04-26

Procurement Notice


June 21, 2007

NASA SOURCE SELECTION GUIDE

 

PURPOSE: To provide an agency-wide source selection guide and to add a limitation regarding participation in proposal evaluations or selection decisions.  

 

BACKGROUND:  This PN revises the NASA FAR Supplement (NFS) to add the following:

   (1) A link to the electronic version of the NASA Source Selection Guide.  A team of Headquarters and Center procurement and legal representatives developed the Source Selection Guide to provide agency-wide guidance to individuals participating in the SEB process.  The source evaluation and selection process covered by this guide is intended to emphasize the use of sound business judgment and to delineate the roles and responsibilities of SEB members to conduct their activities impartially and effectively.

   (2) A policy that an employee may not participate in a proposal evaluation or selection decision if the employee, or the employee’s spouse or minor child, has any direct or indirect financial, beneficial, or employment interests in any company participating, or expected to participate, in the acquisition. 

 

ACQUISITIONS AFFECTED BY CHANGES:  The Guide is applicable to acquisitions identified in 1815.300-70 and the participation limitation is applicable to all acquisitions.   

 

ACTION REQUIRED BY CONTRACTING OFFICERS:  Advise all SEB participants of the availability of the Source Selection Guide to aid them in understanding the source selection evaluation process and cognizant roles and responsibilities. 

 

CLAUSE CHANGES:  None.

 

PARTS AFFECTED:  Parts 1803 and 1815.

 

REPLACEMENT PAGES:  You may use the enclosed pages to replace Part 1803, and pages 15:7  thru 15:16 of the NFS.

 

TYPE OF RULE AND PUBLICATION DATE:  These changes do not have a significant effect beyond the internal operating procedures of NASA and do not have a significant cost or administrative impact on contractors or offerors, and therefore do not require codification in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) or publication for public comment.

 

HEADQUARTERS CONTACT:  Marilyn J. Seppi, Contract Management Division; 202-358-0447, email:  marilyn.seppi-1@nasa.gov.

 

 

Sheryl Godddard

Acting Assistant Administrator for Procurement

 

Enclosures

 

DISTRIBUTION LIST:

  PN List 



PART 1803
IMPROPER BUSINESS PRACTICES
AND PERSONAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

SUBPART      1803.1            SAFEGUARDS
1803.101                                 Standards of conduct.
1803.101-1                              General.
1803.101-2                              Solicitation and acceptance of gratuities by Government
                                                   personnel.
1803.104                                 Procurement integrity.
1803.104-1                              Definitions.
1803.104-4                              Disclosure, protection, and marking of contractor bid or proposal

                                                  information and source selection information.
1803.104-7                              Violations or possible violations.

1803.104-70                            Restrictions on NASA personnel participating in proposal

                                                  evaluations or selection decisions.

 

SUBPART      1803.2            CONTRACTOR GRATUITIES TOGOVERNMENT
                                                  PERSONNEL
1803.203                                 Reporting suspected violations of the Gratuities clause.

 

SUBPART      1803.3            REPORTS OF SUSPECTED ANTITRUST
                                                  VIOLATIONS
1803.303                                 Reporting suspected antitrust violations.

 

SUBPART      1803.5            OTHER IMPROPER BUSINESS PRACTICES
1803.502                                 Subcontractor kickbacks.

 

SUBPART      1803.6             CONTRACTS WITH GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES
                                                  OR ORGANIZATIONS OWNED OR
                                                  CONTROLLED BY THEM
1803.602                                 Exceptions.

 

SUBPART      1803.7             VOIDING AND RESCINDING CONTRACTS
1803.704                                 Policy.
1803.705                                 Procedures.

 

SUBPART      1803.8             LIMITATION ON THE PAYMENT OF FUNDS TO                                                                                                                                                INFLUENCE FEDERAL TRANSACTIONS
1803.804                                 Policy.
1803.806                                 Processing suspected violations.

 

SUBPART       1803.70          IG HOTLINE POSTERS
1803.7000                               Policy.
1803.7001                               Contract clause.

 

 

PART 1803
IMPROPER BUSINESS PRACTICES
AND PERSONAL CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

 

Subpart 1803.1--Safeguards

 

1803.101   Standards of conduct.

1803.101-1   General.
     The statutory prohibitions and their application to NASA personnel are discussed in the Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, 5 CFR Part 2635, and the Supplemental Standards of Ethical Conduct for Employees of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 5 CFR Part 6901.  All NASA personnel involved in acquisitions shall become familiar with these statutory prohibitions. Any questions concerning them shall be referred to legal counsel.  In addition to criminal penalties, the statutes provide that transactions entered into in violation of these prohibitions are voidable (18 U.S.C. 218).

1803.101-2   Solicitation and acceptance of gratuities by Government personnel.
     Any suspected violations shall be reported promptly to the installation's Office of Inspector General.

