Note: To Comply with Act 57 and PASSHE Policy, an IUP Procurement Option Form must be completed and submitted to the IUP director of Procurement for determination whether the RFP process is appropriate. All proposed members of an RFP Evaluation Committee must read this RFP overview in its entirety, and must complete, date, and sign the Statement of Compliance form prior to the initiation of the RFP process. No RFP-specific discussion or documents will be shared with proposed evaluation team members until the Statement of Compliance form has been completed. To be a member of an evaluation committee, the proposed member of the committee cannot have a conflict of interest and must agree to the confidentiality statement in the Statement of Compliance form. An individual that has a conflict of interest and/or is unwilling or unable to agree to the confidentiality statement cannot serve on the RFP Evaluation Committee. A person who is not an employee of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) may not serve on the committee. All completed Statement of Compliance forms must be forwarded to the Procurement Services Office.
A RFP is used when seeking a supplier’s solution for providing a commodity or service and when it is believed that giving suppliers the flexibility in proposing the solution will be to the organization’s advantage. In response to a supplier’s proposal, terms of performance will be negotiated with the supplier who was selected on the basis of the quality of their proposal. The RFP considers technical merit as well as cost, based on the weight of the criteria assigned. An RFP should not be confused with a Request for Quotation (RFQ), which considers cost only in making an award.
The procurement exceeds the small bid limit and there is not a justification that only one supplier can provide the product or service; therefore, a competitive bidding process must be followed. The RFP is also beneficial in providing IUP with information from the suppliers that can help make an informed decision.
The Procurement Team works with the business area experts to write a Request for Proposal that is technically complete and meets the needs of the requesting department. The Procurement Team participates in any preproposal conferences held regarding the proposal and fields supplier questions that are submitted during the solicitation period. Once the proposals are received, the Procurement Team will analyze the cost submittals to determine supplier scoring based on the points allotted for cost from the Evaluation Team. These points are later added in with the technical points to determine the overall score for the submittals.
Procurement Services agents. Agents are assigned specific commodities and services.
(List names of team members; normally departmental representatives that have knowledge or experience or who will be end users of the product or service to be procured.) An Evaluation Team member must have completed and signed the Statement of Compliance form. An Evaluation Team member cannot have a conflict of interest and must agree to the terms of confidentiality. The Procurement Services agent is not a part of the Evaluation Team.
*Note: Contracts with a value of greater than $20,000 require the Office of Attorney General approval. Contracts greater than $50,000 require the Office of General Counsel approval. Both offices require approximately thirty calendar days to process contracts.
Important: During the entire solicitation process, suppliers and committee members must not make contact (verbally or in writing).
The goal of the Evaluation Committee is to determine the relative merits of all proposals received in response to an RFP in a fair and consistent manner. Each evaluator must become familiar with the entire contents of the RFP. At least three evaluators are recommended per solicitation. An odd number of evaluators are preferred. The Procurement Services Office will be the sole intermediate between committee members and suppliers.
The IUP Procurement Services Office shall facilitate committee meetings and shall be available to answer procedural questions. The IUP Procurement Services Office shall be neutral in the evaluation process. Departmental representatives may also assist in procedural issues as neutral team members.
The IUP Procurement Services Office will first abstract the proposals, checking to make sure all proposals meet the proposal format as prescribed in the RFP. The IUP Procurement Services Office will retain all originals of the proposals and distribute the necessary copies to the Evaluation Committee once abstracting is complete.
Suppliers (as well as anyone else) are allowed to submit open records requests to see all of the proposal submittals, to include the unsuccessful bidders, as well as to request the evaluation matrix. The final matrix will show the Evaluation Team member names, locations, final scores, and some general comments. However, the notes the Evaluation Committee takes during evaluations are not available in an open records request. Responses to open record requests will be made after a contract has been awarded and fully executed and will be administered by the Open Records officer.
Prior to the RFP specifics being discussed or relevant documentation distributed, each member of the Evaluation Committee must sign a “No Conflict of Interest” form. The IUP Procurement Services Office will provide this form, which must be signed before any proposed committee member may begin their role as a member of the Evaluation Committee for the RFP. All completed and signed forms must be returned to the IUP Procurement Services Office.
An Evaluation Team member that believes there to be a conflict of interest must disclose, recuse, and document the conflict. These three steps are required to assure that decisions are made without unethical influence. Disclose means to advise management of a relationship that may appear to be a conflict of interest. Recuse means to remove yourself from participation in a decision in order to avoid a conflict of interest. When you disclose the relationship to management, advise them that you want no involvement in the decision due to the potential for real or perceived personal gain. Document means to produce and retain written correspondence about your disclosure (Statement of Compliance). Ethical accusations often arise months or years after a decision is made. By then, it can be difficult to remember the steps taken to maintain the integrity of the decision-making process. Forgotten details only strengthen the appearance of impropriety. Good documentation can prove that a decision was reached ethically.
Certain documents received as part of an RFP may be protected from public view. Each member of the RFP Evaluation Committee must sign a confidentiality statement, part of the Statement of Compliance form, which sets out responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of any RFP documents during and after the RFP evaluation process.
Do not share proposals, rankings, and evaluation materials with any parties outside of the Evaluation Team and Procurement Team.
Evaluation Committee members are provided with copies of each RFP to begin their individual review of the proposals.