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Section 16: Request for Proposal (RFP)


(1) An RFP process may be used instead of the Invitation for Bid (IFB) process if the Director of Purchasing and Contract Services determines, in writing, that the RFP process will provide the best value to the institution.

(2) An RFP shall include a scope of work, all contractual terms and conditions applicable to the procurement, and the manner in which proposals are to be submitted.

(3) A minimum of ten (10) days shall be provided for response.

(4) RFPs must be publically advertised as outlined in this procedure and the Procurement Code.

(5) Proposals shall be handled as outlined in this procedure and the Procurement Code

(6) The RFP process may be conducted in multiple steps, including presentations/discussions and requests for best and final proposals.

(7) The request for proposal standard procurement process is appropriate to use for:

(A) the procurement of professional services;

(B) a design-build procurement;

(C) when cost is not the most important factor to be considered in making the selection that is most advantageous to Utah State University; or

(D) when factors, in addition to cost, are highly significant in making the selection that is most advantageous to Utah State University.

(1) The request for proposal standard procurement process begins when Utah State University issues a request for proposal.

(2) A request for proposal shall:

(A) state the period of time during which a proposal will be accepted;

(B) describe the manner in which a proposal shall be submitted;

(C) state the place where a proposal shall be submitted;

(D) include, or incorporate by reference:

(i) a description of the procurement items sought;

(ii) a description of the subjective and objective criteria that will be used to evaluate the proposal; and

(iii) the standard contractual terms and conditions required by the authorized purchasing entity;

(iv) state the relative weight that will be given to each score awarded for the criteria described, including cost;

(v) state the formula that will be used to determine the score awarded for the cost of each proposal;

(vi) if the request for proposal will be conducted in multiple stages, include a description of the stages and the criteria and scoring that will be used to screen offerors at each stage; and

(vii) state that discussions may be conducted with offerors who submit proposals determined to be reasonably susceptible of being selected for award, followed by an opportunity to make best and final offers, but that proposals may be accepted without discussions.

(1) Utah State University shall ensure that proposals are opened in a manner that avoids disclosing the contents to competing offerors during the evaluation process.

(2) Utah State University may not accept a proposal:

(A) after the time for submission of a proposal has expired; or

(B) that is not responsive to the request for proposal.

(1) After proposals are received and opened, Utah State University may conduct discussions with the offerors and allow the offerors to make best and final offers after the discussions.

(2) Utah State University shall:

(A) ensure that each offeror receives fair and equal treatment with respect to the other offerors;

(B) establish a schedule and procedures for conducting discussions;

(C) ensure that information in each proposal and information gathered during discussions is not shared with other offerors until the contract is awarded;

(D) ensure that auction tactics are not used in the discussion process, including discussing and comparing the costs and features of other proposals; and

(E) set a common date and time for the submission of best and final offers.

(3) If an offeror chooses not to participate in a discussion or does not make a timely best and final offer, the offer submitted by the offerors before the conduct of discussions shall be treated as the offeror's best and final offer.

(1) Correction or withdrawal of an unintentionally erroneous proposal, or the cancellation of an award or contract that is based on an unintentionally erroneous proposal, may be made in accordance with the rules of the Director of Purchasing and Contract Services.

(2) A decision to permit the correction or withdrawal of a proposal or the cancellation of an award or a contract shall be supported in a written document, signed by the Director of Purchasing and Contract Services.

(1) Each proposal shall be evaluated using the criteria described in the request for proposal, which may include:

(A) experience;

(B) performance ratings;

(C) inspection;

(D) testing;

(E) quality;

(F) workmanship;

(G) time, manner, or schedule of delivery;

(H) references;

(I) financial stability;

(J) suitability for a particular purpose;

(K) management plans;

(L) cost; or

(M) other subjective or objective criteria specified in the request for proposal.

(2) Criteria not described in the request for proposal may not be used to evaluate a proposal.

(3) Utah State University shall:

(A) appoint an evaluation committee consisting of at least three (3) individuals; and

(B) ensure that the evaluation committee and each member of the evaluation committee:

(C) does not have a conflict of interest with any of the offerors;

(i) can fairly evaluate each proposal;

(ii) does not contact or communicate with an offeror concerning the procurement outside the official evaluation committee process; and

(iii) conducts the evaluation in a manner that ensures a fair and competitive process and avoids the appearance of impropriety.

(4) The evaluation committee may conduct interviews with, or participate in presentations by, the offerors.