 

1803.104   Procurement integrity.

 

1803.104-1   Definitions.
     "Agency ethics official" means for Headquarters, the General Counsel and the Associate General Counsel for General Law, and for each center, the Chief Counsel.

 

1803.104-4 Disclosure, protection, and marking of contractor bid or proposal information and source selection information.
     (a)  Government employees serving in the following positions are authorized access to proprietary or source selection information, but only to the extent necessary to perform their official duties.
            (i)   Personnel participating in source evaluation board (SEB) procedures (see 1815.370) or personnel evaluating an offeror's or bidder's technical or cost proposal under other competitive procedures, and personnel evaluating protests.
            (ii)  Personnel assigned to the contracting office.
            (iii) The initiator of the procurement request (to include the official having principal technical cognizance over the requirement).
            (iv) Small business specialists.
            (v)  Personnel assigned to counsel's office.

            (vi) Personnel assigned to the Defense Contract Audit Agency and contract administration offices of the Department of Defense.
            (vii) Personnel responsible for the review and approval of documents in accordance with the Master Buy Plan Procedure in Subpart 1807.71.
            (viii) Other Government employees authorized by the contracting officer.
            (ix)  Supervisors, at any level, of the personnel listed in paragraphs 1803.104-4(a)(i) through (viii).
            (x)   Duly designated ombudsman.

   (c)(i)   The originator of information that may be source selection information shall consult with the contracting officer or the procurement officer, who shall determine whether the information is source selection information. NASA personnel responsible for preparing source selection information as defined in FAR 2.101 shall assure that the material is marked with the legend in FAR 3.104-4(c) at the time the material is prepared.
       (ii)  Unless marked with the legend "SOURCE SELECTION INFORMATION -- SEE FAR 2.101 and 3.104," draft specifications, purchase descriptions, and statements of work are not considered source selection information and may be released during a market survey in order to determine the capabilities of potential competitive sources (see FAR Subpart 7.1). All documents, once released, must remain available to the public until the conclusion of the acquisition.

 

1803.104-7  Violations or possible violations.
  (a)(1)  The Procurement Officer is the individual designated to receive the contracting officer's report of violations.
  (b)  The head of the contracting activity (HCA) or designee shall refer all information describing an actual or possible violation to the installation's counsel and inspector general staff and to the Assistant Administrator for Procurement.
  (f)  When the HCA or designee determines that award is justified by urgent and compelling circumstances or is otherwise in the interest of the Government, then that official shall submit a copy of the determination to the Assistant Administrator for Procurement simultaneous with transmittal to the Administrator.

 

1803.104-70 Restrictions on NASA personnel participating in proposal evaluations or selection decisions.

   For acquisitions of any dollar value, an employee may not participate in a proposal evaluation or selection decision if the employee, or the employee’s spouse or minor child, has any direct or indirect financial, beneficial, or employment interests in any company participating, or expected to participate, in the acquisition.  Direct or indirect financial interests are determined through the employee filing of a Public or Confidential Financial Disclosure Report (SF-278 or OGE 450).  Notwithstanding any information to the contrary on these forms, if the employee discloses a financial interest in any dollar amount, the employee is prohibited from participating in the proposal evaluation and selection process.

Subpart 1803.2--Contract or Gratuities to Government Personnel

1803.203 Reporting suspected violations of the Gratuities clause.

   Any suspected violations of the clause at FAR 52.203-3, Gratuities, shall be reported to the installation's Office of Inspector General.

Subpart 1803.3--Reports of Suspected Antitrust Violations

1803.303   Reporting suspected antitrust violations.
 (b)(i)  When offers are received that, in the opinion of the contracting officer, indicate possible antitrust violations, the contracting officer shall report the circumstances to the General Counsel, NASA Headquarters, through the Office of Procurement (Code HS). Reports should not be submitted automatically but only when there is reason to believe the offers may not have been arrived at independently. These reports shall be submitted with conformed copies of bids or proposals, contract documents, and other supporting data, and shall set forth --
            (A) The noncompetitive pattern or situation under consideration;
            (B) Purchase experience in the same product or service for a reasonable period (one or more years) preceding receipt of the offers under consideration, including unit and total contract prices and abstracts of bids;
            (C) Community of financial interest among offerors, insofar as it is known;
            (D) The extent, if any, to which specification requirements or patents restrict competition;
            (E)  Any information available about the pricing system employed in offers believed to reflect noncompetitive practices; and
           (F) Any other pertinent information.
       (ii)  Evidence of practices that, in the opinion of the General Counsel, NASA Headquarters, may violate the antitrust laws shall be forwarded to the Attorney General of the United States (see FAR 3.303).
   (d) The contracting officer shall submit the identical bid report required by FAR 3.303(d) to NASA Headquarters, Office of Procurement (Code HS). The report shall include the reasons for suspecting collusion. Code HS shall forward a copy to the NASA Office of the Inspector General.

