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SECTION L—INSTRUCTIONS, CONDITIONS AND NOTICES TO OFFERORS

L.1 SOLICITATION PROVISIONS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE (FEB 1998) (FAR 52.252-1)

This solicitation incorporates the following solicitation provisions by reference, with the same force and effect as if they were given in full text.  Upon request, the contracting officer will make the full text available.  Also, the full text of a clause may be assessed electronically at this address: http://www.arnet.gov/far/

  1. Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) (48 CFR Chapter 1) Solicitation Provisions
    1. 52.215-16 Facilities Capital Cost of Money (OCT 1997)
    2. 52.215-20 Requirements for Cost or Pricing Data or Information Other Than Cost or Pricing Data (OCT 1997)

L.2       DATA UNIVERSAL NUMBERING (DUNS)  (OCT 2003) (FAR 52.204-6)

  1. The offeror shall enter, in the block with its name and address on the cover page of its offer, the annotation "DUNS" or "DUNS+4" followed by the DUNS number or "DUNS+4" that identifies the offeror's name and address exactly as stated in the offer.  The DUNS number is a nine-digit number assigned by Dun and Bradstreet Information Services. The DUNS+4 is the DUNS number plus a 4-character suffix that may be assigned at the discretion of the offeror to establish additional CCR records for identifying alternative Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) accounts (see Subpart 32.11) for the same parent concern.
  2. If the offeror does not have a DUNS number, it should contact Dun and Bradstreet directly to obtain one. 
    1. An offeror may obtain a DUNS number—
      1. If located within the United States, by calling Dun and Bradstreet at 1-866-705-5711 or via the Internet at http://www.dnb.com; or
      2. If located outside the United States, by contacting the local Dun and Bradstreet office.
    2.   The offeror should be prepared to provide the following information:
      1. Company legal business name.
      2. Tradestyle, doing business, or other name by which your entity is commonly recognized.
      3. Company physical street address, city, state and Zip Code.
      4. Company mailing address, city, state and Zip Code (if separate from physical).
      5. Company telephone number.
      6. Date the company was started.
      7. Number of employees at your location.
      8. Chief executive officer/ key manager.
      9. Line of business (industry).
      10. Company Headquarters name and address (reporting relationship within your entity).

(End of provision)

L.3 INSTRUCTIONS TO OFFERORS—COMPETITIVE ACQUISITION (MAY 2001)

ALTERNATE I (JAN 2004)(FAR 52.215-1)

  1. Definitions.  As used in this provision—

    "Discussions" are negotiations that occur after establishment of the competitive range that may, at the Contracting Officer's discretion, result in the offeror being allowed to revise its proposal.

    "In writing," "writing," or "written" means any worded or numbered expression that can be read, reproduced, and later communicated, and includes electronically transmitted and stored information.

    "Proposal modification" is a change made to a proposal before the solicitation's closing date and time, or made in response to an amendment, or made to correct a mistake at any time before award.

    "Proposal revision" is a change to a proposal made after the solicitation closing date, at the request of or as allowed by a Contracting Officer as the result of negotiations.

    "Time," if stated as a number of days, is calculated using calendar days, unless otherwise specified, and will include Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays.  However, if the last day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, then the period shall include the next working day.

  2. Amendments to solicitations.  If this solicitation is amended, all terms and conditions that are not amended remain unchanged.  Offerors shall acknowledge receipt of any amendment to this solicitation by the date and time specified in the amendment(s).
  3. Submission, modification, revision, and withdrawal of proposals. 
    1. Unless other methods (e.g., electronic commerce or facsimile) are permitted in the solicitation, proposals and modifications to proposals shall be submitted in paper media in sealed envelopes or packages (i) addressed to the office specified in the solicitation, and (ii) showing the time and date specified for receipt, the solicitation number, and the name and address of the offeror.  Offerors using commercial carriers should ensure that the proposal is marked on the outermost wrapper with the information in paragraphs (c)(1)(i) and (c)(1)(ii) of this provision.
    2. The first page of the proposal must show—
      1. The solicitation number;
      2. The name, address, and telephone and facsimile numbers of the offeror (and electronic address if available);
      3. A statement specifying the extent of agreement with all terms, conditions, and provisions  included in the solicitation and agreement to furnish any or all items upon which prices are offered at the price set opposite each item;
      4. Names, titles, and telephone and facsimile numbers (and electronic addresses if  available) of persons authorized to negotiate on the offeror's behalf with the Government  in connection with this solicitation; and
      5. Name, title, and signature of person authorized to sign the proposal.  Proposals signed by an agent shall be accompanied by evidence of that agent's authority, unless that evidence has been previously furnished to the issuing office.
    3. Submissions, modification, revision, and withdrawal of proposals. 
      1. Offerors are responsible for submitting proposals, and any modification or revisions, so as to reach the Government office designated in the solicitation by the time specified in the solicitation.  If no time is specified in the solicitation, the time for receipt is 4:30 p.m., local time, for the designated Government office on the date that proposal or revision is due.
      2. (A) Any proposal, modification, or revision received at the Government office designated in the solicitation after the exact time specified for receipt of offers is "late" and will not be considered unless it is received before award is made, the Contracting Officer determines that accepting the late offer would not unduly delay the acquisition; and—
        1. If it was transmitted through an electronic commerce method authorized by the solicitation, it was received at the initial point of entry to the Government infrastructure not later than 5:00 p.m. one working day prior to the date specified for receipt of proposals; or
        2. There is acceptable evidence to establish that it was received at the Government installation  designated for receipt of offers and was under the Government's control prior to the time set for receipt of offers; or
        3. It is the only proposal received.
        (B) However, a late modification of an otherwise successful proposal that makes its terms more favorable to the Government, will be considered at any time it is received and may be accepted.
      3. Acceptable evidence to establish the time of receipt at the Government installation includes the time/date stamp of that installation on the proposal wrapper, other documentary evidence of receipt maintained by the installation, or oral testimony or statements of Government personnel.
      4. If an emergency or unanticipated event interrupts normal Government processes so that proposals cannot be received at the office designated for receipt of proposals by the exact time specified in the solicitation, and urgent Government requirements preclude amendment of the solicitation, the time specified for receipt of proposals will be deemed to be extended to the same time of day specified in the solicitation on the first work day on which normal Government processes resume.
      5. Proposals may be withdrawn by written notice received at any time before award.  Oral proposals in response to oral solicitations may be withdrawn orally.  If the solicitation authorizes facsimile proposals, proposals may be withdrawn via facsimile received at any time before award, subject to the conditions specified in the provision at 52.215-5, "Facsimile Proposals."  Proposals may be withdrawn in person by an offeror or an authorized representative, if the representative's identity is made known and the representative signs a receipt for the proposal before award.
    4. Unless otherwise specified in the solicitation, the offeror may propose to provide any item or combination of items.
    5. Offerors shall submit proposals submitted in response to this solicitation in English, unless otherwise permitted by the solicitation, and in U.S. dollars, unless the provision at FAR 52.225-17, Evaluation of Foreign Currency Offers, is included in the solicitation.
    6. Offerors may submit modifications to their proposals at any time before the solicitation closing date and time, and may submit modifications in response to an amendment, or to correct a mistake at any time before award.
    7. Offers may submit revised proposals only if requested or allowed by the Contracting Officer.
    8. Proposals may be withdrawn at any time before award.  Withdrawals are effective upon receipt of notice by the Contracting Officer.
  4. Offer expiration date.  Proposals in response to this solicitation will be valid for the number of days specified on the solicitation cover sheet (unless a different period is proposed by the offeror).
  5. Restriction on disclosure and use of data.  Offerors that include in their proposals data that they do not want disclosed to the public for any purpose, or used by the Government except for evaluation purposes, shall —
    1. Mark the title page with the following legend:

