RFP-DCS-03-24 Amendment 1
AMENDMENT OF SOLICITATION/MODIFICATION OF CONTRACT
11. THIS ITEM ONLY APPLIES TO AMENDMENTS OF SOLICITATION
|STANDARD FORM 30 (REV. 10-83)|
June 24, 2003
NOTICE TO ALL OFFERORS
REFERENCE: AMENDMENT NO. 1
Additional information has been requested by prospective offerors and it has been determined by the Contracting Officer that this information be made available to all bidders. The closing date and time for the receipt of proposals remains July 15, 2003, by 2:00 p.m. local time.
KEITH A. BOND
Attachment(s) 14. RESPONSES TO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS
Based on the questions received, many offerors appear confused over the format, meaning, and conduct of the Oral Presentation. Therefore, to respond to all of the questions concerning this area, and to avoid repetition, the following clarification is provided.
In accordance with Section L.8, the oral presentation and the question and answer session are not part of the offer and are not themselves offers. The sole purpose of the oral presentation and questions and answer session is to test an offeror's understanding of the work that the Government will require under the prospective contract.
However, in accordance with Sections L.8 and L.9, the offeror shall submit, as part of their offer, a set of overhead transparencies and five (5) copies in a sealed package. These transparencies, which are part of the offeror's technical proposal, shall form the basis of the offeror's Oral Presentation. Both the transparencies and the Oral Presentation will be used to evaluate the offeror's capability to perform the contract (See Section M.2(D)).
The sealed package containing the offeror's transparencies will not be opened until the scheduled date for an offeror's presentation, in the presence of the Contract Specialist and a representative of the offeror.
The Government will provide blank flipchart paper and an overhead projector for the offeror to use during the presentation caucus time period (1/2 hour before oral presentation) as stated in Section L.8, item 8 - Documentation. The purpose of the flipchart paper is for the offerors convenience if they wish to use them during their presentation to clarify points, during the caucus period, and or the question and answer session. The clarifying or explanatory charts and transparencies will be left with the Government following the oral presentation. The Government will not accept for evaluation any additional documentation which may or may not have been referenced during the presentation.
Offerors shall use black and white overhead transparencies (slides) to document key points of its presentation. The purpose of limiting the use of black and white overhead transparencies is to reduce the bid and proposal costs, keep focus on content, and to keep the playing field level.
1. Are there specific labor force areas that this project will be based on, or that you prefer my firm focuses on in our proposal/presentation preparation, i.e. manufacturing, IT, management, food processing, etc...?
a. The evaluation will be based on those labor market areas most relevant to the TAA program.
2. Does section F.3 Level of Effort refer to the cost limit of the project? Does that translate to approximately $11,500,000 for the 60 months of the project? How was this estimate determined? How many hours does it translate to?
a. The level of effort for this project is estimated to be between 115 and 125 professional person years. A professional person year is estimated to be between $90,000 and $100,000. This includes all costs. These government provided estimates are provided for contractor planning guidance only and do not bind the government to a specific level of effort nor are they guaranteed or warranted by the government in any manner. The contractor must use its best judgment to determine an appropriate level of effort for the contract work regardless of the accuracy of these estimates." There are 2080 hours in a work year, this includes hours for vacation, sick leave and holidays. Offerors should use their best business judgment when proposing the number of hours for this project.
3. Can we select a sample of states from which to assess the TAA Program, for example 1/3 of all states or 17 states?
a. ETA anticipates that the evaluation will be based on a sample of states. Offerors should include a proposed sampling design in the technical approach section of their proposals.
4. Do you expect to receive an offer from the firm that performed the TAA evaluation in 1993? Will that firm be awarded special consideration for this contract?
a. The contractor (firm) that performed the TAA evaluation in 1993 is not guaranteed to be awarded a contract under this RFP. They are eligible to compete for this contract along with all other potential offerors.
5. Should the written proposal include such information as an understanding of the goals of the project and a cost evaluation for the project?
a. The written proposal should demonstrate the offeror's understanding of the evaluation. Evaluation of the study's costs should be in the business proposal not the technical proposal.