Subpart 1803.5--Other Improper Business Practices

1803.502 Subcontractor kickbacks.
 Contracting officers shall report suspected violations of the Anti-Kickback Act in accordance with 1809.470.

Subpart 1803.6--Contracts with Government Employees or
Organizations Owned or Controlled by Them

1803.602  Exceptions.
 The Assistant Administrator for Procurement has been delegated the authority to authorize an exception to the policy in FAR 3.601. The Assistant Administrator for Procurement has redelegated this authority to the heads of contracting activities (HCAs) for individual actions in the aggregate of $100,000 and below, inclusive of follow-on acquisitions, with concurrence by the HCA's Office of Chief Counsel.  All requests above the HCA's authority shall be forwarded to the Assistant Administrator for Procurement (Code HS) for approval.


Subpart 1803.7--Voiding and Rescinding Contracts

1803.704  Policy.
  (a) The Assistant Administrator for Procurement has been delegated authority to void or rescind contracts when there is a final conviction for violation of 18 U.S.C. 201-224 (Bribery, Graft and Conflicts of Interest) relating to them.

1803.705  Procedures.
   (a)  Procurement officers shall make reports to the Assistant Administrator for Procurement (Code HS). The Assistant Administrator for Procurement is responsible for the actions, notices, and decisions required by FAR 3.705(c), (d), and (e).

Subpart 1803.8--Limitation on the Payment of Funds
to Influence Federal Transactions

1803.804 Policy.
   (b) Procurement officers shall forward one copy of each Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL) furnished pursuant to FAR 3.803 to the Office of Procurement (Code HS). The original shall be retained in the contract file. Forms shall be submitted semi-annually by April 15th for the six-month period ending March 31st, and by October 15th for the period ending September 30th.

1803.806  Processing suspected violations.
   The Assistant Administrator for Procurement (Code HS) is the designated official to whom suspected violations of the Act shall be referred.

Subpart 1803.70--IG Hotline Posters

 

1803.7000 Policy.

   NASA requires contractors to display NASA hotline posters prepared by the NASA Office of Inspector General on those contracts specified in 1803.7001, so that employees of the contractor having knowledge of waste, fraud, or abuse, can readily identify a means to contact NASA's IG.

 

1803.7001 Contract clause.

   Contracting officers must insert the clause at 1852.203-70, Display of Inspector General Hotline Posters, in solicitations and contracts expected to exceed $5,000,000 and performed at contractor facilities in the United States.



1815.300-70 Applicability of subpart.

   (a)(1) Except as indicated in paragraph (b) of this section, NASA competitive negotiated acquisitions shall be conducted as follows:

            (i) Acquisitions of $50 million or more -- in accordance with FAR 15. 3 and this subpart.

            (ii) Other acquisitions -- in accordance with FAR 15.3 and this subpart except section 1815.370 and use of a mission suitability factor and numerical scoring is optional.

       (2) Estimated dollar values of acquisitions shall include the values of multiple awards, options, and later phases of the same project.

   (b) FAR 15. 3 and this subpart are not applicable to acquisitions conducted under the following procedures:

       (1) Announcements of Opportunity (see Part 1872).

       (2) NASA Research Announcements (see 1835.016-71).

       (3) The Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) program and the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) pilot program under the authority of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 638).

       (4) Architect and Engineering (A&E) services (see FAR 36.6 and 1836.6).

 

1815.303 Responsibilities.

   (a) The SSA shall be established at the lowest reasonable level for each acquisition. Notwithstanding the FAR designation of the contracting officer as SSA, the SSA for center acquisitions shall be established in accordance with center procedures.  For acquisitions designated

as Headquarters selections, the SSA will be identified as part of the Master Buy Plan process (see 1807.71).

   (b)(i) The source selection authority (SSA) is the Agency official responsible for proper and efficient conduct of the source selection process and for making the final source selection decision. The SSA has the following responsibilities in addition to those listed in the FAR:

            (A) Approve the source selection approach, rating method, evaluation factors, subfactors, the weight of the evaluation factors and subfactors when used, and any special standards of responsibility (see FAR 9.104-2) before release of the RFP, or delegate this authority to appropriate management personnel;

            (B) Appoint the source selection team.  However, when the Administrator will serve as the SSA, the Official-in-Charge of the cognizant Headquarters Program Office will appoint the team; and

            (C) Provide the source selection team with appropriate guidance and special instructions to conduct the evaluation and selection procedures.

   (b)(ii)  See 1803.104-70 for restrictions on participating in evaluation or selection of proposals.

   (b)(2) Approval authorities for Acquisition Plans and Procurement Strategy Meetings are in accordance with 1807.103.

 

1815.304 Evaluation factors and significant subfactors.

   (c)(4)(A) The extent of participation of small disadvantaged business (SDB) concerns shall be evaluated as a subfactor under the Mission Suitability factor.  If a Mission Suitability factor is not used, the SDB participation shall be evaluated as a separate factor or subfactor, as appropriate.

