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.
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.
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.
on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 01:52 pm:
You can obtain information IAW
FOIA after the award but not during the solicitation process.
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.
on Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 02:34 pm:
Bob & Anonymous,Thanks!
Tina Casman on
Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 02:36 pm:
Ron Vogt on
Wednesday, April 11, 2001 - 04:16 pm:
Very good, J. Fisher, aka TINA
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
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.
Tina Farcas on
Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 02:26 pm:
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.
Faruk Casbah on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 02:46 pm:
In Arizona, I think they use a
deck of cards and high card wins.
Peter Ranstraw on Thursday, April 12, 2001 - 02:57 pm:
Are you asking about the equal low bids rule? Take a look at FAR
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
(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
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
(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.
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.
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!
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.
on Friday, April 13, 2001 - 08:53 am:
Anon Zed is correct
Mike on Friday,
April 20, 2001 - 01:13 am:
Below is a second thread added to this thread for continuity.
(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?
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.