6. Can the company senior/general manager be a presenter if she is also the Project Director?
a. Yes. The Government is aware that in small businesses corporate officials are often the ones designated to manage the contracts. Our concern is corporate officials or others making the oral presentation that will not manage the projects or will be not part of the performance team. If a company senior manager is proposed as the Project Manager/ Director, or designated in the budget for the requirement, then yes, that person will be allowed to present at the oral presentation.
7. Are the five paper copies to be sent in a sealed package with the transparencies for the presentation copies of the transparencies?
8. Is there a limit to the number of transparencies we may submit?
a. No. However, when evaluating the offeror's 90-minute presentation, the Government will consider only the information on the transparencies that were actually projected during the presentation. The production and use of an excessive number of slides may be detrimental to an offeror's interests.
9. May we prepare and use other visual aides in our presentation, i.e. PowerPoint, flip charts?
a. No. The purpose in limiting the media available for the oral presentation to "black and white" overhead transparencies (slide) is to reduce bid and proposal costs, keep focus on content, and to keep the playing field level.
10. How many offerors will be presenting? What are the qualifications we need in order to be chosen to present?
a. As stated in Section L.8(4), a maximum of five contractor personnel (prime and subcontractor) may participate. These individuals/ presenters will attend the oral presentation and the question and answer session and shall answer questions directed to them. The presentation shall be made by one or more of the personnel whom the offeror will employee to manage or supervise contract performance on a full time basis or as designated in Sections D.5 and L.10. The Project Director who will have a 100% time responsibility for contract performance, and Principal Investigator(s) shall be present and shall, at a minimum, answer questions directed to him/her during the question and answer session.
11. Will the firm awarded the contract be reimbursed for any travel expenses for this presentation?
12. Will the Department allow two small businesses to act in a joint venture on this RFP, and allot the costs incurred by that joint venture to the prime share? Given the size of this bid, allowing such joint ventures would seem to conform to the requirements in CFR 121 that allow joint ventures. Also, we are aware that several small businesses are planning to subcontract out data collection, and count the costs of that data collection in their prime contractor share. Is that permissible on this bid?
a. Joint Ventures are allowed as long as their annual average receipts for the 3 preceding fiscal years fall within the size standard applicable to the industry under the North American Industry Classification System code designated for this solicitation.
13. The RFP says that the technical proposal shall not exceed 100 pages. Does that page limitation apply to resumes, letters of intent, etc.? If not, would you please clarify what elements are in, and what elements are outside, of the 100 page limit?
a. As stated in Section L.9 - Submission of Proposal, the page limit refers to the technical approach/understanding and management plan factors only.
14. Regarding the advisory council, does the proposal need to name specific members? If so, do commitment letters have to be obtained and submitted as part of the proposal?
a. Offerors do not need to name specific members of the advisory council in their proposals. Advisory council members will be selected after award in consultation with the Government project officer for the evaluation. Therefore, letters of commitment for advisory council members should not be obtained prior to award.
15. Are there reports on the trade program that have informed the Department on this RFP, and will those be made available to all bidders?
a. The only report which informed the development of the RFP is the final report on the previous evaluation, "International Trade and Worker Dislocation: Evaluation of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program," April 1993, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc. To our knowledge, this report is not available on the web. However, offerors may request a copy from Chari Magruder, Contract Specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
16. Are there figures for the past three years, or longer, on the number of persons found eligible for trade assistance, and, of those found eligible, how many enrolled in the past three years, or longer if such records are available? If these figures are available, are they disaggregated by state or region, personal characteristics, industrial/occupational characteristics, or other factors? If these figures do exist, will the Department make them available to bidders?
a. See Attachment I.
17. The RFP refers in several places to the use of UI wage records. States provide varying access to such records; in some cases, it is extremely difficult to get access to those records, even for research purposes. Will the Department work with state governments to assure that UI wage records are available in all states for use in this study? If not, what are the Department's expectations about contractors' ability to access and use these records in all states?
a. It will be the contractor's responsibility to obtain UI wage records from the states. The Department will assist in this process where possible. The Department does not expect wage records to be obtained from every state and recognizes that this may limit the evaluation's ability to obtain a statistically representative sample.