      This proposal includes data that shall not be disclosed outside the Government and shall not be duplicated, used, or disclosed—in whole or in part—for any purpose other than to evaluate this proposal. If, however, a contract is awarded to this offeror as a result of—or in connection with—the submission of this data, the Government shall have the right to duplicate, use, or disclose the data to the extent provided in the resulting contract.  This restriction does not limit the Government's right to use information contained in this data if it is obtained from another source without restriction.  The data subject to this restriction are contained in sheets [insert numbers or other identification of sheets]; and

    2. Mark each sheet of data it wishes to restrict with the following legend:

      Use or disclosure of data contained on this sheet is subject to the restriction on the title page of this proposal.

  6. Contract award.
    1. The Government intends to award a contract resulting from this solicitation to the responsible offeror whose proposal represents the best value after evaluation in accordance with the factors and subfactors in the solicitation.
    2. The Government may reject any or all proposals if such action is in the Government's interest.
    3. The Government may waive informalities and minor irregularities in proposals received.
    4. The Government intends to evaluate proposals and award a contract after conducting discussions with offerors whose proposals have been determined to be within the competitive range.  If the Contracting Officer determines that the number of proposals that would otherwise be in the competitive range exceeds the number at which an efficient competition can be conducted, the Contracting Officer may limit the number of proposals in the competitive range to the greatest number that will permit an efficient competition among the most highly rated proposals.  Therefore, the offeror's initial proposal should contain the offeror's best terms from a price and technical standpoint.
    5. The Government reserves the right to make an award on any item for a quantity less than the quantity offered, at the unit cost or prices offered, unless the offeror specifies otherwise in the proposal.
    6. The Government reserves the right to make multiple awards if, after considering the additional administrative costs, it is in the Government's best interest to do so.
    7. Exchanges with offerors after receipt of a proposal do not constitute a rejection or counteroffer by the Government.
    8. The Government may determine that a proposal is unacceptable if the prices proposed are materially unbalanced between line items or subline items. Unbalanced pricing exists when, despite an acceptable total evaluated price, the price of one or more contract line items is significantly overstated or understated as indicated by the application of cost or price analysis techniques.  A proposal may be rejected if the Contracting Officer determines that the lack of balance poses an unacceptable risk to the Government.
    9. If a cost realism analysis is performed, cost realism may be considered by the source selection authority in evaluating performance or schedule risk.
    10. A written award or acceptance of proposal mailed or otherwise furnished to the successful offeror within the time specified in the proposal shall result in a binding contract without further action by either party.
    11. If a post-award debriefing is given to requesting offerors, the Government shall disclose the following information, if applicable:
      1. The agency's evaluation of the significant weak or deficient factors in the debriefed offeror's offer.
      2. The overall evaluated cost or price and technical rating of the successful and the debriefed offeror and past performance information on the debriefed offeror.
      3. The overall raking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during source selection.
      4. A summary of the rationale for award.
      5. For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful offeror.
      6. Reasonable responses to relevant questions posed by the debriefed offerors as to whether source-selection procedures set forth in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed by the agency.

(End of provision)

L.4  TYPE OF CONTRACT (APRIL 1984)(FAR 52.216-1)

The Government contemplates award of a cost reimbursement, performance-based type contract resulting from this solicitation.

It is anticipated that 1 contract award will be made from this solicitation and that the award is estimated to be made in August 2008.

L.5 SINGLE OR MULTIPLE AWARDS (OCT 1995) (FAR 52.216-27)

The Government may elect to award a single contract or to award multiple contracts for the same or similar supplies or services to two or more sources under this solicitation.

L.6 SERVICE OF PROTEST (AUG 1996) (FAR 52.233-2)

  1. Protests, as defined in Section 33.101 of the Federal Acquisition Regulation, that are filed directly with an agency, and copies of any protests that are filed with the General Accounting Office (GAO) shall be served on the Contracting Officer (addressed as follows) by obtaining written and dated acknowledgment of receipt from:

    Director, Division of Contracts Management
    Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
    540 Gaither Road
    Rockville, Maryland  20850

  2. The copy of any protest shall be received in the office designated above within one day of filing a protest with the GAO.