            (B) SDB concerns that choose the FAR 19.11 price evaluation adjustment shall receive the lowest possible score/rating under the FAR 15.304(c)(4) evaluation.

 

1815.304-70 NASA evaluation factors.

   (a) Typically, NASA establishes three evaluation factors:  Mission Suitability, Cost/Price, and Past Performance.  Evaluation factors may be further defined by subfactors.  Evaluation subfactors should be structured to identify significant discriminators, or "key swingers" - the essential information required to support a source selection decision.  Too many subfactors undermine effective proposal evaluation.  All evaluation subfactors should be clearly defined to avoid overlap and redundancy.

   (b) Mission Suitability factor.

       (1) This factor indicates the merit or excellence of the work to be performed or product to be delivered.  It includes, as appropriate, both technical and management subfactors.  Mission Suitability shall be numerically weighted and scored on a 1000-point scale. (See 1815.300-70(a)(1)(ii).)

       (2) The Mission Suitability factor may identify evaluation subfactors to further define the content of the factor.  Each Mission Suitability subfactor shall be weighted and scored.  The adjectival rating percentages in 1815.305(a)(3)(A) shall be applied to the subfactor weight to determine the point score.  The number of Mission Suitability subfactors is limited to five.  The Mission Suitability evaluation subfactors and their weights shall be identified in the RFP.

       (3) For cost reimbursement acquisitions, the Mission Suitability evaluation shall also include the results of any cost realism analysis.  The RFP shall notify offerors that the realism of proposed costs may significantly affect their Mission Suitability scores.

       (4) If the solicitation requires the submission of a Safety and Health Plan (see 1823.7001(c) and NPR 8715.3, NASA Safety Manual, Appendix H), safety and health must be a consideration in the evaluation.  The Mission Suitability factor, if used, shall include a subfactor for safety and health.

   (c) Cost/Price factor.  This factor evaluates the reasonableness and, if necessary, the cost realism, of proposed costs/prices.  The Cost/Price factor is not numerically weighted or scored.

   (d) Past Performance factor.

       (1) This factor indicates the relevant quantitative and qualitative aspects of each offeror's record of performing services or delivering products similar in size, content, and complexity to the requirements of the instant acquisition.

       (2) The RFP shall instruct offerors to submit data (including data from relevant Federal, State, and local governments and private contracts) that can be used to evaluate their past performance.  Typically, the RFP will require:

            (i) A list of contracts similar in size, content, and complexity to the instant acquisition, showing each contract number, the type of contract, a brief description of the work, and a point of contact from the organization placing the contract.  Normally, the requested contracts are limited to those received in the last three years.  However, in acquisitions that require longer periods to demonstrate performance quality, such as hardware development, the time period should be tailored accordingly.

            (ii) The identification and explanation of any cost overruns or underruns, completion delays, performance problems, and terminations. 

       (3) The contracting officer may start collecting past performance data before proposal receipt.  One method for early evaluation of past performance is to request offerors to submit their past performance information in advance of the proposal due date.  The RFP could also include a past performance questionnaire for offerors to send their previous customers with instructions to return the completed questionnaire to the Government.  Failure of the offeror to submit its past performance information early or of the customers to submit the completed questionnaires shall not be a cause for rejection of the proposal nor shall it be reflected in the Government's evaluation of the offeror's past performance.

       (4) The contracting officer shall evaluate the offeror's past performance in occupational health, security, safety, and mission success (e.g., mishap rates and problems in delivered hardware and software that resulted in mishaps or failures) when these areas are germane to the requirement.

 

1815.305 Proposal evaluation.

   (a) Each proposal shall be evaluated to identify and document:

       (i) Any deficiencies;

       (ii) All strengths and significant weaknesses;

       (iii) The numerical score and/or adjectival rating of each Mission Suitability subfactor and for the Mission Suitability factor in total, if applicable;

       (iv) Cost realism, if appropriate;

       (v) The Past Performance evaluation factor; and

       (vi) Any programmatic risk to mission success, e.g., technical, schedule, cost, safety, occupational health, security, export control, or environmental.  Risks may result from the offeror's technical approach, manufacturing plan, selection of materials, processes, equipment, or as a result of the cost, schedule, and performance impacts associated with its approach.  Risk evaluations must consider the probability of the risk occurring, the impact and severity of the risk, the timeframe when the risk should be addressed, and the alternatives available to meet the requirements.  Risk assessments shall be considered in determining Mission Suitability strengths, weaknesses, deficiencies, and numerical or adjectival ratings. Identified risks and the potential for cost impact shall be considered in the cost or price evaluation.

   (a)(1) Cost or price evaluation.

            (A) Cost or pricing data shall not be requested in competitive acquisitions.  See 1815.403-1(b)(1) and 1815.403-3(b).

