A Unique Opportunity for Offerors To Improve Their Contract Winning Ratio
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"How do you define the post-award debriefing process?"
The post-award debriefing is the process by which any offeror, whether
successful or unsuccessful, is presented the right to understand the
reason why its proposal or bid was either accepted or rejected, but without a comparison with other offerors' proposals.
Getting a debriefing should be seen by offerors as an excellent
opportunity to improve their competitiveness by giving them the
opportunity to increase the winning ratio of future proposals.
Debriefings of successful and unsuccessful offerors may be done
orally, in writing, or by any other method acceptable to the contracting
officer. Oral debriefings (face-to-face or via telephone) are preferred
and highly encouraged. As a matter of fact, you can request to
participate in an oral debriefing with the contract officer in addition
to or in lieu of a written debriefing.
In Federal procurement, Federal agencies must conduct post-award debriefing of offerors in accordance with the
prescribed procedures set forth in
Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 15.506 (refer to S-17.5.4, Pre/Post-Award
At a minimum,
FAR 15.506 (d) states that the debriefing checklist information
- the evaluation of the significant weaknesses or
deficiencies in the offeror's proposal, if applicable;
- the overall evaluated cost or price (including unit prices) and
technical rating, if applicable, of the successful offeror and the
debriefed offeror, and past performance information on the debriefed
- the overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed
by the agency during the source selection;
- a summary of the rationale for award;
- for acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item
to be delivered by the successful offeror; and
- reasonable responses to relevant questions about whether source
selection procedures contained in the solicitation, applicable
rules and regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed.
What the Contracting Officer Should Not Say in a Contract Debriefing
Information released as part of a post-award debriefing session shall not
include side-by-side comparison of the debriefed offeror's proposal with that
of other offerors. As far as Federal procurement is concerned, the debriefing
shall not also reveal any information prohibited from disclosure by FAR 24.202
or exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552)
- trade secrets;
- information classified as secret in the interest of national defense or
- information related solely to the internal personnel rules and practices
of an agency;
- commercial and financial information stated or deemed privileged or
confidential-- cost breakdown structures, ;
- personnel and medical information that would constitute a clearly
unwarranted invasion of personal privacy when disclosed;
- privileged or confidential manufacturing processes and techniques;
- commercial and financial information that is privileged or confidential,
including cost breakdowns, profit, indirect cost rates, and similar
- the names of individuals providing reference information about an
offeror’s past performance.
post-award debriefing meeting is called by the contract officer
upon submission by the offeror of a post-award debriefing request
letter. The contract officer must receive the offeror's post-award
debriefing request letter
usually within 3 or 5 days of the receipt by the offeror of the contract award
notice. Because the 10-day protest deadline can only start after
offerors have been debriefed, the contract officer should then conduct
the debriefing meeting as soon as possible, usually within 5 days of
receipt of the offeror's post-award debriefing request letter.
Also known as: post-award debriefing request letter
The post-award debriefing letter is the
only legally safe way an offeror can request to be debriefed and
furnished the basis for the selection decision and contract award,
regardless of the acceptance of its proposal or bid.
"Could you give me any advice on how to write a post-award
debriefing request letter?"
"Do you have any tips, do's and don'ts about how to write
a post-award debriefing request letter?"
"Do you have a post-award debriefing request letter checklist?"
If your intent is not to file a post-award protest but rather to gather
insight and apply lessons learned to future endeavors, say so in your post-award debriefing request
letter as shown below.
"Our intended purpose of requesting a debriefing meeting
is not to file a post-award protest but instead
to improve for future solicitations by gathering information about our
proposal performance against solicitation specifications and evaluation
I've enclosed below a post-award debriefing request letter template you
merely need to complete with your own information or adjust to your particular
needs. Make it official by using a company letter head paper and have it
signed by a person who is authorized to engage the company responsibility. And
explicitly label it Post-award Debriefing Request to
avoid any possible confusion regarding the nature of the letter.
—Company Letterhead Paper—
[Contract Officer Name]
Reference: RFP No [RFP#], [RFP Title]
Formal Post-award Debriefing Request Letter
[Contract Officer Name],
Following award of the contract related to [RFP number], we hereby
respectfully request that you provide us with a debriefing
[add "in accordance with FAR 15.506 Post-award Debriefing of Offerors", in
case of Federal procurement] regarding the reasons why the proposal
[or bid] we submitted was not selected for a contract award.