L.7 POINT OF CONTACT FOR TECHNICAL INQUIRIES

The technical contact for additional information and answering inquiries is the Contracting Officer.  All questions regarding this solicitation shall be in writing and received by the Contracting Officer no later than June 5, 2008.  All questions should be E-mailed to Jessica Alderton at jessica.alderton@ahrq.hhs.gov.    The subject line should be marked "Proposal Questions RFP No. AHRQ-08-10032." All questions will be complied and responses will be provided as an amendment to this solicitation.

L.9 GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS

Introduction

The following instructions will establish the acceptable minimum requirements for the format and contents of proposals.  Special attention is directed to the requirements for technical and business proposals to be submitted in accordance with these instructions:    

  1. Contract Type and General Provisions:  It is contemplated that a time and materials performance based contract will be awarded.  In addition to the special provisions of this request for proposal (RFP), any resultant contract shall include the general clauses applicable to the selected offeror's organization and type of contract awarded.  Any additional clauses required by Public Law, Executive Order, or procurement regulations, in effect at the time of execution of the proposed contract, will be included.
  2. Authorized Official and Submission of Proposal:  The proposal shall be signed by an official authorized to bind your (the offeror's) organization.  Your proposal shall be submitted in the number of copies, to the address, and marked as indicated in the cover letter of this solicitation.  Proposals will be typewritten, reproduced on letter sized paper and will be legible in all required copies.  To expedite the proposal evaluation, all documents required for responding to the RFP should be placed in the following order:
    1. TECHNICAL PROPOSAL:  See Technical Proposal Instructions for recommended format (L.10). Please mark as original or copy.
    2. PAST PERFORMANCE INFORMATION: See Past Performance Information Instructions for format (L.11)
    3. BUSINESS PROPOSAL:  See Business Proposal Instructions for recommended format (L.12).
  3. Separation of Technical, Past Performance Information and Business Proposal:  The proposal shall be in 3 parts:
    1. Technical Proposal;
    2. Past Performance Information and;
    3. Business Proposal.
    Each of the parts shall be separate and complete in itself so that evaluation of one may be accomplished independently of, and concurrently with, evaluation of the other.  The technical proposal shall not contain reference to cost; however resources information, such as data concerning labor hours and categories, materials, subcontracts, etc., shall be contained in the technical proposal so that your understanding of the Statement of Work (SOW) may be evaluated.  It must disclose your technical approach in as much detail as possible, including, but not limited to, the requirements of the technical proposal instructions.
  4. Evaluation of Proposals:  The Government will evaluate technical proposals in accordance with the criteria set forth in Section M, Evaluation/Award Criteria.
  5. Rejection of Proposals:  The Government reserves the right to reject any or all proposals received.  It is understood that your proposal will become part of the official contract file.
  6. Unnecessarily Elaborate Proposals:  Unnecessarily elaborate brochures or other presentations beyond those sufficient to present a complete and effective proposal are not desired and may be construed as an indication of the offeror's lack of cost consciousness.  Elaborate art work, expensive visual and other presentation aids are neither necessary nor wanted.
  7. Privacy Act:  The Privacy Act of 1974 (Public Law (P.L.) 93-579) requires that a Federal agency advise each individual whom it asks to supply information:  1) the authority which authorized the solicitation; 2) whether disclosure is voluntary or mandatory; (3) the principal purpose or purposes for which the information is intended to be used; (4) the uses outside the agency which may be made of the information; and 4) the effects on the individual, if any, of not providing all or any part of the requested information.

    Therefore:

    1. The Government is requesting the information called for in this RFP pursuant to the authority provided by Section 301(g) of the Public Health Service Act, as amended, and P.L. 92-218, as amended.
    2. Provisions of the information requested are entirely voluntary.
    3. The collection of this information is for the purpose of conducting an accurate, fair, and adequate review prior to a discussion as to whether to award a contract.
    4. Failure to provide any or all of the requested information may result in a less than adequate review.
    5. The information provided by you may be routinely disclosed for the following purposes:
      • to the cognizant audit agency and the General Accounting Officer for auditing;
      • to the Department of Justice as required for litigation;
      • to respond to Congressional inquiries; and
      • to qualified experts, not within the definition of Department employees for opinions as a part of the review process.

      In addition, the Privacy Act of 1974 (P.L. 93-579, Section 7) requires that the following information be provided when individuals are requested to disclose their social security number.

      Provision of the social security number is voluntary.  Social security numbers are requested for the purpose of accurate and efficient identification, referral, review and management of AHRQ contracting programs.  Authority for requesting this information is provided by Section 305 and Title IV of the Public Health Service Act, as amended.

  8. The RFP does not commit the Government to pay any cost for the preparation and submission of a proposal.  It is also brought to your attention that the Contracting Officer is the only individual who can legally commit the Government to the expenditure of public funds in connection with this or any acquisition action.

    The Government reserves the right to award a contract without discussions if the Contracting Officer determines that the initial prices are fair and reasonable and that discussions are not necessary.

L.10 TECHNICAL PROPOSAL INSTRUCTIONS

The technical proposal shall contain an original and nine (9) copies. The technical proposal described below shall be limited to 100 pages not including resumes or bibliographies, with no less than a 11 point pitch. Appendices are limited to 100 pages including all resumes, bibliographies, exhibits and attachments.  Resumes or CVs are only required for key personnel.  Brief biographic sketches of other personnel may be provided. Lengthy proposals and voluminous appendices are neither needed nor desired as they are difficult to read and evaluate and may indicate the offeror's inability to concisely state their proposal.

  1. Recommended Technical Proposal Format

    The offeror's proposal should present sufficient information to reflect a thorough understanding of the work requirements and a detailed plan for achieving the objectives of the scope of work.  Technical proposals shall not merely paraphrase the requirements of the Agency's scope of work or parts thereof, or use of phrases such as "will comply" or "standard techniques will be employed."  The technical proposal must include a detailed description of the techniques and procedures to be used in achieving the proposed end results in compliance with the requirements of the Agency's scope of work. 

