An offer is an expression of willingness to contract with the intention that the offer shall become binding on the party making the offer (the supplier) as soon as it is accepted by the party receiving the offer (the agency). An offer gives the agency the ability to form a contract by an appropriate acceptance.
An offer is not valid until received by the agency. If the offer has a stated time within which the acceptance must be made, any attempted acceptance after the expiration of that time will not be successful. Instead, the agency will be considered to have made a counter-offer that the original supplier can accept or reject. Generally, the time for accepting an offer begins to run from the time it is received by the agency. If there was a delay in delivery of the offer and the agency is aware of the delay, the usual inference is that the time runs from the date on which the agency would have received the offer under reasonable circumstances. If no specific time is stated within which the agency must accept, it is assumed that the supplier intended to keep the offer open for a reasonable period of time, to be determined based on the nature of the proposed contract, prior dealings, trade usage and other circumstances of which the agency knows or should know.
Most Commonwealth solicitations require that an offer (bid or proposal) be valid for 90 to 120 days after the bid or proposal due date. This timeframe should accommodate the expected time for the agency to conduct evaluations, prepare the contractual document, as well as any pre-award phases including steering committee, Office of Attorney General (OAG) review, VITA Enterprise Cloud Oversight Services (ECOS), and/or CIO or Secretary of Technology in unique situations and approval and receipt of any pending budget.