Contracting for Services
Contracting for Services
First and foremost remember our job is to en-sure “Best Value” 1 for our citizens. It is their money. Also remember to “Make the Important Measurable, not the Measurable Important.” 2
Use the 5 “Ws” in developing your Scope of Services (service Request For Proposals (RFP) and contract):
What, When, Where, Who, and Why
Outlining your requirements in this fashion will enable you to focus on the needs and deliverables, allowing you to write a very goof Scope of Services
What is it you want to accomplish? What are the goals?
- Be specific but leave room for respondents to get creative or suggest something you did not think of.
- What is the background for the service requirement(s)?
- What performance measures will be used? Are they arbitrary and capricious or are they quantifiable? Eliminate the arbitrary and capricious.
- What are the accountability factors for the service provider? What feedback will you make available to the provider, and will reciprocal?
- What are the agency deliverables, and tied to performance measures? for both parties encourages problem solving.
- What specific qualifications of the contractor’s perform the service(s)?
- What access will the agency resources during the
When will the receivables be due?
- Is the response time reasonable? Does the provider have enough time to adequately prepare?
- Are agency information services available in a timely fashion to allow for proper response and expected deliverables?
Where will the work be done?
Who is the primary agency contact?
- Who is the alternate contractor?
Why is the agency going through this exercise?
- Would it be better to issue a generic award based on a Statement of Qualifications rather than look for complex answers to simple problems or projects? Ask purchasing about options that may be available to obtain the services (other agency awards/contracts).
Testing or Publication Requirements
Is any testing or publication applicable to this service?
ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials)
NSC (National Safety Council) U.L. (Underwriters Laboratories) CDOT (Colorado Department of Transportation)
What are the quality requirements, and can you use measurable performance standards for your deliverables?
Address tasks and supervision, if applicable.
How are the respondents to price their proposals, or how would you prefer the proposed fee schedule be structured? Hourly, weekly, percentage, etc.? Will the agency be required to pay for specialized equipment or software licenses, and, if so, who retains ownership at completion? Will the agency be required to procure any specialized product in order to utilize the final deliverables?
What are you looking for in the respondent’s business plan?
Has an adequate time frame been included to allow response to problems or emergencies on either party’s part or are rapid responses or emergency services included or addressed? Is time of the essence for completion? Is this an emergency situation where services are required immediately?
Have changes in scope or deliverables been adequately addressed in response and cost?
What will you look for in the proposal regarding presentations, submittals?
Make clear what will be acceptable in responses and what may cause the proposal to be rejected or receive lower marks, if not properly returned.
Leave room for respondent to make suggestions regarding scope or deliverables without turning their response into “War and Peace”.
Have special conditions been addressed? CDBG, Davis-Bacon, insurance, bonding, etc.?
No RFP is perfect. However, learn from previous attempts and use the resources around you: peers, co-workers, purchasing, legal, etc. Example RFPs for most services are available through multiple sources. Your purchasing professionals are available to assist with most anything you need to issue a valid RFP.
Footnotes : 1 Best value is defined as procuring the best service possible at the least possible cost. 2 Katherine Frisch, Government PROcurement magazine, June 2002
Editor’s Note: Bruce Hartmetz, CPPB, is a buyer for the City of Northglenn, CO, and member of the GPRO Editorial Advisory Board. He presents this user-friendly information to city management, city council, engineers, architects, project managers, and procurement folks.