NPS Releases Latest Debriefing Policy For Disappointed Bidders

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The National Park Service (NPS) recently issued its latest policy for debriefing offerors who bid on but are not selected for new concession contracts.  Notably, NPS states that the purpose of the debriefing is not to provide offerors with information which may provide a basis to protest the selection decision, but instead “to assist potential offerors to improve future proposals.”  NPS’ policy states that the debriefing will not occur until after the new contract has been awarded.  The apparent reason NPS does not conduct debriefings until after the award is made is its assertion that “disclosure of information related to aspects of the selection decision prior to contract award

Under its new policy, NPS states that the debriefings will include:

  • The number and identity of offerors (including the selected offeror) and the total scores each received.
  • A general discussion of the quality of the debriefed offeror’s proposal based on the selection factors included in the applicable prospectus.
  • The point scores assigned under the applicable selection factors of the debriefed offeror’s proposal.
  • A description of the selection evaluation process.

The policy further states that NPS “may discuss confidential proprietary information the debriefed offeror submitted.”  NPS will also provide a copy of the awarded contract before the debriefing so that “the debriefing will afford the offeror the opportunity to understand the elements of the better proposal incorporated into the awarded contract.”

NPS’ standard prospectus languages requires disappointed offerors to submit a written request for a debriefing “within 14 calendar days from receiving the Notification of Selection/Non-Selection letter.”  NPS further states that “the Service will make every effort to schedule the oral debriefing as soon as practicable after award” and that “the debriefing may occur by phone or in person when feasible.”  The policy reiterates the fact that NPS “provides no process for an unsuccessful offeror to file an administrative appeal of the decision to select another offeror or cancel a prospectus,” thus leaving disappointed bidders with the options of filing a protest at the Government Accountability Office or a federal court.

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