For the purposes of this information the word "solicitation" represents RFIs, RFQs, RFPs, or RFBs.
1. Issuing Officer
The Issuing Officer identified in the solicitation cover sheet is the sole point of contact regarding the solicitation from the date of issuance until selection of the successful Contractor.
2. Restriction on Communication
From the issue date of a solicitation until announcement of the successful Contractor, Respondents may contact only the Issuing Officer. The Issuing Officer will respond only to written questions regarding the procurement process. Verbal questions related to a solicitation will not be accepted. Respondents may be disqualified if they contact any state employee other than the issuing officer about a solicitation except the State Targeted Small Business Office on issues related to the preference for Targeted Small Businesses.
3. Downloading the Solicitation from the Internet
The Solicitation's Addenda are posted here. Respondents are advised to check the website periodically for Addenda to the solicitation, particularly if the solicitation was downloaded from the Internet, as Respondents may not automatically receive Addenda. It is the Respondent's sole responsibility to check daily for Addenda to posted documents.
4. Procurement Timetable
The dates provided in the procurement timetable on a solicitation cover sheet are provided for informational and planning purposes; however, the Lead Agency reserves the right to change the dates. If the Lead Agency changes any of the deadlines for Vendor submissions, the Lead Agency will issue an Addendum to the solicitation.
5. Resource Information
Resource information regarding a solicitation may be available.
6. Lead Agency
Lead Agency is the agency identified on the solicitation cover sheet as the Lead Agency and is the chief coordinator and issuer of the solicitation. The lead agency will also execute the Resulting Contract.
7. Vendors' Conference
If the solicitation cover sheet indicates a Vendors' conference will be held in conjunction with the solicitation, it will be held at the date, time, and location listed on the solicitation cover sheet. The purpose of the Vendors' conference is to discuss with prospective Respondents the work to be performed and allow prospective Respondents an opportunity to ask questions regarding the solicitation. Verbal discussions at the Vendors' conference shall not be considered part of the solicitation unless confirmed in writing by the Lead Agency and incorporated into the solicitation. The conference may be recorded. Questions asked at the conference that cannot be adequately answered during the conference may be deferred. A copy of the questions and answers will be sent to Respondents.
If the solicitation cover sheet indicates the Vendors' conference is mandatory, the Agency shall reject Solicitation Proposals submitted by Respondents who do not attend the Vendors' Conference.
8. Questions, Requests for Clarification, and Suggested Changes
Respondents are invited to submit written questions and requests for clarifications regarding a solicitation. Respondents may also submit suggestions for changes to the requirements of the solicitation. The questions, requests for clarifications, or suggestions must be in writing and received by the Issuing Officer before the date and time listed on the solicitation cover sheet. Oral questions will not be permitted. If the questions, requests for clarifications, or suggestions pertain to a specific section of a solicitation, the page and section number(s) must be referenced. Written responses to questions, requests for clarifications or suggestions will be sent on or before the date listed on the solicitation cover sheet to Respondents who received solicitations. The Lead Agency's written responses will be considered part of the solicitation. If the Lead Agency decides to adopt a suggestion that modifies the solicitation, the Lead Agency will issue an Addendum to the solicitation.
The Lead Agency assumes no responsibility for verbal representations made by its officers or employees unless such representations are confirmed in writing and incorporated into the solicitation.
9. Amendment to the Solicitation
The Lead Agency reserves the right to amend a solicitation at any time using an Addendum. The Respondent shall acknowledge receipt of an Addendum in its Solicitation Proposal. If the Addendum occurs after the closing date for receipt of Solicitation Response, the Lead Agency may, in its sole discretion, allow Respondents to amend their Solicitation Proposals in response to the Lead Agency's Addendum if necessary.
10. Amendment and Withdrawal of Solicitation Response
The Respondent may amend or withdraw and resubmit its Solicitation Response at any time before the Solicitation Responses are due. The amendment must be in writing, signed by the Respondent and received by the time set for the receipt of Solicitation Responses. Electronic mail and faxed amendments will not be accepted. Respondents must notify the Issuing Officer in writing if they wish to completely withdraw their Solicitation Response prior to the due date for Solicitation Responses.
11. Submission of Solicitation Responses
The Lead Agency must receive the Solicitation Response at the Issuing Officer's address identified on the solicitation cover sheet before the "Solicitation Responses Due" date listed on the solicitation cover sheet. This is a mandatory requirement and will not be waived by the Lead Agency. Any Solicitation Response received after this deadline will be rejected and returned unopened to the Respondent. Respondents mailing Solicitation Responses must allow ample mail delivery time to ensure timely receipt. It is the Respondent's responsibility to ensure that the Solicitation Response is received prior to the deadline. Postmarking by the due date will not substitute for actual receipt of the Solicitation Response. Electronic mail and faxed Solicitation Responses will not be accepted.