18. On page M-4, in items (1) and (2) of the evaluation factors, it states that the Project Director and the Principal Investigator(s) must have a Masters Degree. If an individual proposed has considerable graduate level education plus many years of exceptional experience in the field, could that high quality experience be substituted for the actual degree.
a. The Project Director and Principal Investigator(s) must have a Master's Degree as previously stipulated in the solicitation.
19. On page L-7, under Section L.9 Submission of Proposals, under part 2: Does the 100-page limit include resumes and letters of commitment and intent?
a. Please see answer 13a.
20. Please clarify: Sections C.5 and L.10 list required time commitment for key personnel as - Project Direct (40%) Principal Investigator(s) (30%) Task Leader(s) (25%); Section L.8 item 4 list the Project Director's time operational responsibility at 100%; and Section M.B factor number 5 states .. "It is expected that the Project Director will devote a minimum of 40% of his or her time." What is the required time commitment for the Project Director in support of this effort?
a. The time commitment for the Project Director, also known as a Project Manager, is 40%. The Government's definition of "full time operational responsibility," means having "overall responsibility." Therefore, the Project Director/Manager should be assigned as having a full time operation responsibility, but does not have to be committed full-time (100%) to this project.
21. Section M Evaluation Criteria is a total of 150 points as follows - is this the correct weighted value of each?
|Understanding/Technical Approach||50 Points|
|Individual Staff Experience And Qualifications||35 Points|
|Contractor's Past Performance||25 Points|
|Contractor's Capability To Perform The Contract||25 Points|
|Management Plan||15 Points|
a. The above is the correct weighted value of each evaluation factor.
22. Section C.4.4 Surveys - Will the contractor be expected to compile a database of the persons covered by TAA certification or does this database already exist?
a. DOL does not maintain a central data base of the persons covered by TAA certification. If this is required for the evaluation, the contractor will be required to compile it.
23. The RFP states that task leaders must devote 25% of their time for each task that they lead. However, some tasks occur over time periods that are much shorter than the entire period of performance. For example, the Initial Implementation Study (Task 1) is active only for the first 8 months of the contract. Similarly, the Advisory Board Task (Task 6) is active only intermittently throughout the project, at the beginning to establish the Advisory Board and intermittently throughout the project to set up and hold meetings with the Board. It seems unreasonable to require that the leaders of these tasks be 25% committed to the project over the full 5 years of the contract. Would it be permissible for these task leaders to be at least 25% committed during the time periods when the tasks are active?
a. Offerors should be aware that the 25% minimum applies to the time spent on the project, not the time on the individual task being led. DOL does not consider it desirable for a task to be done in isolation from the rest of the evaluation. Offerors may propose that the time commitment requirements be reduced for certain tasks. However, the proposal must include a rationale for such reductions which is acceptable to the Technical Review Panel.
24. It would be normal for the Project Director or the Principal Investigator to lead the Design Task and the Analyses and Reporting task as part of their duties as project director or principal Investigator. Is it permissible for the Project Leader or Principal Investigator lead these tasks without increasing their time commitment above the 40% required for the Project Director or 30% required for the Principal Investigator?
a. For individuals in more than one category, the maximum of the applicable minima shall apply. For example, if a Principal Investigator leads one task, the minimum time commitment is 30%. Similarly, if a Project Director leads two tasks, the minimum time commitment is 50%.
25. The RFP states that task leaders leading 2 tasks should be 50% committed to the project. However, some tasks do not occur in overlapping time periods. For example, the Evaluation Design (Task 2) occurs during the beginning of the project and and Analyses and Reporting (Task 5) occurs later. Thus, these two tasks do not place conflicting or simultaneous demands on the task leader's time. Consequently, it would not seem necessary to double the time commitment to 50% for leading these two tasks. Is it permissible to propose someone to lead these two tasks while maintaining a total time commitment of 25%?
a. Offerors may propose that the time commitment requirements be reduced for certain tasks. However, the proposal must include a rationale for such reductions which is acceptable to the Technical Review Panel.