            (B) When contracting on a basis other than firm-fixed-price, the contracting officer shall perform price and cost realism analyses to assess the reasonableness and realism of the proposed costs.   A cost realism analysis will determine if the costs in an offeror's proposal are realistic for the work to be performed, reflect a clear understanding of the requirements, and are consistent with the various elements of the offeror's technical proposal.  The analysis should include:

                 (a) The probable cost to the Government of each proposal, including any recommended additions or reductions in materials, equipment, labor hours, direct rates, and indirect rates.  The probable cost should reflect the best estimate of the cost of any contract which might result from that offeror's proposal.

                 (b) The differences in business methods, operating procedures, and practices as they affect cost.

                 (c) A level of confidence in the probable cost assessment for each proposal.  

            (C) The cost realism analysis may result in adjustments to Mission Suitability scores in accordance with the procedure described in 1815.305(a)(3)(B).

   (a)(2) Past performance evaluation.

            (A) The Past Performance evaluation assesses the contractor's performance under previously awarded contracts.

            (B) The evaluation may be limited to specific areas of past performance considered most germane for the instant acquisition.  It may include any or all of the items listed in FAR 42.1501, and/or any other aspects of past performance considered pertinent to the solicitation requirements or challenges.  Regardless of the areas of past performance selected for evaluation, the same areas shall be evaluated for all offerors in that acquisition. 

            (C) Questionnaires and interviews may be used to solicit assessments of the offeror's performance, as either a prime or subcontractor, from the offeror's previous customers.

            (D) All pertinent information, including customer assessments and any offeror rebuttals, will be made part of the source selection records and included in the evaluation.

   (a)(3) Technical Evaluation.

            (A) Mission Suitability subfactors and the total Mission Suitability factor shall be evaluated using the following adjectival ratings, definitions, and percentile ranges.

 

ADJECTIVAL RATING

DEFINITIONS

PERCENTILE RANGE

 

Excellent

A comprehensive and thorough proposal of exceptional merit with one or more significant strengths. No deficiency or significant weakness exists.                   

 

91-100

 

Very Good

A proposal having no deficiency and which demonstrates over-all competence.  One or more significant strengths have been found, and strengths outbalance any weaknesses that exist.              

 

71-90

 

Good

A proposal having no deficiency and which shows a reasonably sound response.  There may be strengths or weaknesses, or both.  As a whole, weaknesses not off-set by strengths do not significantly detract from the offeror’s response.      

 

51-70

Fair

A proposal having no deficiency and which has one or more weaknesses. Weaknesses outbalance any strengths.

31-50

 

Poor

A proposal that has one or more deficiencies or significant  weaknesses that demonstrate a lack of overall competence or would require a major proposal revision to correct.

 

0-30

 

            (B) When contracting on a cost reimbursement basis, the Mission Suitability evaluation shall reflect the results of any required cost realism analysis performed under the cost/price factor.  A structured approach shall be used to adjust Mission Suitability scores based on the degree of assessed cost realism.  An example of such an approach would:

                 (a) Establish a threshold at which Mission Suitability adjustments would start.  The threshold should reflect the acquisition's estimating uncertainty (i.e., the higher the degree of estimating uncertainty, the higher the threshold);

                 (b) Use a graduated scale that proportionally adjusts a proposal's Mission Suitability score for its assessed cost realism;

                 (c) Affect a significant number of points to induce realistic pricing.

                 (d) Calculate a Mission Suitability point adjustment based on the percentage difference between proposed and probable cost as follows:

 

Services

Hardware Development

Point Adjustment

 +/- 5 percent

 +/- 30 percent

0

 +/- 6 to 10 percent

 +/- 31 to 40 percent

-50

 +/- 11 to 15 percent

 +/- 41 to 50 percent

-100

 +/- 16 to 20 percent

 +/- 51 to 60 percent

-150

 +/- 21 to 30 percent

 +/- 61 to 70 percent

-200

 +/- more than 30 percent

 +/- more than 70 percent

-300

 

   (a)(4) The cost or price evaluation, specifically the cost realism analysis, often requires a technical evaluation of proposed costs.  Contracting officers may provide technical evaluators a copy of the cost volume or relevant information from it to use in the analysis.

   (b) The contracting officer is authorized to make the determination to reject all proposals received in response to a solicitation.

 

1815.305-70 Identification of unacceptable proposals.

   (a) The contracting officer shall not complete the initial evaluation of any proposal when it is determined that the proposal is unacceptable because:

       (1) It does not represent a reasonable initial effort to address the essential requirements of the RFP or clearly demonstrates that the offeror does not understand the requirements;

       (2) In research and development acquisitions, a substantial design drawback is evident in the proposal, and sufficient correction or improvement to consider the proposal acceptable would require virtually an entirely new technical proposal; or

       (3) It contains major deficiencies or omissions or out-of-line costs which discussions with the offeror could not reasonably be expected to cure.