Respondents must furnish all information necessary to evaluate the Solicitation Response. Solicitation Responses that fail to meet the mandatory requirements of the solicitation may be disqualified. Verbal information provided by the Respondent shall not be considered part of the Respondent's Solicitation Response unless it is reduced to writing.
12. Solicitation Response Opening
The Lead Agency will open Solicitation Responses after the submission deadline has passed. The Solicitation Responses will remain confidential until the Evaluation Committee has reviewed all of the Solicitation Responses submitted in response to the solicitation and the Lead Agency has announced a notice of intent to award a contract. See Iowa Code Section 72.3. However, the names of Respondents who submitted timely Solicitation Responses will be publicly available after the Solicitation Response opening. The announcement of Respondents who timely submitted Solicitation Responses does not mean that an individual Solicitation Response has been deemed technically compliant or accepted for evaluation.
13. Costs of Preparing the Solicitation Response
The costs of preparation and delivery of the Solicitation Response are solely the responsibility of the Respondent.
14. Rejection of Solicitation Responses
The Lead Agency reserves the right to reject any or all Solicitation Responses, in whole and in part, received in response to a solicitation at any time prior to the execution of a written contract. Issuance of a solicitation in no way constitutes a commitment by the Lead Agency to award a contract. A solicitation is designed to provide Respondents with the information necessary to prepare a competitive Solicitation Response. The solicitation process is for the Lead Agency's benefit and is intended to provide the Lead Agency with competitive information to assist in the selection of a Contractor to provide goods and/or services. It is not intended to be comprehensive and each Respondent is responsible for determining all factors necessary for submission of a comprehensive Solicitation Response.
The Lead Agency may reject outright and may not evaluate Solicitation Responses for any one of the following reasons:
16. Nonmaterial Variances
The Lead Agency reserves the right to waive or permit cure of nonmaterial variances in the Solicitation Response if, in the judgment of the Lead Agency, it is in the Lead Agency’s best interest to do so. Nonmaterial variances include minor informalities that do not affect responsiveness, that are merely a matter of form or format, that do not change the relative standing or otherwise prejudice other Respondents, that do not change the meaning or scope of the solicitation, or that do not reflect a material change in the requirements of the solicitation. In the event the Lead Agency waives or permits cure of nonmaterial variances, such waiver or cure will not modify the solicitation requirements or excuse the Respondent from full compliance with solicitation specifications or other contract requirements if the Respondent is awarded the contract. The determination of materiality is in the sole discretion of the Lead Agency.
17. Reference Checks
The Lead Agency reserves the right to contact any reference to assist in the evaluation of the Solicitation Response, to verify information contained in the Solicitation Response, and to discuss the Respondent's qualifications and the qualifications of any subcontractor identified in the Solicitation Response.
18. Information from Other Sources
The Lead Agency reserves the right to obtain and consider information from other sources concerning a Respondent, such as the Respondent's capability and performance under other contracts, the qualifications of any subcontractor identified in the Solicitation Response, the Respondent's financial stability, past or pending litigation, and other publicly available information.
19. Verification of Solicitation Response Contents
The content of a Solicitation Response submitted by a Respondent is subject to verification. If the Lead Agency in its sole discretion determines that the content is in any way misleading or inaccurate, the Respondent may be disqualified.
20. Solicitation Response Clarification Process
The Lead Agency reserves the right to contact a Respondent after the submission of Solicitation Responses for the purpose of clarifying a Solicitation Response to ensure mutual understanding. This contact may include written questions, interviews, site visits, a review of past performance if the Respondent has provided goods and/or services to the State or any other political subdivision wherever located, or requests for corrective pages in the Respondent's Solicitation Response. The Lead Agency will not consider information received if the information materially alters the content of the Solicitation Response or alters the type of goods and/or services the Respondent is offering to the Lead Agency. An individual authorized to legally bind the Respondent shall sign responses to any request for clarification. Responses shall be submitted to the Lead Agency within the time specified in the Lead Agency's request. Failure to comply with requests for additional information may result in rejection of the Solicitation Response as non-compliant.
21. Disposition of Solicitation Responses
All Solicitation Responses become the property of the Lead Agency and shall not be returned to the Respondent at the conclusion of the selection process. The contents of all Solicitation Responses will be in the public domain and be open to inspection by interested parties subject to exceptions provided in Iowa Code Chapter 22 or other applicable law.
22. Public Records and Requests for Confidential Treatment
The Lead Agency may treat all information submitted by a Respondent as public information unless the Respondent properly requests that specific parts of the Solicitation Response be treated as confidential at the time of submitting the Solicitation Response. The Lead Agency's release of information is governed by Iowa Code chapter 22. Respondents are encouraged to familiarize themselves with chapter 22 before submitting a Solicitation Response. The Lead Agency will copy public records as required to comply with the public records laws.
Any request for confidential treatment of specific information must be included in Form 22 with the Respondent's Solicitation Response. In addition, the Respondent must enumerate the specific grounds in Iowa Code Chapter 22 or other applicable law which support treatment of the material as confidential and explain why disclosure is not in the best interest of the public. Pricing information cannot be considered confidential information. The request for confidential treatment of information must also include the name, address, and telephone number of the person authorized by the Respondent to respond to any inquiries by the Lead Agency concerning the confidential status of the materials.
