Editor's Note: This is the second in a series of five blogs about how GSA is fostering healthy and productive industry relationships. Be sure to read the first post.
Early fiscal year 2019, GSA implemented an enhanced post-award feedback pilot effort called the In-Depth Feedback through Open Reporting Methods or INFORM. Our hypothesis is that giving offerors or industry more insight into why they did or did not receive a specific award will help them improve the quality of their future submissions. Our hope is that INFORM will deliver some of the same benefits through broader communication as evidenced with early engagement.
GSA’s current post-award communications are already more robust than those outlined in the the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). INFORM complements this by providing each offeror with an unsolicited customized evaluation statement, an opportunity for an in-person oral feedback meeting with the GSA evaluation team, and the option to submit written follow-up questions.
We anticipate that adding more information and transparency to the post-award communication process will improve offerors’ perception of the fairness and impartiality of GSA’s award decisions.
The depth and breadth of the INFORM pilot is what makes it standout from previous post-award communications initiatives. The INFORM pilot enhanced post-award communication will be implemented across a test group comprised of approximately 50 competitive acquisitions of various dollar thresholds, complexities, categories, and business sizes. The test group is a representative sample of GSA acquisitions with two Federal Acquisition Service and two Public Building Service actions from each of the 11 GSA Regions and the Central Office. The INFORM pilot will run through September 30, 2019, or until the final procurement in the pilot is awarded - whichever comes first.
So, you might ask, how do we plan to gauge the success of the INFORM pilot? There’s a lot to consider, including how does the INFORM process impact procurement timelines? What are the costs associated with the program i.e. development and review of written documents, development and delivery of oral feedback meetings, and other soft costs of change management? And, what are the benefits in the form of improved industry satisfaction? GSA will collect and analyze data from industry surveys, GSA reports, and electronic acquisition systems for a thorough, meaningful analysis.
This is a very exciting time for GSA’s acquisition workforce. Our acquisition professionals have been trained and are ready to go! We are all looking forward to seeing our first procurement go through the entire INFORM pilot process in the near future. If your company competes in one of the designated acquisitions, we will reach out to you for your reaction and feedback.
Stay tuned for my next blog, where I’ll continue to highlight the ways in which GSA is fostering healthy and productive industry relationship.