2 CFR 200.319 Competition
(a) All procurement transactions must be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition consistent with the standards of this section. In order to ensure objective contractor performance and eliminate unfair competitive advantage, contractors that develop or draft specifications, requirements, statements of work, or invitations for bids or requests for proposals must be excluded from competing for such procurements. Some of the situations considered to be restrictive of competition include but are not limited to:
- Placing unreasonable requirements on firms in order for them to qualify to do business;
- Requiring unnecessary experience and excessive bonding;
- Noncompetitive pricing practices between firms or between affiliated companies;
- Noncompetitive contracts to consultants that are on retainer contracts;
- Organizational conflicts of interest;
- Specifying only a “brand name” product instead of allowing “an equal” product to be offered and describing the performance or other relevant requirements of the procurement;
2 CFR 200.318 General procurement standards
(c)(1) The non-Federal entity must maintain written standards of conduct covering conflicts of interest and governing the actions of its employees engaged in the selection, award and administration of contracts. No employee, officer, or agent may participate in the selection, award, or administration of a contract supported by a Federal award if he or she has a real or apparent conflict of interest. Such a conflict of interest would arise when the employee, officer, or agent, any member of his or her immediate family, his or her partner, or an organization which employs or is about to employ any of the parties indicated herein, has a financial or other interest in or a tangible personal benefit from a firm considered for a contract. The officers, employees, and agents of the non-Federal entity may neither solicit nor accept gratuities, favors, or anything of monetary value from contractors or parties to subcontracts. However, non-Federal entities may set standards for situations in which the financial interest is not substantial or the gift is an unsolicited item of nominal value. The standards of conduct must provide for disciplinary actions to be applied for violations of such standards by officers, employees, or agents of the non-Federal entity.
Each SFA is required to have procurement procedures in place that reflect applicable state and local laws and regulations, provided that procurements made with nonprofit school food service account funds adhere to the standards set forth in the
federal regulations. School food authority procedures must also include a written code of standards of conduct meeting the minimum standards of 7 CFR Part 3016.36(b)(3) or 7 CFR Part 3019.42, as applicable.
Any action which diminishes open and free competition seriously undermines the integrity of the procurement process and may subject an SFA to bid protests. SFAs are responsible for properly responding to protests and concerns raised by potential contractors. Pursuant to §3016.36(b) (12), SFAs must have protest procedures in place to handle and resolve disputes relating to their procurements and must in all instances disclose information regarding a protest to the Illinois State Board of Education Nutrition and Wellness Programs Division.
Bid Document Submission—Three-Step Review Process
School food authorities are required to adhere to a three-step submission and review process to ensure compliance with all federal and state regulations and statutes. All documents must be accompanied by the appropriate submission form and all required certification forms must be included as part of the Invitation for Bid and Contract, as applicable.
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