    1. Cover Page:  The name of the proposing organization, author(s) of the technical proposal, the RFP number and the title of the RFP should appear on the cover.  One (1) manually signed original copy of the proposal and the number of copies specified in the RFP cover letter are required.
    2. Table of Contents:  Provide sufficient detail so that all important elements of the proposal can be located readily.
    3. Introduction:  This should be a one or two page summary outlining the proposed work, your interest in submitting a proposal, and the importance of this effort in relation to your overall operation.
    4. Technical Discussion:  The offeror shall prepare a technical discussion which addresses evaluation criteria 1 through 4 below.  The evaluation criteria are as follows:
      1. Technical Approach
      2. Management Plan
        1. Organizational Structure
        2. Staffing Plan/Personnel Requirements
        3. Crises and Short Turnaround Response Capability
      3. Organization/Corporate Experience
      4. Past Performance (See Section L.10)

Technical proposals submitted in response to this RFP shall address each of the items described below, and shall be organized in the same manner and within the page limitations specified.  Proposals shall be prepared in single-spaced format, with numbered pages.

  1. Technical Approach

    Offeror shall submit a narrative which clearly addresses how it plans to successfully perform the activities as stated in the Scope of Work.  This shall include brief discussions of the planned operational procedures that could be used to accomplish the SOW tasks successfully and fully.

    Within the content of the narrative, the offeror shall address plans for identifying, utilizing, and monitoring subcontractors, if any, and consultants.  Additionally the Offeror shall describe methods and plans for generating clear, concise reports on project activities; and conducting quality control (including problem area identification and resolution strategies).

  2. Management Plan

    1. Organizational Structure

      Offeror shall demonstrate its ability to perform all SOW requirements through the proposed use of corporate management and other personnel resources.  The Offer shall demonstrate that its organizational structure and capabilities will address the activities discussed in the Scope of Work.  In doing so, and at a minimum, the offeror shall:

      Provide a fully supported narrative showing offeror's understanding of the requirements in the Scope of Work from a managerial perspective. (Please Note: this is not a task-by-task description of the offeror's operational procedures.) The narrative should, at a minimum, address the following topics:

      • Labor skill mix determination—Explain the skill mix for this project.  Has the offeror used such a labor mix previously?  Was it successful in meeting the SOW requirements?
      • Personnel selection and assignment—Explain choice of individuals for specific jobs.  Which three subject matter or professional skills areas does the offeror view as its greatest assets? Why?
      • Percentage of full-time core personnel—If a ratio of less than 70 percent full-time core staff to 30 percent consultants/subcontractors is proposed, offeror shall provide a detailed explanation of how the proposed staffing plan ensures that the work is conducted by individuals with a mastery of the technical requirements of the Scope of Work.
      • Monitoring and control of services provided—Describe organizational and managerial strategies for technical quality, responsiveness, cost control, effective and efficient resource utilization, and compliance with technical requirement and contract provisions.  The offeror should clearly show a proposed system for management control and quality control.
      • Managerial problems offeror expects to encounter—Describe proposed methods to solve these problems and demonstrate how similar managerial problems were solved in the past.
      • Ability and flexibility to respond rapidly to changes in budget, priorities, and schedule.
      • The existence of clear lines of authority and delineation of staff responsibilities, and a description of methods of coordination with, and performance monitoring of, any proposed subcontractors.

    2. Staffing Plan/Personnel Requirements

      IMPORTANT NOTE TO OFFERORS:  The Government's expectation is that the required full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing for this contract will be in the range of 15.75 to 18.0 FTE annually, which include program management staff.  This staffing range is only a guide.  These potential staffing numbers shall serve as an acceptable staffing range. 

      The offeror is strongly encouraged to use the workload contained in Attachment 3 to determine their respective actual proposed staff.

      Offeror shall demonstrate its understanding of the SOW and workload to construct a rationale, defendable staffing plan that is fully capable of producing high quality and timely performance of all tasks in the SOW.  To demonstrate this understanding, the Offeror shall:

      1. Provide a person-level, organizational chart indicating clear lines of authority, delineating staff responsibilities, and a plan for organizational backup.  Employees not currently employed by the Offeror will be listed with an asterisk (*) to denote their status.
      2. For each person named for the proposed effort, with the exception of general support personnel, the Offeror shall provide a list of Federal, State, and other contracts to which they are currently obligated and the proportion of time committed to these contracts during the first year of contract performance for this project.  This information shall be provided for subcontractor employees and consultants as well.
      3. Provide resumes for each of the staff referenced in the section above. Resumes shall include the following information: 
        • Name.
        • Applicable staffing plan labor category.
        • Classification as current employee or proposed new hire.
        • Education background—include name of school, length of time, degree/certificate.
        • Applicable experience history—include name of employer, period of employment, description of duties, level of responsibility, and title.
        • Other experience the company may wish to present to show the potential of the candidate—include name of employer, period of employment, description of duties, level of responsibility, and title.

      Personnel Requirements

      The proposal shall specify the project team, including any subcontractors and consultants. 

      The offeror shall meet the following personnel requirements for personnel used to fulfill the requirements of the Statement of Work:

      Key Personnel Requirements 

      The offeror shall submit resumes for key personnel in this Technical Proposal. Key personnel may not be replaced by the contractor without the review of the PO and approval of the CO.  Key personnel include the Program Manager and alternates. 

      Project Team

      The offeror shall include a listing of all proposed project team staff, subcontractors, and consultants, and provide evidence of their availability.  The listing shall include their proposed job title, and a brief description of their qualifications and experience.  For Team leads, include a description of their experience in problem solving and conflict resolution, facilitation of groups working with large quantities of information, and coordination and management of large- and smaller-scale projects.

      Program Manager

      The offeror shall provide a Program Manager to conduct overall management coordination and serve as the central Point of Contact (POC) with the Government for overall performance of work under this Contract.  This position shall be full-time and shall be located at the Government-provided AHRQ headquarters.