   (b) The contracting officer shall document the rationale for discontinuing the initial evaluation of a proposal in accordance with this section.

 

1815.305-71 Evaluation of a single proposal.

   (a) If only one proposal is received in response to the solicitation, the contracting officer shall determine if the solicitation was flawed or unduly restrictive and determine if  the single proposal is an acceptable proposal.  Based on these findings, the SSA shall direct the contracting officer to:

       (1) Award without discussions provided the contracting officer determines that adequate price competition exists (see FAR 15.403-1(c)(1)(ii));

       (2) Award after negotiating an acceptable contract.  (The requirement for submission of cost or pricing data shall be determined in accordance with FAR 15.403-1); or

       (3) Reject the proposal and cancel the solicitation.

   (b) The procedure in 1815.305-71(a) also applies when the number of proposals equals the number of awards contemplated or when only one acceptable proposal is received.

 

1815.306 Exchanges with offerors after receipt of proposals.

   (c)(2) A total of no more than three proposals shall be a working goal in establishing the competitive range.  Field installations may establish procedures for approval of competitive range determinations commensurate with the complexity or dollar value of an acquisition.

   (d)(3)(A) The contracting officer shall identify any cost/price elements that do not appear to be justified and encourage offerors to submit their most favorable and realistic cost/price proposals, but shall not discuss, disclose, or compare cost/price elements of any other offeror.  The contracting officer should question inadequate, conflicting, unrealistic, or unsupported cost information; differences between the offeror's proposal and most probable cost assessments; cost realism concerns; differences between audit findings and proposed costs; proposed rates that are too high/low; and labor mixes that do not appear responsive to the requirements.  No agreement on cost/price elements or a "bottom line " is necessary.

            (B) The contracting officer shall discuss contract terms and conditions so that a "model" contract can be sent to each offeror with the request for final proposal revisions.  If the solicitation allows, any proposed technical performance capabilities above those specified in the RFP that have value to the Government and are considered proposal strengths should be discussed with the offeror and proposed for inclusion in that offeror’s "model" contract. If the offeror declines to include these strengths in its "model" contract, the Government evaluators should reconsider their characterization as strengths. 

   (e)(1) In no case shall the contracting officer relax or amend RFP requirements for any offeror without amending the RFP and permitting the other offerors an opportunity to propose against the relaxed requirements.

 

1815.307 Proposal revisions.

   (b)(i) The request for final proposal revisions (FPRs) shall also:

            (A) Instruct offerors to incorporate all changes to their offers resulting from discussions, and require clear traceability from initial proposals;

            (B) Require offerors to complete and execute the "model" contract, which includes any special provisions or performance capabilities the offeror proposed above those specified in the RFP;

            (C) Caution offerors against unsubstantiated changes to their proposals; and

            (D) Establish a page limit for FPRs.

       (ii) Approval of the Assistant Administrator for Procurement (Code HS) is required to reopen discussions for acquisitions of $50 million or more. Approval of the procurement officer is required for all other acquisitions.

       (iii) Proposals are rescored or rerated based on FPR evaluations.  Scoring or rating changes between initial and FPRs shall be clearly traceable.

 

1815.308 Source selection decision.

   (1) All significant evaluation findings shall be fully documented and considered in the source selection decision.  A clear and logical audit trail shall be maintained for the rationale for ratings and scores, including a detailed account of the decisions leading to the selection.  Selection is made on the basis of the evaluation criteria established in the RFP.

   (2) Before award, the SSA shall sign a source selection statement that clearly and succinctly justifies the selection.  Source selection statements must describe:  the acquisition; the evaluation procedures; the substance of the Mission Suitability evaluation; and the evaluation of the Cost/Price and Past Performance factors.  The statement also addresses unacceptable proposals, the competitive range determination, late proposals, or any other considerations pertinent to the decision.  The statement shall not reveal any confidential business information.  Except for certain major system acquisition competitions (see 1815.506-70), source selection statements shall be releasable to competing offerors and the general public upon request.  The statement shall be available to the Debriefing Official to use in postaward debriefings of unsuccessful offerors and shall be provided to debriefed offerors upon request.

   (3) Once the selection decision is made, the contracting officer shall award the contract.

 

1815.370 NASA source evaluation boards.

   (a) The source evaluation board (SEB) procedures shall be used for those acquisitions identified in 1815.300-70(a)(1)(i).  The NASA Source Selection Guide provides agency-wide guidance to individuals participating in the Source Evaluation Board (SEB) process and is available at http://ec.msfc.nasa.gov/hq/library/sourceselection/guide.pdf.

   (b) The SEB assists the SSA by providing expert analyses of the offerors' proposals in relation to the evaluation factors and subfactors contained in the solicitation.  The SEB will prepare and present its findings to the SSA, avoiding trade-off judgments among either the individual offerors or among the evaluation factors. The SEB will not make recommendations for selection to the SSA.

   (c) Designation.