This post award debriefing is requested within the 3-day period
[or any number of days] following posting of the contract award on
your website [or the award notice dated from (...)] as per contract clause
[contract clause number].
Our intended purpose of requesting a debriefing meeting is to improve
for future solicitations by gathering information about our proposal
performance against solicitation specifications and evaluation criteria.
[leave this paragraph if it represents your true intent, remove it
otherwise] Hence settle on a debriefing date at your convenience
[in accordance with FAR 15.506(a)(2)] and let us know.
We have attached questions we would like you to answer
top of the ones set forth in FAR 15.506, if any].
We look forward to future opportunities to work together.
Please formally acknowledge receipt of this post-award
debriefing request letter.
"Where can I find a sample letter of debriefing of proposal rejection?"
"Can you give me examples of a debrief request letter?"
Here is an :
Here is an example in which an offeror failed to explicitly state
they wanted a post-award debriefing session but merely requested access
Offeror must reasonably communicate that it is sending a
debriefing request letter rather than simply making a general
Department of the Navy vs. Coffman Specialties, Inc. (CSI), November 12, 2008.
"Contrary to CSI's position, we [GAO] conclude that CSI's September 22
e-mail, in which the firm simply asked the agency "if [it] could get
all the bid results from the above[-]subject project," did not
constitute a request for a post-award debriefing pursuant to FAR §
More specifically, in its September 22 e-mail, CSI made no reference
to a request for a post-award debriefing—all CSI requested was to
"get all the bid results."
While CSI is correct that no specific
language is prescribed in the FAR in terms of how to request such a
debriefing, we believe that a protester must reasonably communicate
to an agency that it is, in fact, seeking a formal debriefing,
rather than simply making a general informational request.
view, CSI's September 22 e-mail fails to convey anything more than
that the firm was seeking unspecified "bid results," not a formal
debriefing to be conducted in accordance with FAR § 15.506, which
specifies the procedures for the conduct of the post-award
debriefing and the information to be provided to offerors during
such a debriefing."
Lesson learned from this case
Make no assumption
regarding the solicitor's capability or willingness to decipher your
intent; always start your letter with the conspicuous title in big, bold
Post-Award Debriefing Request Letter
To nail down your point even more, your first sentence should be,
hereby request to be debriefed and furnished the basis for the selection
decision and the award of the contract [contract number] to
[awarded organization] in response to RFP [RFP ID]
pursuant to FAR 15.506."
You cannot be more explicit.
"What would be the ideal format of a post-award debriefing session?"
Synonyms: post-award debriefing checklist, proposal debrief checklist
post-award debriefing agenda template is the
tool that contracting officers use to tailor both their pre-award
debriefing meetings and post-award debriefing meetings.
The post-award debriefing agenda template defines what both the
contracting officer and the offeror need to know to better prepare
themselves for the debriefing meeting. In a nutshell, the post-award
debriefing agenda template includes and details further the following
- Identification of the contract officer's debriefing team and the
debriefed offeror's team.
- Purpose of the debriefing meeting
- Debriefing rules and debriefing agenda
- Source selection process brief review
- Proposal evaluation criteria
- Source selection organization
- Offeror's proposal evaluation results
- Offeror's proposal overall ranking
- Rationale for award decision
- Debriefing memorandum—Request the official debriefing summary
Contact us at
you want to receive the (free) detailed version of the post-award
debriefing agenda template aforementioned.
The post-award debriefing meeting is a good way to discover what went
wrong and to learn lessons that, applied at the very beginning of the
process as part of the
bid/no-bid decision process flow, will allow you to increase your
win ratio by bidding for contracts you would have
actually a fair chance to win.
The following Government and Institutional entities have consulted this
- U.S. Army Information Systems Command (USAISC) Headquarters
- U.S. DoD Network Information Center (DNIC)
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)
- U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Office of Operations
- U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
- U.S. Executive Office of the President (EOP)
- U.S. Department of Energy (DoE)
- U.S. Department of State (DoS)
- U.S. Department of Transportation (DoT)
- U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC)
- U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
- U.S. Department of the Interior (DoI)
- U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC)