the most common mistakes that agencies make in service
The most common mistakes made by procuring
agency staff typically do not involve complex issues.
The following are some of the most common issues:
failure to follow
current model language policy (or to submit such a
contract for approval processing without an approved
rule exception to permit deviations from model
failure to ensure
that the written amount agrees with the numerical
amount detailed in the Maximum Liability
failure to ensure
that the alpha-numeric designations of all contract
provisions are in proper sequence and without gaps
failure to correctly
reference all contract document attachments and
failure to affix all
required signatures to contract documents
failure to complete
all “blanks” in the subject model policy template
failure to “spell
check” and proof read contract documents
failure to present
contract documents for approval with all required
procurement documentation (refer to Policy .06a for
lists by procurement type)
does “RFS” stand for?
It is an acronym for
“Requisition For Service.” It should be a unique
agency-assigned tracking number for the subject
service contracts for a specific time frame, such as 1 year,
2 years or lifetime?
professional service contracts MUST have a specific contract
period (with a start date and an end date). Note: State
agencies may NOT authorize, accept, or pay for professional
service outside the contract period of an applicable
contract unless approved in writing by the F&A Commissioner
(refer to professional service contracting rule 0620-3-3-.07(15)).
What is the maximum number of years for a contract without
the need for “re-bid” or “renewal?”
A professional service contract may not exceed a period of
60 months. However, it is possible to
obtain a Rule Exception if a longer
contract is justified and in the interests of the state.
What is the average time needed for an agency to re-bid an
existing contract for a complex computer application?
complex procurement processes should begin the moment
that an existing contract is signed, and for others,
six, nine, twelve months would be reasonable.
There is no absolute with such processes that are so
“situational.” A major issue will be simply, “how quickly will the
folks involved in the process work?” It is true that
changes (regulatory and otherwise) over time can affect
procurement processes. However, there are many facets of
the process that are reasonably static and should commence
as early as possible.
the responsibilities of an RFP coordinator?
The experience, influence, and
consistency of RFP Coordinators are critical to the
successful completion of RFP processes. RFP Coordinator
(1) support program staff in
drawing the RFP;
(2) manage the RFP process;
(3) instruct the Proposal
Evaluation Team regarding the RFP process, the terms of
the subject RFP, and the evaluation process detailed in
the RFP so that team members understand the RFP process
and their responsibilities in it;
(4) manage proposal evaluations;
(5) oversee proposal reviews for
responsiveness to requirements;
(6) coordinate any consultations
and financial reviews;
(7) oversee proposal scoring
(8) maintain the procurement
file with all relevant documents.
An RFP Coordinator should NOT serve
as a member of a Proposal Evaluation Team.
What is the minimum amount of time prior to contract
expiration that a new RFP should be submitted for initial
In policy, agencies are asked to accommodate at least
days in their procurement schedule for RFP approval (while
it rarely takes for the approval of RFP documents, we have found that it takes procuring
agency staff substantial time to address concerns identified
in these reviews). In addition to the review time, the
agency must “back up the date” for submitting an RFP for
approval by the number of days expected for the RFP process
(considering the proposed schedule of events). Depending
upon the nature of the service being bought (and how crucial
it is) as well as the complexity of the procurement and the
potential for protest, it may also be very advisable to back
up the date to allow time for a proposer protest.
When a vendor wins a contract for a large and complex computer
system, and some of the components are bid with a zero cost
attached, what leverage do I have when those “zero cost
deliverables” are late or do not meet specifications?
In planning such a complex procurement, it is advisable to
draft the procurement documents with appropriate liquidated
damages that would address potential eventualities as
described. Liquidated damages if properly drafted should
provide ample leverage with regard to any deliverable. (A
performance bond would serve a similar purpose, but not as
effectively.) If, in the described situation, such
protection was not drafted as a part of the contract
obligation, remaining leverage would seem to be limited to
standard Termination for Convenience and Termination for
Cause provisions as well as the potential that payments for
other deliverables “might be affected” by the failure to
meet prerequisite deliverable requirements.
Is it common practice to include, in a complex computer
system RFP, a requirement that states the winning vendor must
either have an office in Nashville or provide onsite
analysts and/or programmers?
Such is sometimes a requirement in IT
procurements. Onsite staff for work is frequently
reasonable (and no travel would be paid to accommodate an
out of town vendor). However, note that a requirement for a
local office is NOT typically permissible.
What is the
significance of using "weights" in RFP scoring?
The use of weights in an RFP evaluation assumes that one or
more items or proposed costs to be evaluated are more
important (significant) than others. By using weights, the
state is able to add a mathematical emphasis on things that
are more important. For example, if the state asks for a
proposer to propose a cost for apples and oranges, but the
state knows that it will probably buy 100 apples and only
three oranges, clearly the price of apples is more
significant (important) to the state. However, if the state
failed to use weights in the evaluation model, the cost of
oranges would be as important as that for apples, and the
state would end up paying more over all.
Providers” of a certain service have to go through the RFP
The RFP process is the
generally preferred method for selecting professional
service contractors. The terms
“non-competitive contract” and “non-competitive negotiation”
are used in those instances where the procuring agency head
has justified (usually based on the uniqueness and
availability of the subject service in the market) and the
central procurement oversight authority has approved that it is in the state’s best
interests to permit procuring agency staff to confer with
only one potential contractor in order to obtain the best
possible, fair, and reasonable agreement to purchase
Is there any guidance from the state on limiting or capping
the amount of money in a state contract going to personnel
Professional service contracting regulations do not address
the amount of funding available for reimbursement under a
grant contract for personnel costs. However, other
regulations (of specific agency programs or
federal funders) may offer guidance or mandates (compliance
with which is the sole responsibility of the procuring
If there is a series of subcontracts, how many steps down
that line are still obligated to follow state procurement
policy? For example, we get our money from EPA, we write a
state contract with an organization, they write a
subcontract for a service, that entity subcontracts for
another service, etc... How many steps removed from the
state treasury do you have to be before state procurement
policies no longer apply?
The contract provisions that are specifically named as
following to subcontractors (i.e.,
nondiscrimination, conflict of interest, competitive
procurements, etc.) would reasonably follow and apply
to all immediate subcontractors providing service pursuant to a
contract with the state.
contract is approved and invoices are received, how do I
process those invoices? What do I turn in and to whom? How
will I know invoices are paid?
contract number and approval (by the person responsible for
managing the subject contract) should be affixed on each
invoice received and found acceptable for payment.
Processing invoices for payment is the responsibility of
each procuring state agency’s fiscal office. Fiscal staff
enter appropriate information and complete
necessary steps within the Edison system. Contact your agency’s fiscal staff
for detailed information and access to accounting reports.
explain professional service contracting rule 0620-3-3-.01(8)? The
money we contract with is all federal and we are unsure how
this paragraph may impact our program.
An agreement in which the federal government GIVES funds to
the state is NOT governed by professional service
contracting regulations, and thus, the agreement does NOT
have to follow any service contracting model policy or be
approved through the Edison system. HOWEVER, regardless of the source
of funding, ALL expenditures by the state through
professional service contracts or grants MUST adhere to
professional service contracting regulations.