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Evidence-based Technical Assistance for Multistakeholder, Community-based Quality Collaboratives

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SECTION L—INSTRUCTIONS, CONDITIONS AND NOTICES TO OFFERORS (continued)

L.13 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, the Small Business Subcontracting Plan, 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 the attachment 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.

    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.

  2. Cost Analysis

    In order for AHRQ to conduct a complete cost analysis please include the following information in the cost proposal:

    • Copy of most recent payroll register for ALL proposed employees. If necessary, show proposed hourly rate calculations for each employee.
    • Copy of most current indirect cost rate agreement. If no rate agreement exists, show detailed calculations of all proposed indirect rates, supported by audited or reviewed financial statements.
    • Detailed breakdown of each proposed direct cost element by contract year (not by task only), showing proposed total quantities per year and corresponding proposed unit costs for each item.
    • Supporting documentation for each proposed unit cost. Examples of accepted forms of documentation include invoices, catalog pages, quotations, and general ledgers showing historical costs for comparable items.
    • State salary increase policy, as well as proposed increase factor. If it is company policy for employees to receive salary increases on their anniversary dates of hire, please indicate the anniversary dates of hire for each proposed employee.
    • Breakdown of proposed unloaded direct labor rates and proposed number of direct labor hours for each employee for each contract year.
    • State the proposed period of performance that proposed costs are based upon.

  3. Small Business Subcontracting Plan:

    All offerors except small businesses are required to submit a subcontracting plan in accordance with the Small Business Subcontracting Plan, FAR 52.219-9, incorporated in this solicitation. A copy of a model subcontracting plan is available at http://www.hhs.gov/osdbu/read/SampleSubcontractingPlan.doc. If the model plan is not used, all elements outlined must be addressed in the offeror's format. If the offeror is not a small business and fails to submit a subcontracting plan with the initial proposal, the offeror will be considered nonresponsive and their proposal will be returned without further consideration.

    This provision does not apply to small business concerns. This provision does apply to all other offerors, including large business concerns, colleges, universities and non-profit organizations.

    The term "subcontract" means any agreement (other than one involving an employer-employee relationship) entered into by a Federal Government prime contractor or subcontractor calling for supplies or services required for the performance of the original contract or subcontract. This includes, but is not limited to, agreements/ purchase orders for supplies and services such as equipment purchase, copying services, and travel services.

    The offeror understands that:

    1. No contract will be awarded unless and until an acceptable plan is negotiated with the Contracting Officer. The plan will be incorporated in to the contract.
    2. An acceptable plan must, in the determination of the Contracting officer, provide the maximum practicable opportunity for small business concerns and small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged persons to participate in the performance of the contract.
    3. If a subcontracting plan acceptable to the Contracting Officer is not negotiated within the time limits prescribed by the contracting activity and such failure arises out of causes within the control and with the fault or negligence of the offeror, the offeror shall be ineligible for award. The Contracting Officer shall notify the Contractor in writing of the reasons for determining a subcontracting plan unacceptable early enough in the negotiation process to allow the Contractor to modify the plan within the time limits prescribed.
    4. Prior compliance of the offeror with other such subcontracting plans under previous contracts will be considered by the Contracting Officer in determining the responsibility of the offeror for award of the contract.
    5. It is the offeror's responsibility to develop a satisfactory subcontracting plan with respect to small business concerns and small business concerns owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and women-owned small business concerns, and that each such aspect of the offeror's plan will be judged independent of the other.
    6. The offeror will submit, as required by the Contracting Officer, subcontracting reports in accordance with the instructions thereon, and as further directed by the Contracting Officer. Subcontractors will also submit these reports to the Government Contracting Officer or as otherwise directed, with a copy to the prime Contractor's designated small and disadvantaged business liaison.
    7. For this particular acquisition, the AHRQ recommended goal (as a percentage of total contract value for the base period) is 20% for Small Businesses, which shall include at least 5.5% (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for Small Disadvantaged Businesses, at least 5% (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for Women-Owned Small Businesses, and at least 3% (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for HUBZone Small Businesses and at least 3% (as a percentage of total planned subcontract dollars for the base period) for Veteran-Owned Small Businesses. These goals represent AHRQ's expectations of the minimum level for subcontracting with small business at the prime contract level. Any goal stated less than the AHRQ recommended goal shall be justified and is subject to negotiation.

