CIO-SP4 Amendment 9: Deep Thoughts and Practical Tips

So here we are—Amendment 9 for CIO-SP4 and the updated proposal submission date of August 20th. Before I state the obvious regarding the dramatic twists and turns on this procurement, let me say a few words to share our personal thoughts on this journey. We feel your pain. We know this entire process has been challenging at best, and it has tested our abilities as proposal professionals to stay ahead of, anticipate, and resolve concerns that we know you all have. I hope we have been helpful in that regard, answering your questions and providing information that has served the greater good. We are working to make sure that our clients – and industry overall – have the information needed to make informed decisions on how best to prepare their proposal.

Amendment 9 has thrown us another curve ball, this time by requiring “obligated” contract value for Corporate Experience as opposed to Total Contract Value, which was previously permitted. In Amendment 3 Q&A, which was released on June 22, NITAAC clarified that they would calculate values using obligated dollars for Leading Edge Technology Experience and Multiple Federal Award Experience. However, NITAAC did not update the RFP to reflect those changes. Further, the Corporate Experience section (L.5.2.1) continued to read, “The dollar value of the corporate experience example is the total value of the contract including options.”

Now, companies need to re-review their Corporate Experience examples to make sure their contract values reflect obligated amounts, not total contract value. This is a massive change that will likely impact hundreds of offerors as they re-assess their experience. Here are some tips:

First, the definition for “obligated value”. Per the CIO-SP4 RFP, NITAAC already defines obligated as “funded” (see page 43 of the RFP). There, under G.6 NIH Contract Access Fee and Fee Remittance, the first paragraph reads, “The NCAF is charged against all task orders and applied to the total obligated (funded) value for Contractor performance.” Understandably “funded” can mean different things for different kinds of customers. How do commercial, state, and local customers confirm obligated funds? Further, how do we verify if the “obligated” amounts cited on the (signed) J.6 attachments are accurate, assuming an Offeror does not submit FPDS reports? These are valid questions, and it remains to be seen how NITAAC interprets the term “funded.”

At least for now, we can offer our opinion on how we interpret obligated — consider this example of a small business bid:

  • Contract Start Date = November 1, 2019
  • Award POP = 1 base year, 4 option years
  • Award Total Contract Value = $10M ($2M per year)
  • Base period award is $2M
  • Option period 1, exercised to start 11/1/20, is $2M
  • Option periods 2, 3, 4 have not yet been exercised

If you were using the awarded TCV ($10M) in your scoresheet you would have been giving yourself 150 points for this contract for corporate experience. But the “obligated” amount is only the base plus exercised options (or funded amounts), so the obligated amount is only $4M. That would result in 90 points in the score sheet, instead of 150.

As this example makes clear, bidders should look closely at their experience examples as they shift from “total contract value” to “obligated” value, to see if there is an impact on scoring. In some cases, you may need to revisit teaming (again!) to see if you can add a partner to make up for the points lost in this conversion from TCV to obligated amount.

We will continue to monitor any further changes, and as always, we like hearing from you. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have questions. We will stay on top of this procurement until the end, whenever that may be.