Task Order Contracts
Q. We sought proposals from qualified IT Consulting firms to be able to pre-qualify a series of firms that met our criteria for upcoming (2 year term) projects. Once this RFP was complete, we had a list of 9 evaluated and approved firms that could be used to issue task requests to.
When we issue a task request for IT projects we now send the scope of work to only those 9 pre-qualified vendors to seek proposals and price bids. Is this process correct? Can the term of an individual task request exceed that of the original pre-qualification RFP?
A. The procurement process you describe is a sound one. You can issue a competitive prequalification RFP designed to qualify firms for later jobs that you will issue under task order awards. If the job to be awarded must be completed by the firm you originally selected to do it, then the term of the task order may exceed the term of the contract under which it is awarded, assuming of course you extend the term of the contract to coincide with the task order completion date. You would not be expected to terminate a completion-type task (e.g., developing a new software solution) and then re-compete the unfinished job later, unless the task was for general IT services that anyone could do and which was severable (e.g., maintenance of computers). (Reviewed: June 2010)
Q. We put out a solicitation for a Job Order Contract where the projects were going to be FTA funded. We did a two-step selection process in accordance with our state law. The first-step was an RFQ with the second step being an RFP where we looked at price. Essentially we put together specs and a price page for a potential project and had the firms submit pricing proposals as well as a technical proposal where they described how they would stage the work. This scoring determined our two contractors of the four who were short-listed by the RFQ portion. Once we selected our two highest scoring firms on the technical and pricing proposal we negotiated various unit prices for work that might be undertaken under the contract. This pricing was negotiated and is included in the contract. After the contract was awarded we had the two compete for individual projects through a quasi-bid scenario. Independent Cost Estimates and Determinations of Fair and Reasonable Price are done on each project, and all other FTA language is included and followed. Do you see any problem with how we structured this contract as it relates to FTA?
A. The FTA HelpLine "Frequently Asked Questions" under the topic "Multi-Step Procurements," addresses the very situation you describe and the answer is that the process you describe is acceptable. The Best Practices Procurement Manual (BPPM) addresses "Job Order Contracts" in section 6.1.6, but the MARTA process of soliciting proposals there is different from what you are proposing. The topic of "Multi-Step Procurements" is addressed in section 4.7.1 of the BPPM.
(Reviewed: June 2010)