  4. 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.14 SELECTION OF OFFERORS

  1. The acceptability of the technical portion of each contract proposal will be evaluated by a technical 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 limited cost review, management analysis, etc.
  3. Past performance of the technically acceptable offerors will be evaluated by AHRQ staff.  A competitive range will be determined.  The competitive range will consist of those offers which are highly rated, based upon the technical and past performance evaluation.  Written discussions will be conducted with all offerors in the competitive range, if necessary. In addition, offerors within the competitive range may be required to give an oral presentation to AHRQ contracts and program staff. Details on the information the presentation must contain will be provided to those offerors prior to the presentation. A cost analysis will be performed by AHRQ's Cost Analyst. All aspects of the proposals are subject to discussions, including cost, technical approach, past performance, and contractual terms and conditions. Final Proposal Revisions may be requested with the reservation of the right to conduct limited negotiations after submission of Final Proposal Revisions.
  4. A final best-value 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.

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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 the evaluation criteria and award will be made to that responsible offeror whose proposal is most advantageous to the Government. Evaluation Criteria 1 through 4 will be evaluated by a peer review technical committee that will also recommend technical acceptability or unacceptability of the proposal. Offerors that submit technically acceptable proposals will then be evaluated for past performance and Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan. 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. While the scientific technical merit of the proposals will receive paramount consideration in the selection of the Contractor for this acquisition, the Government may also consider other factors in source selection.

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 OR NEGOTIATIONS.

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 (including subcriteria). 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 criterion below are referenced in the corresponding criteria found in Section L of this solicitation.

OFFERORS PLEASE NOTE: Evaluation Criteria 1 through 4, for a total of 100 points, will be evaluated by a peer review technical committee that will also recommend technical acceptability or unacceptability of the proposal. Program staff and contracting personnel will review and evaluate Criteria 5 and 6 for a total of 50 points. The total possible points for Evaluation Criteria 1 through 6 is 150 points.

Evaluation Criteria Weight
1. Technical Approach 25

Proposals will be evaluated on the completeness, reasonableness, clarity, and feasibility of:

  • The 5 tasks in the Statement of Work.
  • Including the 3 hypothetical event agendas.
  • The unpriced options in the Statement of Work.

The offeror will be evaluated on the required geographic proximity or it satellite office to the AHRQ building.

2. Organizational Qualifications and Experience 10

Proposals shall be evaluated on the organizations demonstration of past experience with Federal contract(s).  Proposals shall be evaluated on their experience in managing distance learning programs, ie, Webinar and Web site-based learning. In addition the offeror will be evaluated on its demonstrated experience in managing technical conferences of a similar size and nature, and workgroup facilitation and planning (as stated in the scope of work).

3. Management and Staffing Plan 10

Proposals will be evaluated on the Offeror's demonstrated ability to manage work and personnel resources to meet this project's needs in a timely manner.  The proposal shall demonstrate the Offeror's ability to address labor skill mix determination (including requirement that at least 50% of Project Lead's time is dedicated to this project and the required time on-site at AHRQ); ability to implement a system for quality control of all work to be produced under this project; and, ability to anticipate and address management problems that may arise.

4.  Key Personnel—Project Director  50

Proposals will be evaluated as to the extent, relevance and quality of Project Director's expertise and experience in the following 2 focus areas: 1) Data Aggregation and Quality and Efficiency Measurement; and 2) Public Reporting on Quality and Efficiency; and, extent, relevance and quality of the Project Director's familiarity with any of the remaining six focus areas described in the Statement of Work.