Any Solicitation Response submitted which contains specific confidential information must be conspicuously marked on the outside as containing confidential information, and each page upon which confidential information appears must be conspicuously marked as containing confidential information. Failure to properly identify specific confidential information shall relieve the Lead Agency or State personnel from any responsibility if confidential information is viewed by the public, a competitor, or is in any way accidentally released. Identification of the entire Solicitation Response as confidential may be deemed non-responsive and disqualify the Respondent.
If the Respondent designates any portion of the Solicitation Response as confidential, the Respondent must submit one copy of the Solicitation Response from which the confidential information has been excised. This excised copy is in addition to the number of copies requested in the solicitation. The confidential material must be excised in such a way as to allow the public to determine the general nature of the material removed and to retain as much of the Solicitation Response as possible.
If the Lead Agency receives a request for information marked confidential, written notice shall be given to the Respondent seven calendar days prior to the release of the information to allow the Respondent to seek injunctive relief pursuant to Section 22.8 of the Iowa Code.
The Lead Agency will treat the information marked confidential as confidential information only if a court of competent jurisdiction determines the information is confidential under Iowa Code Chapter 22 or other applicable law.
The Respondent's failure to request confidential treatment of material will be deemed by the Lead Agency as a waiver of any right to confidentiality the Respondent may have had.
By submitting a Solicitation Response, the Respondent agrees that the Lead Agency may copy the Solicitation Response for purposes of facilitating the evaluation of the Solicitation Response or to respond to requests for public records. The Respondent consents to such copying by submitting a Solicitation Response and warrants that such copying will not violate the rights of any third party. The Lead Agency shall have the right to use ideas or adaptations of ideas that are presented in the Solicitation Response.
24. Release of Claims
By submitting a Solicitation Response, the Respondent agrees that it will not bring any claim or cause of action against the Lead Agency based on any misunderstanding concerning the information provided herein or concerning the Lead Agency's failure, negligent or otherwise, to provide the Respondent with pertinent information as intended by a solicitation.
Respondents may be required to make a presentation of a Solicitation Response. The presentation may occur at the Lead Agency's offices or at the offices of the Respondent. The determination as to need for presentations, the location, order, and schedule of the presentations is at the sole discretion of the Lead Agency. The presentation may include slides, graphics and other media selected by the Respondent to illustrate the Respondent's Solicitation Response. The presentation shall not materially change the information contained in the Solicitation Response.
26. Evaluation of Solicitation Responses Submitted
Solicitation Responses that are timely submitted and are not subject to disqualification will be reviewed. The Lead Agency will not necessarily award any contract resulting from a solicitation to the Respondent offering the lowest cost to the Lead Agency and Participating Agencies. Instead, the Lead Agency will award the contract(s) to the Respondent(s) whose Responsive Solicitation Response the agency believes will provide the best value to the Lead Agency and the Participating Agencies.
27. Award Notice and Acceptance Period
Notice of intent to award the contract(s) will be sent to all Respondents submitting a timely Solicitation Response and may be posted at the website shown on the solicitation cover sheet. Negotiation and execution of the contract(s) shall be completed no later than thirty (30) days from the date of the Notice of intent to award. If the apparent successful Respondent fails to negotiate and deliver an executed contract by that date, the Lead Agency, in its sole discretion, may cancel the award and award the contract to the remaining Respondent the Lead Agency believes will provide the best value to the Lead Agency.
28. Definition of Contract
The full execution of a written contract shall constitute the making of a contract for the goods and/or services requested by a solicitation, and no Respondent shall acquire any legal or equitable rights relative to the contract for goods and/or services until the contract has been fully executed by the Respondent and the Lead Agency.
29. Choice of Law and Forum
A solicitation and the resulting Contract are to be governed by the laws of the State of Iowa. Changes in applicable laws and rules may affect the award process or the resulting contract. Respondents and Contractors are responsible for ascertaining pertinent legal requirements and restrictions. Any and all litigation or actions commenced in connection with a solicitation shall be brought in the appropriate Iowa forum.
30. Restrictions on Gifts and Activities
Iowa Code Chapter 68B restricts gifts which may be given or received by state employees and requires certain individuals to disclose information concerning their activities with state government. Respondents and Contractors are responsible to determine the applicability of this Chapter to their activities and to comply with the requirements. In addition, pursuant to Iowa Code section 722.1, it is a felony offense to bribe or attempt to bribe a public official.
31. No Minimum Guaranteed
The Lead Agency anticipates that the awarded Contractor will provide goods and/or services as requested by the Lead Agency. The Lead Agency will not guarantee any minimum level of purchases.
Appeals of the Notice of Intent to Award are governed by the Lead Agency's appeal process. Respondents may obtain information about the appeal process from the Issuing Officer.