26. It would be normal for the Project Leader to also serve as a Co-principal Investigator. Is it permissible for one person to serve as project leader and Co-principal Investigator with a 40% time commitment and another person to serve as a Co-Principal Investigator with at 30% time commitment?
27. On page M-4, the RFP gives the required experience and qualifications of the Principal Investigators. If there are two Co-principal Investigators does each of them have to have all the specified experience and qualifications? Or can their combined experiences and qualifications meet these qualifications? For example, one Co-principal Investigator might bring to the project extensive experience with adults dislocated worker employment and training programs while the other might provide extensive methodological expertise in the design of evaluations, statistical analysis and the use of comparison groups. Similarly, one might have extensive knowledge of the practical issue surrounding the collection of process data while the other might have expertise in the collection of outcome data.
a. Each Principal Investigator must have a minimum of five years experience and a master's degree. The other qualifications apply to the combined experiences of the Principal Investigator(s).
28. On page M-4, the RFP states that the Individual Staff Experience and Qualifications section is to include "A brief description of the organizational plan and the organizational charts for the proposed project including --and showing relationships among all key personnel and teams or units for all parts of the evaluation (including the initial implementation study, process study and impact evaluation" On page M-6, it states that the Management Plan is to "describe the management structure, reporting relationships and internal communications links for each part of the evaluation (implementation study, process study and impact evaluation) for the contractor and any subcontractors." These two discussions seem to be largely overlapping. Do you want this material included in both portions of the proposal? Can you clarify the distinctions between the two?
a. The information requested on page M-4 is needed to judge the qualifications of proposed project staff in the context of their role in the project. The similar information requested on page M-6 is needed to rate the overall project organization and management. Where there is overlap, the information need not be provided twice. However, the proposal must make it clear where the information can be found.
29. If we split one of the tasks in two and have two different task leaders, is it permissible for their combined time commitment to be 25%? For example, Task 3, Data Collection and Site Visits might be split into two tasks: Task 3A, Site Visits, and Task 3B, Collection of Administrative and Other Quantitative Data. Can two people be made responsible for these distinct parts of Task 3 as long as their combined time commitment was at least 25%?
a. No. However, offerors may propose that the time commitment requirements be reduced for certain tasks. The proposal must include a rationale for such reductions which is acceptable to the Technical Review Panel.
30. Under L.8. Oral Presentation, item 4. contains a statement, "The Project Director who will have a 100% time operational responsibility for contract performance," yet under C.5 Special Requirements, the RFP indicates that the project director is required to make a 40% time commitment. Which is correct?
a. Please see answer 20a.
31. This is a small business set-aside, but requires a level of effort up to 125 person years over five years, or 25 full-time equivalents.
a. Please see answer 2a.
32. Given this intensity, will the usual requirement that the small firm conduct 51% of the work be relaxed somewhat? The size standard is $6 million, which is approximately 55 employees. In this case, the 51% rule may substantially limit competition.
a. As stated in Section I.4 - 52.219-14 Limitation on Subcontracting, at least 50 percent of the cost of contract performance incurred for personnel shall be expended for employees of the concern. This requirement will not be relaxed.
33. Under Section L.7, PAST PERFORMANCE you state that "Offerors shall submit the following information as part of their proposal for both the offeror and proposed major subcontractors:
A. A list of five (5) 'relevant' contracts and subcontracts completed during the past three (3) years and all contracts and subcontracts currently in process."Does that mean that the prime contractor must submit a list of 5 relevant contracts/subcontracts and the major subcontractor(s) must submit a list of 5 relevant contracts/subcontracts (for a total of 10 contracts/subcontracts if there is one major subcontractor) or does that mean that a total of 5 relevant contracts/subcontracts must be presented for the prime contractor and the major subcontractor combined?
a. As stated in Section L.7 of the RFP, offerors are to submit the above information for the offeror and proposed major subcontractors. Therefore, the prime and their subcontractor(s) would each have to submit five (5) relevant contracts and subcontracts.
