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Chapter 22 - IT Competitive Sealed Bidding / Invitation for Bid

22.0 Introduction

Competitive sealed bidding is a method of bidder selection, other than for professional services (§ 2.2-4302.1). The types of IT contracts resulting from competitive sealed bidding are usually those that provide for one-time purchases that are agency-specific and term contracts that reflect repetitive purchases of IT goods by agencies over a period of time. An invitation for bid selection (IFB) process should not be used for procuring Cloud/Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions. IFBs can also be used to solicit multiple award contracts that list more than one bidder of similar IT items. Refer to Chapter 1, Purpose and Scope, of this manual, for VITA authority and delegation approval requirements for the IFB procurement method.

§ 2.2-4302.1 of the VPPA includes the following elements in competitive sealed bidding:

  • Issuance of a written invitation to bid (IFB) containing, or incorporating by reference, the specifications and contractual terms and conditions applicable to the procurement.
  • Unless bidders have been prequalified for the procurement, the IFB shall include a statement of any requisite qualifications of potential bidders.
  • State public bodies must post IFBs on eVA for at least 10 days prior to the date set for the receipt of bids and may be published in a newspaper of general circulation and bids may be solicited directly from potential bidders. Local public bodies are urged to post IFBs on eVA in addition to their other postings.
  • Public opening and announcement of all bids received.
  • Evaluation of the bids based on the requirements set forth in the invitation, which may include special qualifications of potential bidders, life-cycle costing, value analysis and any other criteria such as inspection, testing, quality, workmanship, delivery and suitability for a particular purpose which are helpful in determining acceptability.
  • Award is then made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder.

In competitive sealed bidding, it is important that the IT goods or services being procured are capable of being specifically described so that bids can be evaluated against the description in the IFB. After evaluation, an award is made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, or if multiple awards are so provided in the IFB, awards may be made to the lowest responsive and responsible bidders. Award may be made to a reasonably priced Department of Small Business and Supplier Diversity (DSBSD)-certified small businesses, including those small businesses owned by women, minorities, service-disabled veterans and micro businesses, that is other than the lowest priced bidder when the provision for such an award is specifically included in the IFB.