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Debriefings and How They Can Help You Succeed

by Debra Garcia - May 23, 2018

As a bidder of a government contract proposal or bid, you are entitled to find out why you didn’t receive the award or, if you won, find out how well you did in comparison to other bidders. Often times a bidder will never find out why they didn’t win the bid. A debriefing is a valuable opportunity to help you learn to prepare more successful contract bids or proposals in the future. Or, if necessary, to challenge the agency’s evaluation and their award decision.

Debriefings are different from notifications to unsuccessful bidders. The government contracting officer or buyer must notify bidders promptly and in writing when their proposals are excluded from the competitive range or eliminated from the competition. Debriefing of successful or unsuccessful biddersYellow, Orange, and Grey cycle graphic depicting words: Debriefing, Briefing, and Action may be performed verbally or in writing. There is no specific requirement to hold face-to-face debriefings.

When dealing with a post-award debriefing, you must submit your request in writing within three days after the date on which you were notified of a contract award.

The regulations require that debriefing include:

  1. The Government’s evaluation of the significant weaknesses or deficiencies in the bidders proposal;
  2. The overall evaluated cost or price, and technical rating of the successful bidder and your offer, and past performance information on you;
  3. The overall ranking of all bidders; and
  4. A summary of the rationale for the award.

According to the North Carolina PTAC, as an unsuccessful bidder, requesting a debriefing helps you better understand why you were unsuccessful and helps you gain knowledge that will improve your chances of success in the future. Debriefings can also help you make a decision to either protest or sue. If you learn of something that you deem is a basis for a protest, you may file a protest either with the Agency or with the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

Feel free to contact Arkansas Procurement Assistance Center (APAC) at 501-671-2390 for any questions concerning debriefings. 

Debra Garcia