• Eric Bowie

Federal Government Contracting and Source Selection Exchanges


Click HERE to Learn How to Do Business With the Federal Government


In the Federal Government Contracting world, the word "exchanges" refers to an exchange of information between the federal government and contractors.



According to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR), exchanges are encouraged from the earliest identification of a requirement through the receipt of proposals. All exchanges should be consistent with procurement integrity requirements, however, after proposals are received for a particular requirement, exchanges are examined even more closely and warrant greater examination, in an effort to maintain the fairness of the procurement process.



When a federal government procuring agency is procuring a requirement, and is using the source selection process, there are 3 types of exchanges with offerors following the receipt of proposals.




Clarifications, Communications, and Discussions


Clarifications are limited exchanges between the Federal Government and offerors, which may occur when awarding without discussions is being contemplated. Check out FAR Part 15.306(a) and there is great information there. Clarifications will typically refer to minor things like clerical errors, and can be done with only 1 offeror, if the Contracting Officer chooses



Communications are exchanges between the Government and offerors, after the receipt of proposals, and the intention is to lead to the establishment of a competitive range. So communications take place BEFORE the competitive range is established. More information can be gathered on this type of exchange at FAR Part 15.306(b). Communications should take place with offerors whose past performance may keep them out of the competitive range and exclusion from the competitive range is uncertain. It is important to remember that contractors are not allowed to provide the government with a revised proposal, following communications.



Discussions are exchanges that take place AFTER the competitive range has been established. Discussions are tailored to each individual offeror's proposals, and must be conducted by the Contracting Officer with each offeror within the competitive range. In other words, a Contracting Officer cannot have discussions with one firm, and not conduct discussions with other firms in the competitive range. More information can be gathered about discussions at FAR Part 15.406(d)(1). It's important to note that contractors are allowed to provide the government with a revised proposal, following discussions


These 3 types of exchanges are just a small part of the rules and regulations that support the policies and procedures that federal government contracting professionals must adhere to when communicating with contractors during the source selection process, following the receipt of proposals.


For more detailed information, I encourage you to take a look at FAR Part 15, and become a patron by clicking below.


Click HERE to Learn How to Do Business With the Federal Government

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