Bid Document Development
Federal regulations prohibit the awarding of contracts to any person or entity that develops or drafts specifications, requirements, statements of work, invitations for bids, requests for proposals, contract terms and conditions or other procurement documents. In failing to fulfill its responsibilities to draft its own specifications and procurement documents, a Sponsoring Organization which copies a list of features or evaluation and ranking criteria drafted by a potential vendor and then permits that potential vendor to submit a bid has violated federal regulation
2 CFR 200.319(b). This pertains to all child nutrition program procurements, including software acquisitions.
Each Sponsoring Organization is required to have procurement procedures in place that reflect applicable state and local laws and regulations, provided that procurements made with Child Nutrition Programs funds adhere to the standards set forth in the federal regulations. Sponsoring Organization procedures must also include a written code of standards of conduct meeting the minimum standards of
2 CFR 200.318, as applicable.
Any action that diminishes open and free competition seriously undermines the integrity of the procurement process and may subject a Sponsoring Organization to bid protests. Sponsoring Organizations are responsible for properly responding to protests and concerns raised by potential contractors. Pursuant to
2 CFR 200.318(a) and 2 CFR 200.318(k) , Each Sponsoring Organization 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 Department.
2 CFR 200.319 Competition
- All procurement transactions for the acquisition of property or services required under a Federal award must be conducted in a manner providing full and open competition consistent with the standards of this section and
- 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; and
- Any arbitrary action in the procurement process.
- The non-Federal entity must conduct procurements in a manner that prohibits the use of statutorily or administratively imposed state, local, or tribal geographical preferences in the evaluation of bids or proposals, except in those cases where applicable Federal statutes expressly mandate or encourage geographic preference. Nothing in this section preempts state licensing laws. When contracting for architectural and engineering (A/E) services, geographic location may be a selection criterion provided its application leaves an appropriate number of qualified firms, given the nature and size of the project, to compete for the contract.
- The non-Federal entity must have written procedures for procurement transactions. These procedures must ensure that all solicitations:
- Incorporate a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements for the material, product, or service to be procured. Such description must not, in competitive procurements, contain features which unduly restrict competition. The description may include a statement of the qualitative nature of the material, product or service to be procured and, when necessary, must set forth those minimum essential characteristics and standards to which it must conform if it is to satisfy its intended use. Detailed product specifications should be avoided if at all possible. When it is impractical or uneconomical to make a clear and accurate description of the technical requirements, a “brand name or equivalent" description may be used as a means to define the performance or other salient requirements of procurement. The specific features of the named brand which must be met by offers must be clearly stated; and
- Identify all requirements which the offerors must fulfill and all other factors to be used in evaluating bids or proposals.
- The non-Federal entity must ensure that all prequalified lists of persons, firms, or products which are used in acquiring goods and services are current and include enough qualified sources to ensure maximum open and free competition. Also, the non-Federal entity must not preclude potential bidders from qualifying during the solicitation period.
- Noncompetitive procurements can only be awarded in accordance with