Goods & Services Formal Solicitations
- Invitation to Bid
Invitations To Bid (ITB) compare a specific list of features and determine the lowest price. ITBs...
- Only consider price as the determining factor between responsible, responsive bidders
- Do not allow negotiations
- Take approximately 3 months to complete
- Request for Proposals
Requests For Proposals (RFP) compare suppliers’ solutions about how best to achieve the agency's objectives. Proposals are evaluated on criteria other than just price. RFPs...
- Are a good option if you don’t know what’s available, or what approach is best
- Allow you to compare meaningful criteria other than price
- Include evaluations and negotiations
Take approximately 6 months to complete
- Request for Qualifications
Requests For Qualifications (RFQ) seeks to qualify a group of suppliers to do more formal, competitive procurements later. RFQs...
- Are used to identify suppliers who are interested and available
- Allow you to negotiate a contract without a formal scope of work
- Are always followed by a formal procurement (RFP/ITB) advertised to the pool of qualified suppliers; the pool can be used for multiple procurements
Take approximately 3 months to complete
- Request for Information
Requests For Information (RFI) are used to research a process, product, or the viability of a proposed solution by asking the supplier community to provide information on the topic. RFIs...
- Are informal
- Are not technically a procurement
- Don't have a specified format for responses
- Don’t reject “late” responses
- Take approximately 3 months to complete
- Prepare the G&S Solicitation Prep Package
- The G&S Solicitation Prep Form
- Draft RFP Scope of Work (SOW) / ITB Specifications (Specs Tip Sheet)
• Incorporate ecolabels & sustainability standards (Sustainable Purchasing Guide)
- List of suppliers to notify
- Attachments and Exhibits
• Attachments: documents or forms bidders/proposers must submit
• Exhibits: additional information for bidders/proposers
- (ITB Only) Pricing Sheet - list the bid items you expect bidders to price, including the unit of measure
- (RFP Only) Proposal Evaluation Planning
• Evaluation committee: identify who will review proposals (functional, technical, and end user perspectives, etc.)
• Proposal questions: describe what we want from the proposer (narrative response, Q&A chart, etc.)
• Evaluation criteria: define the qualifications used to score proposals; assign points to what's most important
- The G&S Solicitation Prep Form
- Submit a service request for a New Solicitation
Attach any documents you prepared from the G&S Solicitation Prep Package (above). After submitting your service request, you'll get an email with a procurement number and "next steps." This may include an intake meeting with your assigned P&P Buyer to plan the procurement schedule and action steps.
- Submit a service request for Subcontracting/Apprenticeship Opportunities Worksheet (SOAW).
Attach the Scope/Specifications; see the SOAW Guide for assistance. The Business Development & Contract Compliance (BDCC) team will assign requirements for small business utilization that will be incorporated into the RFP. They will also decide if there are any special considerations granted for the contract (usually pricing incentives for ITBs, or recommended scoring for RFPs).
- Email the Insurance Requirements Form (IRF) to the Office of Risk Management.
Attach the Scope/Specifications and copy your P&P Buyer on the email. Risk Management will assign insurance requirements for the contract that will be included in the draft agreement advertised during solicitation.
If you have questions or concerns about the assigned insurance requirements, talk to Risk Management.
- P&P will advertise the solicitation in newspapers and online
Forward all questions related to the procurement to the Buyer; you'll be asked to assist P&P in preparing formal responses, published online as addenda.
- Attend the Pre-Bid/Proposal Meeting & Site Tour
At the pre-bid/proposal meeting, your agency will present a summary of the contract scope or specifications describing your needs. This is an informational meeting. All questions from bidders or proposers about the contract must be submitted in writing. Responses are issued as contract addenda so that all potential bidders/proposers can access the information.
Especially for services contracts, site tours are highly recommended for any space that is not open to the public. Site tours give bidders/proposers a chance to inspect the space and ask questions, which helps ensure the scope/specifications are clear.
P&P opens bids/proposals on Tuesdays or Thursdays at 2 PM when the sealed bids/proposals are due. Agencies are not required to attend.
- Invitation to Bid (ITB): The Buyer prepares the Bid Tabulation ("bid tab") which compares the companies' prices. King County always awards to the lowest responsive, responsible bidder. Your agency must review the bid tab, and respond with your approval or concerns.
- Request for Proposal (RFP): Your agency must pick up the proposals from P&P and distribute them to the evaluation committee to review and score according to the published evaluation criteria. Make sure the evaluation committee represents every aspect of the project to give the evaluation a well-rounded review. We recommend consensus scoring: the evaluation committee members first review proposals individually, then the group reviews each proposal together and comes to a consensus score for each category. If more than one proposal is competitive, your agency may request a demonstration and/or interview with the highest ranked proposers. P&P will schedule the interviews, and your agency will develop the interview questions.
Final Score = combined score of Evaluation + Interview + Demo.
To ensure that the low bidder is responsible, your agency may request the bidder/proposer submit References with their submittal. We recommend your agency performs reference checks in writing to ensure consistent questions and proper documentation. Your agency can check references or provide the Buyer with a list of questions to ask.
P&P will issue the Notice of Selection to the chosen bidder/proposer. The selected supplier will be asked to submit the required insurance forms, KC W9 form, etc. to P&P.
For RFPs, once P&P issues the Notice of Selection your agency should begin negotiating with the successful proposers.
Suppliers have five days to formally protest after the Notice of Selection is issued. P&P will receive the protest submittal and follow the protest procedures documented in the ITB/RFP. P&P will communicate with your agency and suppliers throughout the process.
A debrief is an optional meeting any supplier may request to discuss their proposal and how it was scored. King County will NOT disclose any other proposals. Debriefs are intended to promote transparency by giving suppliers a chance to be heard and ask questions about how their proposal was evaluated, so that they might be more competitive next time.
Negotiation is not permitted. The signed bid submittals constitutes acceptance of terms & conditions.
Your agency may begin negotiating with the supplier as soon as P&P issues the Notice of Selection.
During negotiations your agency should:
- Finalize the Scope or Work (referred to as the Statement of Work in the final agreement).
- Address supplier concerns with our Terms and Conditions: • Consult the PAO before accepting changes to avoid putting King County at risk
- Determine the final contract pricing with the supplier.
• Consult with Risk if the proposer requests changes to the insurance requirements
• Consult with BDCC if there are concerns about the small business utilization requirements
For an ITB, the supplier's submittal is already signed, accepting terms and conditions. The Buyer will create the Contract Purchase Agreement (CPA) in Oracle when the Notice of Selection is issued. The Submittal and the CPA together represent the signed/executed agreement.
Requests for Proposals (RFPs) will also require a CPA in Oracle. The Buyer will create CPA as a placeholder during negotiations. Forward the Buyer a copy of the final signed agreement to finalize the CPA so your agency can requisition and pay the supplier.• Route the final agreement for signature by the Supplier and your agency
• Send the Buyer a copy of the final signed agreement
The agency should maintain and nurture a relationship with the supplier. If there are problems with the supplier's fulfillment of the contract terms (delivery, quality, etc.) document the situation and work with the supplier to resolve the issue. It may be a simple misunderstanding or a lack of clarity in the contract terms. Contact the P&P Buyer if you are unable to find resolution by working with the supplier.
Documentation should include...
- Description of the situation
- Efforts at reconciliation from both parties
The agency should be aware of the contract expiration date and whether or not a new contract will be needed. Sometimes a follow-up contract may require a different type of procurement.
Contact P&P in advance of contract expiration so there is not a gap in service between contracts.
- For ITBs - at least 90-100 days prior to expiration
- For RFPs - at least 6-9 months prior to expiration