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Once these decisions have been made and funds are committed for the requirement, the contracting officer begins preparing the solicitation document and arranges for the announcement of the solicitation through various channels.

Announcement of the Solicitation

The Federal Business Opportunities website is used to inform prospective bidders of contracting opportunities.

Federal Business Opportunities (FBO)

The Federal Business Opportunities website is the single government point-of-entry for Federal government procurement opportunities over $25,000. Government buyers are able to publicize their business opportunities by posting information directly to FedBizOpps via the Internet. Through one portal - FedBizOpps (FBO) - commercial vendors seeking Federal markets for their products and services can search, monitor and retrieve opportunities solicited by the entire Federal contracting community.

ED uses FBO to post requirement synopses, draft statements of work, solicitations, and solicitation amendments for all competitive solicitations. Sources sought notices, award notices, special notices, and combined synopsis/solicitations are posted too. ED also uses FBO to post contract opportunities in the $10,000 - $25,000 range.

Procurement Method

One of the first decisions made by the contracting officer is whether a sealed bidding or negotiated procurement method will be used. The distinction between these two methods does not relate to the manner in which they are publicly announced or to the extent of competition for contract awards. The primary difference between sealed bidding and negotiated procurements is the way in which the responses to the solicitation from prospective contractors are evaluated.

It should be noted that, due to the nature of the goods and services ED acquires, sealed bidding is rarely used at ED.

Procurement by Sealed Bidding (48 CFR 14)

Sealed bidding is a method of contracting that employs competitive bids, public opening of bids, and awards based on clear, accurate and complete specifications of the government’s requirement. When a procurement is made by sealed bidding, it is generally publicized in FedBizOpps.

The solicitation form in sealed bidding is known as an Invitation For Bid (IFB). The IFB includes a copy of the product or service specifications, instructions for preparing the bid and information on the date, time, and place of bid opening. Bids received are publicly opened, announced, and evaluated. The evaluation determines the extent to which each bid conforms to the IFB requirements. A bid meeting all of the IFB’s minimum requirements is considered “responsive.” The evaluation then focuses on the question of “responsibility” -- whether, for example, responsive bidders have the technical and financial capability to perform the contract. The Small Business Administration issues

Doing Business with the Department of Education

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