      Duties shall include serving as the contractor's principal POC with the CO and PO regarding all contract management matters, providing overall supervision and direction of all contractor activities and personnel, and ensuring the successful and timely performance of all contract tasks in accordance with Government requirements and standards and Section C of the contract.  The Program Manager shall also expect to meet with customers and partners of AHRQ to investigate and resolve difficulties, and to explain procedures and requirements, and shall provide oral and written status reports to the PO.

      The Program Manager shall have at a minimum, ten (10) years of experience working and managing contracts in technical areas and: 1) at least three (3) years in the substantive supervisory positions; and 2) demonstrated skills in organizing and monitoring complex projects conducted by groups of diverse professionals; 3)  and at least five (5) years professional experience in the integration of health services research, dissemination, and implementation for a diverse line of health services research findings. 

      In addition, the proposal should provide the following information with regard to the Program Manager:

      • Describe how the education and technical experience of the Project Director and other key technical personnel specifically relate to the Scope of Work.
      • Provide length and currency of the overall education of the Project Director and other key technical personnel.
      • Describe the experience of the proposed Project Director in managing the activities as stated in the Scope of Work and complex projects that contain such elements as scheduling projects and providing electronic dissemination support for projects.  This description shall include at a minimum: the size of projects managed: start-up time required: number of projects managed: problems encountered: and the resolution of those problems. 
      • Describe those projects currently managed.  Describe how the management experience of the proposed Project Director equips him or her to manage a staff which reflects the diversity of the Scope of Work.

      Skills of Staff Required For Performance

      The offeror, upon acceptance of its technical proposal, shall submit complete resumes for its proposed staff and detail the qualifications of its staff.   In general, contractor staff hired shall possess a combination of the following types of professional experiences, abilities, and knowledge:

      Experience in:

      • Writing and/or editing technical, scientific, and/or health-related documents.
      • Publishing processes and production management under tight deadlines.
      • Media relations.
      • Partnership development, as well as working as a partner.
      • Writing materials for a wide-ranging audiences including, but not limited to: for example the public, consumers, trade associations, and medical facilities.
      • Determining when scientific research is appropriate for knowledge transfer.
      • Project planning and project management methodologies and practice.
      • Program evaluation, which may include developing case studies and program accomplishments' summaries.
      • Areas of knowledge transfer, translation, and management and implementation.

      Ability to:

      • Provide clear and concise written and communications.
      • Communicate orally to diverse groups on topics concerning health care, health care services, and research, and present proposals and recommendations. 
      • Understand scientific research, particularly health and health services research.
      • Collaborate and coordinate with multiple stakeholders within programs.
      • Analyze and evaluate program activities in order to develop recommendations designed to improve the quality, effectiveness, and/or responsiveness of OCKT services.
      • Facilitate meetings, design interactive workshops, and orchestrate Web conferences.

      Knowledge of:

      • Accepted rules of editorial style, grammar usage, citation/reference use and style, and document formats.
      • Current public affairs trends and practices.
      • Current issues in the delivery and financing of health care services faced by stakeholders such as State and local health policymakers, hospital and other health system administrators, corporate health care purchasers, and clinicians.

      Other Personnel Requirements

        All personnel proposed by the contractor shall have experience and be skilled in their proposed positions.  All staff, at a minimum, shall have experience with or be knowledgeable of the AHRQ mission, research areas for which they are providing support, and software used.

      Language Requirement

      The contractor shall employ persons able to read, write, and understand English fluently for those positions interacting with Government personnel in the performance of this Contract, and additionally where English is necessary to provide a service under this Contract.   As required in Section C-1, the contractor shall also employ persons with Spanish-language capabilities who can translate English documents into Spanish, speak with Spanish-language media, and facilitate focus groups in Spanish.

      Conduct of Personnel

      The contractor shall be responsible for the performance and conduct of contractor personnel at all times.  Personnel employed by the contractor in the performance of this Contract, or any representative of the contractor entering AHRQ facilities, shall abide by established rules, policies, regulations, and procedures (e.g., smoking policies, general housekeeping requirements, safety requirements, and waste disposal requirements), and shall be subject to physical checks by the Government as may be deemed necessary. 

      Failure to adhere to rules, laws, and directives may result in the removal of personnel.  Such removal of employees does not relieve the contractor from the requirement to perform Contract tasks in accordance with the specified performance standards.

      Additionally, the Contracting Officer (CO) may require the contractor to remove from this Contract any employee working under this Contract for reason of misconduct or security.  contractor personnel shall be subject to removal upon determination by the CO that such action is necessary in the interest of the Government.

      The contractor personnel shall only conduct business covered by this Contract during periods paid for by the Government, and shall not conduct any other business (commercial or personal) on Government premises or using Government supplies, information, and equipment.

      Trained Staff Requirement.

      In general, the offeror shall provide trained contractor employees in the use of applicable commercial automated systems and procedures at the start of the period of full performance.  During the Phase-In period and first performance period, one-time training for AHRQ proprietary, new, or upgraded automated systems will be provided by the Government

      Other forms of training may be provided by the Government at its discretion. Training for new and upgraded systems will be provided by the Government as necessary. Contractor employees shall maintain current knowledge of the AHRQ services for which they are providing support and shall participate in any training required by AHRQ.

    3. Crises and Short Turnaround Response Capability

      It is essential that the offeror demonstrate that they are able to provide a timely response to requests for work products of both on-site staff and any off-site staff being used on special projects.  This includes the ability to provide specialized public affairs and publications support services on a quick turn around basis.  Staff who are off site and are called on to work on special projects should be able to attend meetings to brainstorm and develop products on a short turnaround basis, which in some cases may be within a few hours.

  3. Corporate Qualifications and Experience

    The work to be performed under this contract will require high quality work.  It is essential that the offeror demonstrate the technical ability and subject matter expertise (either in-house or through subcontracting arrangements) to design and conduct the various types of publications and public affairs activities identified in the scope of work. 

