23 CFR § 636.115 - May I meet with industry to gather information concerning the appropriate risk allocation strategies?

§ 636.115 May I meet with industry to gather information concerning the appropriate risk allocation strategies?

(a) Yes, information exchange at an early project stage is encouraged if it facilitates your understanding of the capabilities of potential offerors. However, any exchange of information must be consistent with State procurement integrity requirements. Interested parties include potential offerors, end users, acquisition and supporting personnel, and others involved in the conduct or outcome of the acquisition.

(b) The purpose of exchanging information is to improve the understanding of your requirements and industry capabilities, thereby allowing potential offerors to judge whether or how they can satisfy your requirements, and enhancing your ability to obtain quality supplies and services, including construction, at reasonable prices, and increase efficiency in proposal preparation, proposal evaluation, negotiation, and contract award.

(c) An early exchange of information can identify and resolve concerns regarding the acquisition strategy, including proposed contract type, terms and conditions, and acquisition planning schedules. This also includes the feasibility of the requirement, including performance requirements, statements of work, and data requirements; the suitability of the proposal instructions and evaluation criteria, including the approach for assessing past performance information; the availability of reference documents; and any other industry concerns or questions. Some techniques to promote early exchanges of information are as follows:

(1) Industry or small business conferences;

(2) Public hearings;

(3) Market research;

(4) One-on-one meetings with potential offerors (any meetings that are substantially involved with potential contract terms and conditions should include the contracting officer; also see paragraph (e) of this section regarding restrictions on disclosure of information);

(5) Presolicitation notices;

(6) Draft RFPs;

(7) Request for Information (RFI) ;

(8) Presolicitation or preproposal conferences; and

(9) Site visits.

(d) RFIs may be used when you do not intend to award a contract, but want to obtain price, delivery, other market information, or capabilities for planning purposes. Responses to these notices are not offers and cannot be accepted to form a binding contract. There is no required format for an RFI.

(e) When specific information about a proposed acquisition that would be necessary for the preparation of proposals is disclosed to one or more potential offerors, that information shall be made available to all potential offerors as soon as practicable, but no later than the next general release of information, in order to avoid creating an unfair competitive advantage. Information provided to a particular offeror in response to that offeror's request must not be disclosed if doing so would reveal the potential offeror's confidential business strategy. When a presolicitation or preproposal conference is conducted, materials distributed at the conference should be made available to all potential offerors, upon request.