The Offeror shall demonstrate the Project Director's experience with and ability to manage a distance learning program, including planning and implementing large meetings, Webinars and maintenance of a Web site; ability to remain flexible to address arising needs; ability to identify experts; ability to review and understand technical text, discern research findings and summarize them for a lay audience; and, ability to use a range of communication and management techniques to lead a successful learning network.

Proposals shall address the requirement that the Project Director possess graduate level training and at least 10 year's experience managing projects similar in size and nature.

TOTAL POINTS BEFORE PAST PERFORMANCE 100

5. Past Performance  45

Offerors will be evaluated on all past performance for the Organization and the Project Director (refer to Section L.11). Completed questionnaires will also provide a basis for determining past performance evaluation as well as information obtained from the references listed in the proposal, other customers known to the Government, consumer protection organizations, and any others who may have useful and relevant information.  Information will also be considered regarding any significant subcontractors and key personnel records. 

The offerors past performance will be evaluated on the basis of the following factors:

  1. Quality
    How well has the offeror conformed to the performance standard in providing the services or achieving the stated objective(s) of contracts or grants? Quality will be evaluated by the personnel provided, the level of effort agreed to in the contract statement of work or grant, quality of final products (e.g., findings, tools), implementation activities, dissemination and activities that promote turning research into action (i.e. promoting uptake of innovation).
  2. Timeliness
    How well has the offeror adhered to timetables and delivery schedules in providing the required services or products?  Consideration is given to the offeror's efforts to recommend and/or take corrective actions to keep work on schedule.
  3. Business Relations/ Customer satisfaction
    The offeror will be rated on professional and cooperative behavior with the client.
  4. Cost control
    The offeror will be rated on the ability to set reasonable budgets within contracting or grant guidelines and adhere to them in conducting research.

Assessment of the offeror's past performance will be one means of evaluating the credibility of the offeror's proposal, and relative capability to meet performance requirements.

Evaluation of past performance will often be quite subjective based on consideration of all relevant facts and circumstances.  It will not be based on absolute standards of acceptable performance.  The Government is seeking to determine whether the offeror has consistently demonstrated a commitment to customer satisfaction and timely delivery of services and quality products at fair and reasonable prices.

The assessment of the offeror's past performance will be used as a means of evaluating the relative capability of the offeror and the other competitors.  Thus, an offeror with an exceptional record of past performance may receive a more favorable evaluation than another whose record is acceptable, even though both may have acceptable technical proposals.

By past performance, the Government means the offeror record of conforming to specifications and to standards of good workmanship; the offeror's record of forecasting and controlling costs; the offeror adherence to contract schedules, including the administrative aspects of performance; the offeror's reputation for reasonable and cooperative behavior and commitment to customer satisfaction; and generally, the offeror's business-like concern for the interest of the customer.

The Government will consider the number or severity of an offeror problems, the effectiveness of corrective actions taken, the offeror overall work record, and the age and relevance of past performance information.

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.

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

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 Contracts Office NO LATER than the closing date and time for receipt of proposals.  It is the offeror's responsibility to ensure that these documents are forwarded to Jessica Alderton by E-mail: jessica.alderton@ahrq.hhs.gov.

6.  Small Disadvantaged Business Participation Plan 5

The evaluation will be abased on information obtained from the plan provided by the offeror, the realism of the proposal and other relevant information obtained from the named SDB concerns, and any other information supplies by the offeror concerning problems encountered in SDB participation.

Evaluation of the SDB Participation Plan will be a subjective assessment based on consideration of all relevant facts and circumstances. It will not be based on absolute standards of acceptable performance. The government is seeking to determine whether the offeror has demonstrated a commitment to use SDB concerns for the work that it intends to perform as the prime contractor.

 The assessment of the offeror's SDB Participating Plan will be used as a means of evaluating the relative capacity and commitment of the offeror and the other competitors. Thus, an offeror with an exceptional record of participation with SDB concerns may receive more points and a more favorable evaluation than another whose record is acceptable , even though both may have acceptable technical proposals SDB participation will be scored with offerors receiving points from 0 to 5, with 5 being the most favorable.

TOTAL AVAILABLE POINTS.............................................................................150

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