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Disclosing the identify of offerors before and after selection.
By Tina Casman on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 09:29 am:

I would like to know what the rules are regarding access to the names of all companies responding to a particular solicitation. I am a bidder, having submitted a proposal in response to this solicitation, am I entitled to ask for (and receive) the names of other companies that have also responded to this solicitation PRIOR TO AWARD? If so, whom do I speak to about obtaining such information?  Likewise, how do I obtain such data AFTER AWARD?  Thanks, in advance, for any insight that is forthcoming.

By Anonymous on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 10:01 am:

If you submitted a sealed bid you may ask the contracting officer for a copy of the bid abstract. If you submitted a propopsal you are not entittled to know who other proposers are until after award. In most cases you will be notified of the intended awardee prior to award.

By bob antonio on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 01:47 pm:


This part of the FAR provides some specifics on what you may have. Look at 15.505 and 15.506.


By Anonymous on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 01:52 pm:

You can obtain information IAW FOIA after the award but not during the solicitation process.

By Dylan on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 02:20 pm:


The answer to your question depends on whether the procurement is being conducted under the rules for sealed bidding or competitive negotiation. I presume from the wording of your question that the procurement is being conducted under the rules for competitive negotiation.

FAR 15.505(f)says that during a preaward debriefing a contracting officer may not disclose: (1) the number of offerors (firms that responded to the solicitation by submitting proposals) and (2) the identities of offerors. Presumably, this is a general prohibition against release of the list of offerors prior to award.

After award, just ask for the list. The FAR does not require the contracting officer to identify any offeror other than the winner, but it does not prohibit the contracting officer from doing so. If the contracting officer refuses to provide the list, then make a Freedom of Information Act request.

By Tina Casman on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 02:34 pm:

Bob & Anonymous,Thanks!

By Tina Casman on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 02:36 pm:

Dylan Too!

By Ron Vogt on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 04:16 pm:

Very good, J. Fisher, aka TINA CASman.

By Anonymous on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 02:01 pm:

I have received 2 quotes on an RFQ under $25,000 for a Service Contract project. I know the determination can be handled with the toss of a coin with both parties present.

Will you please tell me where the FAR reference is so I make sure I'm correct and to show the Contractors the reference when they come to my office.

Thank you.

By Tina Farcas on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 02:26 pm:

Say What???????

I don't know about you really smart and experienced folks out there, but I'll need some more info before I tackle this one.

By Faruk Casbah on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 02:46 pm:

In Arizona, I think they use a deck of cards and high card wins.

By Peter Ranstraw on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 02:57 pm:


Are you asking about the equal low bids rule? Take a look at FAR 14.408-6.

By Faruk Casbah on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 03:02 pm:

14.408-6 Equal low bids.

(a) Contracts shall be awarded in the following order of priority when two or more low bids are equal in all respects:

(1) Small business concerns that are also labor surplus area concerns.

(2) Other small business concerns.

(3) Other business concerns.

(b) If two or more bidders still remain equally eligible after application of paragraph (a) of this section, award shall be made
by a drawing by lot limited to those bidders. If time permits, the bidders involved shall be given an opportunity to attend the
drawing. The drawing shall be witnessed by at least three persons, and the contract file shall contain the names and
addresses of the witnesses and the person supervising the drawing.

(c) When an award is to be made by using the priorities under this 14.408-6, the contracting officer shall include a written
agreement in the contract that the contractor will perform, or cause to be performed, the contract in accordance with the
circumstances justifying the priority used to break the tie or select bids for a drawing by lot.


By formerfed on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 03:32 pm:

OK, now that we have FAR part 14 rules, what happens when equal proposals are received under FAR 15? Remember quotes are not sealed bids.

By Tina Farcas on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 04:04 pm:

Whew!! I think formerfed hit the nail on the head.

See, I told you I was in beyond my limit.

That's good. Faruk Casbuh. Tee, Hee!

By Anon Zed on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 04:48 pm:


You negotiate to see who'll give you the best deal. Sooner or later one of them will give you a better deal than the other. You don't flip a coin or draw lots.