34. Are Letters of Intent and resumes required of proposed Advisory Board members? If so, must the resumes be in the modified format you have specified in the RFP?
a. As stated in Section M.2(B), offerors are to submit Letters of Intent for each professional personnel (all staff excluding administrative staff and consultants), including those designated in key personnel positions. Letters of Intent must include a statement that the individual will be available for the amount of time specified in the proposal. Letters of Intent must be signed (by both employer and employee/contingency hire), and dated. The offeror shall provide letters of intent from current employees that state they: (1) will remain employed by the offeror; and (2) will work for at least six months on the resultant contract if awarded to the offeror. Letters of intent must also be submitted for contingency hires, defined as persons not currently employed but who have executed a binding letter of commitment for employment with the offeror, if the offeror receives award under subject solicitation.
b. Advisory council members will be selected after award in consultation with the Government project officer for the evaluation. Therefore, letters of intent for advisory council members should not be obtained prior to award.
35. Does the language in Section H-24 regarding publishing preclude the contractor from publishing a paper in an academic journal after the contract has expired?
a. As stated in Section H.24, Publication of Materials, offerors are to receive permission from the Contracting Officer prior to publishing any works performed under this contract.
36. If we contract with a survey research firm for the conduct of the survey, can the cost of this effort be excluded from the total labor costs for the project when calculating the 50 percent of the contract going towards the prime contractor/small business?
a. Please see answer 32a.
37. There are special requirements that require task leaders to be allocated at a minimum of 25 percent time. Can we propose task leaders only for tasks for which we deem a task leader to be appropriate? Can we develop our own tasks or must we use those laid out in the RFP?
a. Offerors may propose their own tasks so long as all tasks required by the RFP are accounted for. Each task must have a task leader. However, if the offeror believes a task does not require 25% of the task leader's time, the offeror may prose a lower amount of time, provided sufficient justification is provided in the technical proposal.
38. For the special requirements that specify a time commitment for the Task Leaders, can that time commitment end when that task ends? In other words, if the task leader leads a task that is over after the first six months of the project, can they be committed 25 percent time for the first 6 months and then have no commitment (or a smaller commitment) for the remainder of the project, or is the 25 percent time commitment for individual task leaders applicable for the full length of the contract (5 years?)
a. The 25% time commitment is applicable for the full length of the contract. However, it is expected that time commitments will vary over the course of the contract. That is, a task leader may spend 100% of his or her time on the contract for 15 months while a task is active and no time during the remaining 45 months when the task is inactive. However, see the answers to questions 23, 24, 25, 29 and 37.
39. Does DOL have an expectation with regard to the number of sites they want visited for Tasks 1 and 3?
a. No; offerors should discuss in their technical proposals how many sites they believe will be required.
40. With regard to the qualifications for the Principal Investigator, is five years of experience with the evaluation of adult dislocated worker programs required or is comparable evaluation experience with any adult employment and training program sufficient?
a. Experience with any adult employment and training program is sufficient.
41. The Bidders' List is attached. (Attachment II)
15200 Shady Grove Road
Rockville, Maryland 20850
POC: Dave Auble
Abt Associates, Inc.|
55 Wheeler Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138-1168
POC: Sharon Christenson
Jack Faucett Associates, Inc.|
4550 Montgomery Avenue
N Bethesda, Maryland 20814-3304
POC: Donald Hutson
8100 Professional Place
Lanham, Maryland 20785
POC: Dawne D. Woods
Optimal Solutions Group|
6 N. Broadway
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
POC: Mark D. Turner, Ph.D.
8230 Old Courthouse Road
Vienna, Virginia 22182
POC: Reena Bhatia
Lee Bruno & Associates, Inc.|
9638 Pennsylvania Avenue
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772
301-599-1234, ext. 104
POC: Wendy Erlanger