By: Michael H. Payne

In a negotiated procurement, where a contractor submits a proposal in response to an RFP (Request for Proposals), FAR 15.506(a)(1) states that “An offeror, upon its written request received by the agency within 3 days after the date on which that offeror has received notification of contract award in accordance with 15.503(b), shall be debriefed and furnished the basis for the selection decision and contract award.” It is a good idea to request a debriefing if you did not receive the award because you may learn something that will help you to improve your next proposal, or you may learn that you were treated unfairly and that you may have a basis to file a protest. The offeror who was awarded the contract should also request a debriefing because there may be information about how the proposal can be made even better the next time. In addition, if a disappointed offeror files a protest, an awardee may be in a better position to defend a protest after receiving a debriefing.

The Contracting Officer is not permitted to discuss the details of other proposals, but the regulations, at FAR 15,506(d) do require that:
At a minimum, the debriefing information shall include —
(1) The Government’s evaluation of the significant weaknesses or deficiencies in the offeror’s proposal, if applicable;
(2) 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 offeror;
(3) The overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during the source selection;
(4) A summary of the rationale for award;
(5) For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful offeror; and
(6) Reasonable responses to relevant questions about whether source selection procedures contained in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed.

See FAR 15.506 for the rules relating to postaward debriefings.

Michael H. Payne is the Chairman of the firm’s Federal Practice Group and frequently represents contractors during debriefing and provides advice as to whether the contractor’s rights have been violated.