       (1) The SEB shall be comprised of competent individuals fully qualified to identify the strengths, weaknesses, and risks associated with proposals submitted in response to the solicitation.  The SEB shall be appointed as early as possible in the acquisition process, but not later than acquisition plan or acquisition strategy meeting approval.   

       (2) While SEB participants are normally drawn from the cognizant installation, personnel from other NASA installations or other Government agencies may participate.  When it is necessary to disclose the proposal (in whole or in part) outside the Government, approval shall be obtained in accordance with 1815.207-70.

       (3) When Headquarters retains SSA authority, the Headquarters Office of Procurement (Code HS) must concur on the SEB appointments.  Qualifications of voting members, including functional title, grade level, and related SEB experience, shall be provided.

   (d) Organization.

       (1) The organization of an SEB is tailored to the requirements of the particular acquisition.  This can range from the simplest situation, where the SEB conducts the evaluation and fact-finding without the use of committees or panels/consultants (as described in paragraphs (d)(4) and (5) of this section) to a highly complex situation involving a major acquisition where two or more committees are formed and these, in turn, are assisted by special panels or consultants in particular areas.  The number of committees or panels/consultants shall be kept to a minimum.   

       (2) The SEB Chairperson is the principal operating executive of the SEB.  The Chairperson is expected to manage the team efficiently without compromising the validity of the findings provided to the SSA as the basis for a sound selection decision.

       (3) The SEB Recorder functions as the principal administrative assistant to the SEB Chairperson and is principally responsible for logistical support and recordkeeping of SEB activities. 

       (4) An SEB committee functions as a factfinding arm of the SEB, usually in a broad grouping of related disciplines (e.g., technical or management).  The committee evaluates in detail each proposal, or portion thereof, assigned by the SEB in accordance with the approved evaluation factors and subfactors and summarizes its evaluation in a written report to the SEB.  The committee will also respond to requirements assigned by the SEB, including further justification or reconsideration of its findings.  Committee chairpersons shall manage the administrative and procedural matters of their committees.

       (5) An SEB panel or consultant functions as a factfinding arm of the committee in a specialized area of the committee's responsibilities.  Panels are established or consultants named when a particular area requires deeper analysis than the committee can provide.

       (6) The total of all such evaluators (committees, panels, consultants, etc. excluding SEB voting members and ex officio members) shall be limited to a maximum of 20, unless approved in writing by the procurement officer.

   (e) Voting members.  

       (1) Voting members of the SEB shall include people who will have key assignments on the project to which the acquisition is directed.  However, it is important that this should be tempered to ensure objectivity and to avoid an improper balance.  It may even be appropriate to designate a management official from outside the project as SEB Chairperson.

       (2) Non-government personnel shall not serve as voting members of an SEB.

       (3) The SEB shall review the findings of committees, panels, or consultants and use its own collective judgment to develop the SEB evaluation findings reported to the SSA.  All voting members of the SEB shall have equal status as rating officials.

       (4) SEB membership shall be limited to a maximum of 7 voting individuals.  Wherever feasible, an assignment to SEB membership as a voting member shall be on a full-time basis.  When not feasible, SEB membership shall take precedence over other duties.

       (5) The following people shall be voting members of all SEBs:

            (i) Chairperson.

            (ii) A senior, key technical representative for the project.

            (iii) An experienced procurement representative.

            (iv) A senior Safety & Mission Assurance (S&MA) representative, as appropriate.

            (v) Committee chairpersons (except where this imposes an undue workload).

   (f) Ex officio members.

       (1) The number of nonvoting ex officio (advisory) members shall be kept as small as possible. Ex officio members should be selected for the experience and expertise they can provide to the SEB.  Since their advisory role may require access to highly sensitive SEB material and findings, ex officio membership for persons other than those identified in paragraph (f)(3) of this section is discouraged.

       (2) Nonvoting ex officio members may state their views and contribute to the discussions in SEB deliberations, but they may not participate in the actual rating process.  However, the SEB recorder should be present during rating sessions.

       (3) For field installation selections, the following shall be nonvoting ex officio members on all SEBs:

            (i) Chairpersons of SEB committees, unless designated as voting members.

            (ii) The procurement officer of the installation, unless designated a voting member.

            (iii) The contracting officer responsible for the acquisition, unless designated a voting member.

            (iv) The Chief Counsel and/or designee of the installation.

            (v) The installation small business specialist.

            (vi) The SEB recorder.

   (g) Evaluation.

       (1) If committees are used, the SEB Chairperson shall send them the proposals or portions thereof to be evaluated, along with instructions regarding the expected function of each committee, and all data considered necessary or helpful.

       (2)  While oral reports may be given to the SEB, each committee shall submit a written report which should include the following:

            (i)  Copies of individual worksheets and supporting comments to the lowest level evaluated;

            (ii) An evaluation sheet summarized for the committee as a whole; and

            (iii) A statement for each proposal describing any strengths, deficiencies, or significant weaknesses which significantly affected the evaluation and stating any reservations or concerns, together with supporting rationale, which the committee or any of its members want to bring to the attention of the SEB.

