guide available on the
Put "oral presentations" into the search. Look under "Air Force
One issue that hasn't been raised in this discussion is the need
to document the oral presentation.
See J&J Maintenance, Inc. B-284708.2; B-284708.3, June 5, 2000.
“In this regard, we rely primarily on the documentation required
by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). Specifically, FAR
§15.305(a) requires agencies to document in the contract file
the relative strengths, deficiencies, significant weaknesses,
and risks supporting proposal evaluation. Of particular
relevance to this case, FAR §15.102(e) requires the contracting
officer to maintain a record of oral presentations to document
what the agency relied upon in making the source selection
decision. The source selection authority selects the method of
recording the oral presentations, and FAR §15.102(e) gives the
following examples: videotaping, audio tape recording, written
record, Government notes, copies of offeror briefing slides or
presentation notes. In addition, FAR §15.308 requires that a
source selection decision be documented, and that the
documentation include the rationale for any business judgments
or tradeoffs made or relied on.”