    The offeror must also have the ability to organize and manage resources and personnel effectively.  The offeror shall provide a discussion of directly relevant technical and substantive experience, including an annotated list of projects and reports as follows:

    1. The offeror shall describe their corporate technical experience related to AHRQ and Federal health care issues and programs and explain how the experience is relevant to fulfilling the requirements of this proposed contract.

      Where previous work for other clients/sponsors is cited, the offeror shall identify the client/sponsor (including the names of the Project and Contracting Officers, and their addresses and phone numbers).

    2. The offeror shall demonstrate the ability to staff and rapidly begin performing all aspects of this contract.  Specifically, the offeror shall document that sufficient available staff capacity and subject matter knowledge exists in order to minimize time and dollars spent for start up and new learning.  Of particular interest is experience in responding to similar tasks/activities from other clients/sponsors.
    3. The offeror shall demonstrate its ability to meet the Limitations on Subcontracting (FAR 52.219-14) Clause which states "At least 50 percent of the cost of the contract performance incurred for personnel shall be expended for employees of that concern".  Please note: offerors must include all subcontracts and consultants in calculating the pool for the cost of performance.

L.11 PAST PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

Offerors shall submit the following information in an original and four (4) copies as part of their proposal for both the offeror and proposed major subcontractors:

  1. A list of the last five (5) contracts and subcontracts completed during the past three years and all contracts and subcontracts currently in process.  Contracts listed may include those entered into by the Federal Government, agencies of State and local governments and commercial customers.  Offerors that are newly formed entities without prior contracts should list contracts and subcontracts as required for all key personnel.  Include the following information for each contract and subcontract:

    Include the following information for each contract, subcontract or grant:

    1. Name of contracting/grant activity
    2. Contract/Grant number
    3. Contract/Grant type
    4. Total contract/grant value
    5. Brief description of Contract/Grant
    6. Contracting Officer and telephone number
    7. Program Manager and telephone number
    8. Administrative Contracting Officer, if different from F., and telephone number
    9. List of major subcontractors

  2. The offeror may provide information on problems encountered on the contracts, grants and subcontracts identified in (1) above and corrective actions taken to resolve those problems.  Offerors should not provide general information on their performance on the identified contracts/grants.  General performance information will be obtained from the evaluation forms.
  3. The offeror may describe any quality awards or certifications that indicate the offeror possesses a high-quality process for developing and producing the product or service required.  Identify what segment of the company (one division or the entire company) that received the award or certification.  Describe when the award or certification was bestowed.  If the award or certification is over three years old, present evidence that the qualifications still apply.
  4. Each offeror will be evaluated on his/her performance under existing and prior contracts for similar products or services.  Performance information will be used for both responsibility determinations and as an evaluation factor against which offerors' relative rankings will be compared to assure best value to the Government.  The Government will focus on information that demonstrates quality of performance relative to the size and complexity of the procurement under consideration.

The attached Past Performance Questionnaire and Contractor Performance Form shall be completed by those contracting organizations listed in (1) above.  The evaluation forms shall be completed and forwarded directly to the following:

Jessica Alderton
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Division of Contracts Management
540 Gaither Road
Rockville, Maryland 20850
FAX: 301-427-1740
E-mail: jessica.alderton@ahrq.hhs.gov

Evaluation forms must be received by July 1, 2008 in order to be included in the review process.  It is the responsibility of the offeror to ensure that these documents are forwarded to the Contracting Officer.

L.12     BUSINESS PROPOSAL

The offeror shall submit as part of the proposal a separate enclosure titled "Business Proposal."  The Business Proposal shall include the Cost/Price Proposal, and Other Administrative Data in accordance with the following:

  1. Cost/Price Proposal

    A cost proposal shall be submitted in accordance with FAR 15, in a format similar to the attachment.  The offeror's own format may be utilized, but all required information in Attachment 5 shall be provided.

    The business proposal must contain sufficient information to allow the Government to perform a basic analysis of the proposed cost or price of the work.  This information shall include the amounts of the basic elements of the proposed cost or price.

    As appropriate, cost breakdowns shall be provided for the following cost elements.

    1. Direct Labor

      The estimated cost for all personnel who will be assigned for direct work on this project shall be included.  Give the name, title, percent of effort or time, salary and fringe benefits for each employee.  Salary increases that are anticipated during performance of a resultant contract should be proposed as a cost.  If escalation is included, state the degree (percent) and methodology, e.g., annual flat rate applied to a base rate as of a specific date or a mid-pointed rate for the period of performance.  State whether any additional direct labor (new hires) will be required during the performance period of this procurement.  If so, state the number required and anticipated date of hire.  Also, specify the month and day on which your fiscal year commences.

    2. Supplies and Equipment

      Include description, unit price, quantity, total price, justification for purchasing or leasing items and the basis for pricing (vendor quotes, invoices prices, etc.).

    3. Travel

      The amount proposed for travel shall be supported with a breakdown which includes purposes, destination, duration, and estimated cost (transportation and per diem) for each proposed trip.  If travel costs are proposed on the basis of your organization's established travel policy, a copy of the policy must be provided.

    4. Consultants

      This element should include name(s) of consultant, number of days, and daily rate.  The method of obtaining each consultant, either sole source or competitive, and the degree of competition or the rationale for sole source shall be explained.

    5. Subcontractors

      Subcontractor costs shall be broken down and supported by cost and pricing data adequate to establish the reasonableness of the proposed amount.  Subcontract cost detail should be similar to the level of detail provided for the prime contractor, with the same cost elements. Support documentation should include degree of subcontract competition and basis for selecting source.  

    6. Other Direct Costs

      Any proposed other direct costs shall be supported with breakdown outlining the separate costs proposed and details supporting the formulation of the costs proposed.  A signed agreement between the offeror and any personnel other than direct employees that includes dates of employment, salary, and specific tasks to be performed should be included.

    7. Indirect Costs

      Indicate how you have computed and applied indirect costs, and provide a basis for evaluating the reasonableness of the proposed rates.  Indicate specific off-site rates for those employees housed at AHRQ, 540 Gaither Road, Rockville, MD 20850. 

