NITAAC has announced a delay in the release of the CIO-SP4 Best-In-Class GWAC contract. This is the 4th generation of a contract that is 10 years in scope, covers virtually all Information Technology services, and is available for purchase by the entire Federal Government. The federal contracting community has followed the evolution of this contract since the Draft RFP was released in March 2020 and interest in this vehicle, which was high at the outset, has only grown over the past year.
Changes from previous versions of the contract include: 1. The combination of two separate vehicles (other than Small Business and Small Business versions) into a single RFP and award, and 2. The inclusion of a new introductory phase using a Self-Scoring Sheet. There have been no updates to the Draft RFP since last March. To date, there have been 4 Draft Self Scoring Sheets that have been provided between July and September of 2020.
NITAAC has staged virtual roadshows at industry events to update the federal contractor community on the status of the contract. In these sessions, numerous changes have been announced but have not been documented in a new Draft RFP. NITAAC has also stated that they would not be answering industry-submitted questions to the Draft RFP and subsequent scoresheets in writing. The contract has evolved throughout the year with numerous announced changes.
New Changes to CIO-SP4
Below are the new changes that have been announced during several interviews and statements from NITAAC.
- The Final RFP is now anticipated to be released in “mid- to late-March.” We’re still awaiting signatures from executives within HHS.
- The Final RFP is expected to have a heavy reduction on page count. Technical will now be a 5-page response to Task Area 1. Task Areas 2-10 may no longer have a written response. Management will be a 5-page response. Brian Goodger is quoted in a recent FNN article stating: “… a management plan, meaning how are you going to manage a contract of this size and scope associated with the GWAC as well as if you have any type of business arrangement if you’re in a contractor teaming arrangement, or a sub or in a mentor-protégé relationship. You’re going to discuss how that’s working and who the people are, who the lead is.”
- The RFP reflects the current SBA requirements regarding Joint Ventures and Contractor Teaming Agreements.
- Mid-Tier Award Pool has been eliminated. It has been replaced with an “Emerging Large Business” point bonus. There are no details provided on how the point bonus will work. The assumption is that it will be similar to previous Mid-Tier Bonus from Draft Scoresheet v.4.
- Evidence will now be required to substantiate Corporate Experience and other areas of the scoresheet.
NITAAC has stated that the government will be asking for evidence/proof for scoring elements in the form of a Standard Form 33 (SF-33) and a Statement of Work (SOW). This had previously been answered in several NITAAC roadshows as not being required. This news leads to several questions, specifically:
- Will a SF-33 and SOW suffice to prove scoring?
- How do Contractors provide evidence for certification elements?
- What should Contractors be prepared for regarding evidence?
Will a SF-33 and SOW Suffice to Prove Scoring?
SF33’s (or their equivalents) and SOWs will not be enough to prove relevance. The latest Draft Self-Scoring spreadsheet is requesting a maximum of 30 separate Corporate Experience examples, as well as additional examples for Leading Edge, Location, and Multiple Award Contracts. Complications could arise if only SF-33s and SOWs are being used, for example:
- SF-33s and SOWs are initial documents from time of award that could and may be modified over the life of a contract changing the following:
- Total Contract Value
- Scope of Work
- Period of Performance
- What if a Statement of Objectives was provided by the Government and no SOW was required?
- The SOWs will need to explicitly provide evidence of work performed to show relevance to each Technical Task Area.
- SF-33’s and SOWs will most likely not detail “Leading Edge” Technology because they are written PRIOR to work being performed, not after.
- SF-33s and SOWs do not provide evidence of work being performed 100 miles from Washington, D.C.
- SF-33s do not actually exist for subcontracted corporate experience and/or commercial corporate experience.
How Do Contractors Provide Evidence for Certification Elements?
The latest Self-Scoring Spreadsheet (v.4) provides scoring elements for industry recognized certifications (ISO, CMMI, etc.) and for systems (Estimating, Earned Value Management, etc.). How should contractors prepare evidence for these items?
- For ISO and CMMI, evidence will be the certificate gained from a cognizant auditor.
- For System Certification the following MAY apply:
- Successful audit from a Federal Agency (DCAA and/or individual agencies).
- If you are not currently performing on a contract with the scored systems, it is unlikely that an audit would be performed prior to submission.
- 3rd Party Assessment – This has been allowed verbally, but not explicitly in writing.
- The Final RFP will dictate what would need to be provided as evidence, if allowed.
What Should Contractors Be Prepared for Regarding Evidence?
Contractors now know that evidence will be required. However, a Draft RFP with specific requirements does not currently exist. How should the contracting community prepare for this requirement? We recommend that contractors collect the evidence that, as a prime contractor, are required to prove beyond a shadow of doubt your company’s relevance to any self-scoring element. This includes but is not limited to:
- Federal Procurement Database System (FPDS) documentation of Total Contract Value by Order Number
- Statements of Work, Performance Work Statements, Statement of Objectives
- Submissions to Requests for Proposals incorporated by reference as part of a contract
- Detail of how many hours/units worked by work element
- Deliverable reports showing work completed, evidence of location of work performed, and Leading Edge Technology
- For Subcontracted work, provide Purchase Orders, Invoices and evidence of the contract value that you are scoring yourself for
- For areas where most of the above doesn’t exist, obtain a signed document from Government/Commercial customer representatives stating that the work was performed at the levels required for scoring
The above list is not comprehensive but is informed by the requirements that have been set forth in similar Self-Scoring RFPs, such as GSA OASIS and the Draft RFP for GSA Polaris. The Final RFP from NITAAC will provide explicit instructions on what is needed and how points are achieved. This is a large task that should be started immediately in preparation for an April submittal.
Thanks to our GovCon expert, Joe Salgado, for diligently tracking this contract and providing recommendations on how to tackle it.