       (3)     The SEB process must be adequately documented.  Clear traceability must exist at all levels of the SEB process.  All reports submitted by committees or panels will be retained as part of the SEB records.

       (4)  Each voting SEB member shall thoroughly review each proposal and any committee reports and findings.  The SEB shall rate or score the proposals for each evaluation factor and subfactor according to its own collective judgment.  SEB minutes shall reflect this evaluation process.

   (h)  SEB presentation. 

       (1) The SEB Chairperson shall brief the SSA on the results of the SEB deliberations to permit an informed and objective selection of the best source(s) for the particular acquisition.

       (2) The presentation shall focus on the significant strengths, deficiencies, and significant weaknesses found in the proposals, the probable cost of each proposal, and any significant issues and problems identified by the SEB.  This presentation must explain any applicable special standards of responsibility; evaluation factors and subfactors;  the significant strengths and significant weaknesses of the offerors; the Government cost estimate, if applicable; the offerors' proposed cost/price; the probable cost; the proposed fee arrangements;  and the final adjectival ratings and scores to the subfactor level.

       (3) Attendance at the presentation is restricted to people involved in the selection process or who have a valid need to know.  The designated individuals attending the SEB presentation(s) shall:

            (i) Ensure that the solicitation and evaluation processes complied with all applicable agency policies and that the presentation accurately conveys the SEB’s activities and findings;

            (ii) Not change the established evaluation factors, subfactors, weights, or scoring systems; or the substance of the SEB's findings.  They may, however, advise the SEB to rectify procedural omissions, irregularities or inconsistencies, substantiate its findings, or revise the presentation.

       (4) The SEB recorder will coordinate the formal presentation including arranging the time and place of the presentation, assuring proper attendance, and distributing presentation material.

       (5) For Headquarters selections, the Headquarters Office of Procurement (Code HS) will coordinate the presentation, including approval of attendees.  When the Administrator is the SSA, a preliminary presentation should be made to the head of the contracting activity and to the Official-in-Charge of the cognizant Headquarters Program Office.

   (i)  Recommended SEB presentation format.

       (1) Identification of the Acquisition.  Identifies the installation, the nature of the services or hardware to be acquired, some quantitative measure including the Government cost  estimate for the acquisition, and the planned contractual arrangement.  Avoids detailed objectives of the acquisition.

       (2) Background.  Identifies any earlier phases of a phased acquisition or, as in the case of continuing support services, identifies the incumbent and any consolidations or proposed changes from the existing structure.

       (3) Evaluation Factors and Subfactors.  Explains the evaluation factors, subfactor, and any special standards of responsibility.  Lists the relative order of importance of the evaluation factors and the numerical weights of the Mission Suitability subfactors.  Presents the adjectival scoring system used in the Mission Suitability and Past Performance evaluations.

       (4) Sources.  Indicates the number of offerors solicited and the number of offerors expressing interest (e.g., attendance at a preproposal conference).  Identifies the offerors submitting proposals, indicating any small businesses, small disadvantaged businesses, and women-owned businesses. 

       (5) Summary of Findings.  Lists the initial and final Mission Suitability ratings and scores, the offerors' proposed costs/prices, and any assessment of the probable costs.  Introduces any clear discriminator, problem, or issue which could affect the selection.  Addresses any competitive range determination.   

       (6) Significant Strengths, Deficiencies, and Significant Weaknesses of Offerors.  Summarizes the SEB's findings, using the following guidelines:

            (i) Present only the significant strengths, deficiencies, and significant weaknesses of individual offerors. 

            (ii) Directly relate the significant strengths, deficiencies, and significant weaknesses to the evaluation factors, and subfactors.

            (iii) Indicate the results and impact, if any, of discussions and FPRs on ratings and scores.

       (7) Final Mission Suitability Ratings and Scores.  Summarizes the evaluation subfactors, the maximum points achievable, and the scores of the offerors in the competitive range.

       (8) Final Cost/Price Evaluation.  Summarizes proposed costs/prices and any probable costs associated with each offeror including proposed fee arrangements.  Presents the data as accurately as possible, showing SEB adjustments to achieve comparability.  Identifies the SEB's confidence in the probable costs of the individual offerors, noting the reasons for low or high confidence.

       (9) Past Performance.  Reflects the summary conclusions, supported by specific case data.

       (10) Special Interest.  Includes only information of special interest to the SSA that has not been discussed elsewhere, e.g., procedural errors or other matters that could affect the selection decision.

   (j) A source selection statement shall be prepared in accordance with 1815.308.  For installation selections, the installation Chief Counsel or designee will prepare the source selection statement.  For Headquarters selections, the Office of General Counsel or designee will prepare the statement.