    8. Labor-Hour Chart

      Offerors must submit a consolidated Labor-Hour Chart that displays proposed hours by labor category for the phase-in period and each performance year, and is consistent with the Staffing Plan Matrix provided as part of the technical proposal.  The prime contractor and all proposed subcontractor(s) hours must be separately identified.  All phase-in and yearly manning summaries should roll up to a total program-manning summary for the applicable period. During the technical evaluation process, comparisons are made between the Staffing Plan proposed in the technical proposal and the Manpower Chart in the price proposal (raw numbers only) to ensure consistency as to number and skill levels proposed.  The presentation of manpower in both the technical and price proposals should be in a format to allow this comparison to be made easily.

  2. Other Administrative Data

    1. Terms and Conditions:  The proposal shall stipulate that it is predicated upon the terms and conditions of the RFP.  In addition, it shall contain a statement to the effect that it is firm for a period of at least 120 days from the date of receipt thereof by the Government.

      Minimum Bid Acceptance Period (April 1984)

      1. "Acceptance period," as used in this provision, means the number of calendar days available to the Government for awarding a contract from the date specified in this solicitation for receipt of bids.
      2. This provision supersedes any language pertaining to the acceptance period that may appear elsewhere in this solicitation.
      3. The Government requires a minimum acceptance period of 120 days.
      4. A bid allowing less than the Government's minimum acceptance period may be rejected.
      5. The bidder agrees to execute all that it has undertaken to do, in compliance with its bid, if that bid is accepted in writing within (i) the acceptance period stated in paragraph (3) above, or (ii) any longer acceptance period stated in paragraph (4) above.

    2. Authority to Conduct Negotiations:  The proposal shall list the names and telephone numbers of persons authorized to conduct negotiations and to execute contracts.
    3. Property:

      1. It is HHS policy that contractors will provide all equipment and facilities necessary for performance of contracts.  Exception may be granted to furnish Government-owned property, or to authorize purchase with contract funds, only when approved by the contracting officer.  If additional equipment must be acquired, you shall include the description, estimated cost of each item and whether you will furnish such items with your own funds.
      2. You shall identify Government-owned property in your possession and/or property acquired from Federal funds to which you have title, that is proposed to be used in the performance of the prospective contract.
      3. The management and control of any Government property shall be in accordance with HHS Publication (OS) 74-115 entitled, Contractor's Guide for Control of Government Property" 1990, a copy of which will be provided upon request.

    4. Royalties:  You shall furnish information concerning royalties which are anticipated to be paid in connection with the performance of work under the proposed contract.
    5. Commitments:  You shall list other commitments with the Government relating to the specified work or services and indicate whether these commitments will or will not interfere with the completion of work and/or services contemplated under this proposal.
    6. Financial Capacity:  You shall provide sufficient data to indicate that you have the necessary financial capacity, working capital, and other resources to perform the contract without assistance from any outside source.  If not, indicate the amount required and the anticipated source.  (Financial data such as balance sheets, profit and loss statements, cash forecasts, and financial histories of your organization's affiliated concerns should be utilized.)
    7. Performance Capability:  You shall provide acceptable evidence of your "ability to obtain" equipment, facilities, and personnel necessary to perform the requirements of this project.  If these are not represented in your current operations, they should normally be supported by commitment or explicit arrangement, which is in existence at the time the contract is to be awarded, for the rental, purchase, or other acquisition of such resources, equipment, facilities, or personnel.  In addition, you shall indicate your ability to comply with the required or proposed delivery or performance schedule taking into consideration all existing business commitments, commercial as well as Government.
    8. Representations and Certifications:  Section K, "Representations and Certifications and Other Statements of Offerors" shall be completed and signed by an official authorized to bind your organization.  Section K shall be made a part of the original business proposal.

L.13 SELECTION OF OFFERORS

  1. The acceptability of the technical portion of each contract proposal will be evaluated by an internal review committee.  The committee will evaluate each proposal in strict conformity with the evaluation criteria of the RFP, utilizing point scores and written critiques.  The committee may suggest that the Contracting Officer request clarifying information from an offeror.
  2. The business portion of each contract proposal will be subjected to a cost review, management analysis, etc.
  3. Past performance of the acceptable offerors will also be evaluated.  A competitive range will be determined.  Oral or written discussions will be conducted with all offerors in the competitive range, if necessary.  All aspects of the proposals are subject to discussions, including cost, technical approach, past performance and contractual terms and conditions.  Final Proposal Revisions will be requested with the reservation of the right to conduct limited negotiations after submission of the Final Proposal Revisions.
  4. A final best-buy analysis will be performed taking into consideration the results of the technical evaluation, cost analysis, past performance, and ability to complete the work within the Government's required schedule.  The Government reserves the right to make an award to the best advantage of the Government, technical merit, cost, past performance, and other factors considered.
  5. The Government reserves the right to make a single award, multiple awards, or no award at all to the RFP.

L.14 PROPOSAL INTENT/APPROVAL FOR CONTACT INFORMATION FOR BIDDERS LIST (go to Attachment 4)

It is requested that if an offeror intends to submit a proposal to this solicitation that the attached Proposal Intent Form be completed and returned to the address indicated by the date indicated.  The submission of the intent form is not binding on an offeror to submit a proposal, nor does the failure to submit the form prohibit an offeror from submitting a proposal.  The purpose is to provide us with an estimated number of proposals to assist us in our planning and logistics for proposal reviews. 

We have added a request to include your contact information to a bidders list.  The bidders list will be provided to interested offerors for subcontracting opportunities, as part of an amendment to the solicitation.  In order for AHRQ to include your contact information on the bidders list, you must return the Proposal Intent Form and check the box that grants permission to add your name no later than the date listed above.