By Anonymous on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 08:53 am:

Anon Zed is correct

By Mike on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 01:13 am:

(NOTE:  Below is a second thread added to this thread for continuity.  Webmaster.)

(I started a new posting re: this, because the original posting got a little of track - not criticizing, just commenting.)

In Tina's posting, she asked if she could get the names of offerors before and after closing (or opening). My comments apply to competitive procurements. Some posters commented that she should be able to get the names of other offerors after award. I disagree.

The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 1997, Pub.L. 104-201 amended the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949 to prohibit disclosure under the FOIA of proposals in a competitive procurement. The legislation excepted proposals set forth or incorporated by reference in an awarded contract; these may be released.

This act prohibited the disclosure of proposals. The offerors name is part of that proposal, so I have not been releasing that info., even when requested under FOIA.

Does anyone agree/disagree?


By carol elliott on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 01:46 pm:

I disagree. There is a world of difference between disclosure of proposals and the offerors name. The winning offeror's proposal is not released under FOIA unless incorporated into the contract, but the offeror's name, price and other elements of the contract are released.

During post-award debriefings, FAR 15.506(d)(3) requires disclosure of the overall ranking of all offerors if the agency developed a ranking during source selection. This tells me that you disclose who the other offerors are. Otherwise, you would just disclose the ranking of the firm being debriefed. Telling an offeror that they were ranked 3 out of 5 does not disclose the ranking of all offerors.

By Anonymous on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 01:54 pm:

I believe that if proposals have been ranked, then the debriefing can give the rankings such that the debriefed offeror will know where they fell in the overall rank. Do not believe debriefings should identify the names of the offerors.

By carol elliott on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 04:35 pm:

If the intent is to only let them know how they did why does FAR say, "The overall ranking of ALL offerors, ...."?

Providing them with the ranking of their firm only gives them the overall ranking of one firm.

You can get out of it by not ranking the offerors, but why.

By joel hoffman on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 05:46 pm:

Carol, see page 83 of the AMC Best Practices Guide to Best Value Source Selection at:

It advises to use numerical or adjectival descriptions for the offerors - not names.

Happy Sails! Joel

By anon4 on Monday, April 23, 2001 - 09:13 am:


Joel's reference to AMC best practices and a review of the page Joel cited does recommend a numrical, alphanumerical, or adjectival annotation of the offerors. Also, I have noticed when reviewing protests, the GAO, usually refers to them as Offeror A, B, C, D, etc., uses the awardee's name, and the protestor's name in describing the placement of how offerors are rank in the source selection.

By carol elliott on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 01:39 pm:

Thanks for the info. Working for a civilian agency, my guidance on debriefing stops at the FAR. The AMC Guide clearly recommends that the names of other unsuccessful offerors not be disclosed.

Prior to the FAR rewrite I didn't disclose the names of the unsuccessful offerors, but I thought this was changed by the rewrite. I stand corrected.

Does anyone have any insight on why this information is withheld? Is there a statutory requirement or case law? If it's a policy, what's the driver behind the policy? Is is just a holdover from previous practices? Is the policy an AMC policy, DOD, or are most agencies following this practice?

I can live with being wrong on the issue. (it's not the first time nor will it be the last) What I hate are following rules when I don't understand the logic behind them. Please help me understand, why the offerors names should be withheld.

By formerfed on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 01:51 pm:

The only thing I can come up with is the agency isn't out of the protest woods yet. What if all the offeror identities were disclosed and a protest was sustained? The agency is perhaps forced to re-open the procurement and everyone knows who all the players are.

I agree with you Carol. It's easier if I understood the logic behind the rules.

By Linda Koone on Tuesday, April 24, 2001 - 04:16 pm:


I think Mike stated the basis for the prohibition. It is clearly stated at 10 USC 2305(g) and FAR 24.202.

I'm in DoD and our office of counsel interprets the FOIA restriction to include names of unsuccessful offerors.