You spoke and we listened! Today, I'm very pleased to announce that GSA's enhanced post-award feedback pilot, the "IN-depth Feedback through Open Reporting Methods", or INFORM, yielded very positive results. Beginning in April 2020, we'll be expanding the INFORM effort and testing it out at scale.
Thanks to everyone who joined us as we explored our hypothesis -- that giving our industry partners more insight into the selection process would improve the quality of their future submissions.
Your acceptance of the pilot and feedback on how to improve GSA's post-award communications has paved the way for the next step in our effort to improve offerors' perception of the fairness and impartiality of GSA's award decisions.
What We've Accomplished
GSA launched the INFORM pilot in early October 2018. This pilot focused on enhancing the post-award experience for our industry partners. Our goal was to provide industry with unsolicited insight into why they did or did not win the award, with the hope that the added information would help them improve future submissions.
The INFORM pilot analyzed industry's perception through an Industry Satisfaction Survey administered to all offerors in the "test" group (those offerors who went through the INFORM process) and for our "control" group (offerors for whom it was "business as usual" during the pilot period).
The pilot received very favorable reviews from industry. Overall, when compared to our traditional model, industry rated the INFORM pilot higher in perception of the fairness of GSA's evaluation and selection process (average rating of 4.58 out of a possible 5 for the test group vs. 4.14 for the control group). The pilot group also gave a higher score to the quality of information being provided (4.50 vs. 4.10) and found the information useful in improving their future submissions (4.50 vs. 4.33).
The acquisition workforce1 also provided feedback on their experience with the pilot through the Acquisition Workforce Survey. Overall, the acquisition workforce preferred INFORM over traditional methods with 73 percent saying it was a good idea and 74 percent said the INFORM process did not cause any delays.
The INFORM pilot also had fewer than half as many requests for oral feedback meetings than the traditional process, indicating industry's satisfaction with information provided in the enhanced notification letter. Thirty-eight percent of the control group requested oral feedback meetings, compared with only 17 percent of the INFORM test group. There were no related protests filed.
INFORM 2.0, the second round of our enhanced post-award communication pilot, will kick off in April 2020 following a second round of training. In the next round, we'll be working to scale the effort, significantly expanding the eligible population. In the pilot, we tested 50 acquisitions through INFORM compared with our traditional process, divided up all across the country. As we upscale to INFORM 2.0, we estimate that close to 300 acquisitions could be included. Testing it out at this large scale will let us formalize and expand workforce training, and incorporate refinements as a result of lessons learned through the INFORM pilot.
We know the first INFORM pilot worked extremely well on a small scale. With dedicated COs, in a controlled environment, we increased information sharing, increased industry satisfaction, increased CO satisfaction, without significantly increasing cycle time. As we start our next test, we have four objectives:
- Confirm expected results when operating at scale and in our normal environment
- Ensure successful transition of GSA's post award communication policy
- Provide additional opportunity for feedback before establishing a permanent policy
- Increase stakeholder buy-in
Stay tuned for more information on the launch of INFORM 2.0. Visit our website to learn more about the many improvements GSA is making to modernize and simplify the acquisition experience through the Federal Marketplace Strategy.
1 GSA acquisition workforce includes contracting officers, contract specialist, contracting officer representatives, project managers, subject matter experts and legal representatives