Why can't we all just follow the best practices debriefing guide published by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)? Right up front the guide says it is designed to facilitate open, appropriate and meaningful exchanges that reduce misunderstandings and protests. It covers both pre-award and post-award debriefings relying heavily on the language in FAR 15.505 and 15.506.
The Guide says that in addition to the requirements in FAR 15.505(c) with regard to pre-award debriefings, NASA will provide 6 additional categories of information regarding evaluation of the debriefed offeror. In addition to the information listed in FAR, NASA also will provide 8 categories of information during post-award debriefings.
Those categories are: number of offerors, identity of the offerors, those in the competitive range, some of the awardee's adjectival ratings and point scores, level of confidence rating of the awardee, a cost comparison between the awardee and the debriefed offeror and a summary of the impact of discussions and proposal revisions on the final result.
"It is important that the contracting officer schedule the debriefing at the earliest possible date." Even if the contractor's request for the debriefing is untimely, the Guide suggests the debriefing be conducted nonetheless.
Among the items which "serve as a foundation for successful debriefings" are: cordial treatment of offerors; availability of procurement personnel during the pre-proposal stage; careful development of evaluation factors; "professional" drafts and solicitations; meaningful consideration of issues raised during the pre-proposal stage; an "open door" policy prior to proposal submission; a sincere effort to obtain good competition; and a "fair and unbiased" approach to the procurement.
We are fans of best practices guides. NASA has given us a really good one for debriefings. We think the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) should publish a practical, down to earth best practices guide for all of contract management.