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SECTION M—EVALUATION FACTORS FOR AWARD

TECHNICAL EVALUATION CRITERIA

Selection of an offeror for contract award will be based on an evaluation of proposals against three factors and award will be made to that responsible offeror whose proposal is most advantageous to the Government.  The three factors are: scientific technical merit, cost and past performance.  The scientific technical merit of the proposals will receive paramount consideration in the selection of the Contractor(s) for this acquisition.  Offerors that submit technically acceptable proposals will then be evaluated for past performance.   Following these evaluations a competitive range will be determined.

All evaluation factors, other than cost or price, when combined are significantly more important than cost or price.  However, cost/price may become a critical factor in source selection in the event that two or more offerors are determined to be essentially equal following the evaluation of all factors other than cost or price.  In any event, the Government reserves the right to make an award to that offeror whose proposal provides the best overall value to the Government. The Government reserves the right to make a single award, multiple awards, or no award at all.

The Government reserves the right to make an award without discussion

All proposals will be reviewed in accordance with the governing regulations and AHRQ policies and procedures.  The technical proposal and past performance information will be evaluated in terms of the offeror's responses to each of the evaluation factors.  Each proposal will be evaluated on the likelihood of meeting the Government's requirements. The evaluation will be based on the technical and administrative capabilities in relation to the needs of the program, anticipated tasks, and the reasonableness of costs shown in relation to the work to be performed.  The Government reserves the right to make an award to the best advantage of the Government. 

The evaluation factors and assigned weights which will be used in the overall review of the offeror's proposal are outlined below.  The technical proposal shall consist of the responses to evaluation criteria 1 through 4.  The offeror should show that the objectives stated in the proposal are understood and offer a logical program for their achievement.  The following criteria will be used to evaluate proposals and will be weighted as indicated in establishing a numerical rating for all proposals submitted.  Factors facilitating the evaluation of each criteria below are referenced in the corresponding criteria found in Section L of this solicitation:

Evaluation Criteria Weight

  1. Technical Approach: 25

    The proposal shall be evaluated on the completeness, reasonableness, clarity, and feasibility of the approach to satisfy the requirements of each type of task assignment referenced in the Scope of Work.   The proposal shall also be evaluated on the proposed plans to perform all of the tasks within the SOW at a high level of quality and timeliness.  The offeror shall demonstrate plans for identifying, utilizing, and monitoring subcontractors and consultants.  The offeror shall be evaluated on the description of methods and plans for generating clear, concise reports on project activities; and conducting quality control.

  2. Management Plan: 55

    1. Organizational Structure—20 points

      The management plan will be evaluated on the appropriateness of the organizational structure and management systems, the management of subcontractors/consultants, the ability to handle multiple simultaneous tasks with competing needs, the person-hours proposed, the plan for ensuring availability of adequate staff, and the planned methods for assuring the successful completion of all tasks.  The offeror will be evaluated on the narrative showing the Labor skill mix determination, personnel selection and assignment, percentage of full-time core personnel, monitoring and control of services, managerial problems, ability and flexibility to respond to changes, and the clear lines of authority and delineation of staff responsibilities. 

    2. Staffing Plan/Personnel Requirements—30 points

      The offeror will be evaluated on their documented evidence of having an organizational structure with adequate numbers and the correct types of staff; the appropriate qualifications of staff; and the clear delineation of roles and responsibilities in relation to the tasks in the SOW.  The offeror shall be evaluated on how well it's proposed Program Manger meets the educational requirements and experience listed the RFP.  The proposal shall be evaluated on how well the offeror demonstrates the overall project team's ability to meet the required experience and capabilities of the RFP.  The proposal shall be evaluated on how well it demonstrates the proposed team leads experience in problem solving and conflict resolution, work group facilitation, coordination and management of large and small scale project.

    3. Crises and Short Turnaround Response Capability—5 points

      The offeror will be evaluated on their ability to 1) recruit potential staff to assist in the meeting of fluctuating OCKT workload demands; and 2) provide off-site staff who would be available for short-term high priority Agency projects that require quick turn around. 

  3. Organizational/Corporate Experience: 20

    Proposals will be evaluated for the extent, relevance, and quality of the offeror's organizational/corporate experience as it relates to the requirements of this publications, public affairs, and knowledge transfer support acquisition.

    The offeror must demonstrate the technical ability and subject matter expertise (either in-house or through subcontracting arrangements) to design and conduct the various types of activities identified in the scope of work.  The offeror must also have experience in organizing and managing resources and personnel effectively.

        The offeror will also be evaluated on its ability to meet the required 50% cost of performance of the contract as specified in FAR 52-219-14.

    Total Technical Score: 100

  4. Past Performance: 25

    (TO BE RATED ONLY AFTER A DETERMINATION OF TECHNICAL ACCEPTABILITY OF THE OFFEROR'S PROPOSAL, BASED ON THE ABOVE TECHNICAL EVALUATION CRITERIA)

    The offeror's past performance will be evaluated after completion of the technical evaluation.  Only those offerors determined to be technically acceptable will be evaluated.  Each offeror will be evaluated on its performance under existing and prior contracts for similar products or services.  Performance information will be used for both responsibility determinations and as an evaluation factor against which offeror's relative rankings will be compared.

    The Government reserves the right to evaluate relevant past performance information not specifically provided by the offeror.

    The Government will assess the relative risks associated with each offeror.  Performance risks are those associated with an offeror's likelihood of success in performing the acquisition requirements as indicated by the offeror's record of past performance.

    If the offeror or the proposed employees for the offeror, do not have a past performance history relative to this acquisition, or past performance not relative to this acquisition,  the offeror will not be evaluated favorably or unfavorably on this factor.  A neutral rating will be determined.

    In evaluating past performance the Government, will consider the offeror's effectiveness in quality of products or services; timeliness of performance; cost control; business practices; customer satisfaction, and key personnel past performance.

    NOTICE: Past Performance questionnaires are to be provided to the contracting office NO LATER than the closing date and time of this solicitation.  It is the offeror's responsibility to ensure that these documents are forwarded to the contracting office.

    TOTAL AVAILABLE POINTS: 125

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