(A) Except as provided, each member of the evaluation committee is prohibited from knowing, or having access to, any information relating to the cost, or the scoring of the cost, of a proposal until after the evaluation committee submits its final recommended scores on all other criteria to Utah State University.

(5) Utah State University is not required to comply with Section 4.A if, before opening the responses to the request for proposal, the Vice President for Business and Finance, the Director of Purchasing and Contract Services, or a person designated:

(A) signs a written statement:

(i) indicating that, due to the nature of the proposal or other circumstances, it is in the best interest of Utah State University to waive compliance; and

(ii) describing the nature of the proposal and the other circumstances relied upon to waive compliance; and

(iii) makes the written statement available to the public, upon request.

(6) The evaluation committee shall award scores to each responsive and responsible proposal that     has not been disqualified from consideration under the provisions of this chapter.

(1) If the highest score awarded by the evaluation committee, including the score for cost, is awarded to a proposal other than the lowest cost proposal, and the difference between the cost  of the highest scored proposal and the lowest cost proposal exceeds the greater of $10,000 or  5% of the lowest cost proposal, Utah State University shall make an informal written cost-benefit analysis that:

(A) explains, in general terms, the advantage to Utah State University of awarding the contract to the higher cost offeror;

(B) includes, except as provided in earlier, the estimated added financial value to Utah State University of each criteria that justifies awarding the contract to the higher cost offeror;

(C) includes, to the extent that assigning a financial value to a particular criteria is not practicable, a statement describing:

(i) why it is not practicable to assign a financial value to the criteria; and

(ii) in nonfinancial terms, the advantage to Utah State University, based on the particular criteria, of awarding the contract to the higher cost offeror;

(iii) demonstrates that the value of the advantage to Utah State University of awarding the contract to the higher cost offeror exceeds the value of the difference between the cost of the higher cost proposal and the cost of the lower cost proposals; and

(iv) includes any other information required by rule made by the applicable rulemaking authority.

(2) If the informal cost-benefit analysis described does not justify award of the contract to the  offeror that received the highest score, Utah State University:

(A) may not award the contract to the offeror that received the highest score; and

(B) may award the contract to the offeror that received the next highest score, unless:

(i) an informal cost-benefit analysis is required, because the difference between the cost proposed by the offeror that received the next highest score and the lowest cost proposal exceeds the greater of $10,000 or 5% of the lowest cost proposal; and

(ii) the informal cost-benefit analysis does not justify award of the contract to the offeror that received the next highest score.

(3) If the informal cost-benefit analysis described does not justify award of the contract to the offeror, described herein, that received the next highest score, Utah State University:

(A) may not award the contract to the offeror that received the next highest score; and

(B) shall continue with the process described in this section for each offeror that received the next highest score, until Utah State University:

(i) awards the contract in accordance with the provisions of this section; or

(ii) cancels the request for proposal.

(4) Utah State University is not required to make the cost-benefit analysis described in this section for a contract with a construction manager/general contractor if the contract is awarded based solely on the qualifications of the construction manager/general contractor and the management fee.

(1) After the evaluation and scoring of proposals is completed, Utah State University shall:

(A) except as provided in the previous section, award the contract as soon as practicable to:

(i) the responsive and responsible offeror with the highest total score; or

(ii) if, in accordance with this section, the Director of Purchasing and Contract Services or Vice President for Business and Finance disqualifies the offeror described, the responsive and responsible offeror with the next highest total score; or

(iii) cancel the request for proposal without awarding a contract.

(2) In accordance with this section, the Director of Purchasing and Contract Services may disqualify an offeror for:

(A) a violation of this chapter;

(B) a violation of a requirement of the request for proposal;

(C) unlawful or unethical conduct; or

(D) a change in circumstance that, had the change been known at the time the proposal was submitted, would have caused the proposal to not have the highest score.

(3) The Director of Purchasing and Contract Services who disqualifies an offeror shall:

(A) make a written finding, stating the reasons for disqualification; and

(B) provide a copy of the written finding to the disqualified offeror.

(4) If Utah State University cancels a request for proposal without awarding a contract, Utah State University shall make available for public inspection a written justification for the cancellation.

(1) Utah State University shall, on the day on which the award of a contract is announced, make available to each offeror and to the public a written statement that includes:

(A) the name of the offeror to which the contract is awarded and the total score awarded by the evaluation committee to that offeror;

(B) the total score awarded by the evaluation committee to each offeror to which the contract is not awarded, without identifying which offeror received which score; and

(C) any cost-benefit analysis made in relation to the request for proposal.