In December of 2020 GSA issued a Request For Information (RFI) to for preparation of Polaris GWAC. Although the RFI closed in January of 2021 questions are still being answered by the agency. The Polaris GWAC will enable the government to obtain customized IT Service based solutions from highly qualified small business, hub-zone, and woman owned small business firms. GSA provided updated responses and comments to questions on August 23, 2021. See additional answers to responses below.
- We did not submit a response to the draft RFP. Are we still able to submit a proposal to the formal RFP when it comes out?
- Yes, you will be able to submit a proposal even if you didn’t respond to the draft RFP. There was no requirement to respond to the draft RFP.
- What can organizations interested in offering on Polaris do now in anticipation of the final solicitation being posted
- GSA recommends organizations interested in offering on Polaris ensure all of their federal registration information for Sam.gov is complete, current, and accurate. Additionally, GSA recommends that they have, or are executing a plan, to register for a current Commercial and Government Entity (CAGE) code. This will assist both the Government and offerors throughout the solicitation, evaluation, and award process.
- The draft RFP states that the government encourages contractors to continuously prospect for and establish strategic relationships, especially with innovative small businesses. Can you confirm if the prime contractor is permitted to add “un-named” subcontractors to the master contract and/or task order
- Polaris offerors are encouraged to utilize their best teaming solution to the government at both the master contract and task order levels, in accordance with the instructions in the RFP and subject to FAR 52.219-14, Limitations on Subcontracting. Awarded Polaris contractors may utilize different subcontractors for task orders than those identified for the master contract.
- Will task order solicitations be advertised across the awarded pools, or will agency customers have to select one?
- A pool, e.g. SB, WOSB, or HUBZone, will be selected by the ordering contracting officer (OCO) at the task order level. OCOs have complete discretion in selecting the pool under which a competition will be conducted. A fair opportunity to be considered for each task order award pursuant to FAR 16.505 applies to individual pools and not across or between pools.
- Consider adding additional relative NAICS and PSC codes
- Based on market research, the NAICS code for the Polaris contract is 541512. For the purposes of evaluation, the government has identified additional NAICS codes that can be used to submit relevant experience projects. These NAICS codes cover the majority of IT services. Relevant experience projects which do not fall within those identified NAICS codes, as well as commercial projects, can be submitted for evaluation, but require an alternative method of verification which will be identified in the RFP.
- Who determines the NAICS code at the task order level?
- In accordance with 13 CFR § 121.402(b), the Ordering Contracting Officer at the task order level assigns the appropriate NAICS code based on the master contract.
- Does the Government intend to create separate pools of awards for each of the Performance Areas/Emerging Technology or just Small Business (SB)/Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB)/Historically Under-utilized Business Zones (HUBZone)?
- GSA intends to create pools based on size and socioeconomic status and not performance areas/emerging technologies. Additionally, the RFP states that GSA also reserves the right to solicit and award additional pools in the future.
- Can a company propose on more than one SB socioeconomic pool?
- Yes, small businesses are encouraged to submit a proposal for more than one SB socioeconomic pool and select all pools for which they are eligible and want to compete.
- Are multiple proposals needed, or will one proposal pertain to multiple pools?
- GSA intends to streamline the Polaris proposal submission process. For small businesses who are seeking to be considered for more than one pool, multiple proposals will not be required for the pools identified in this RFP. However, additional submission requirements may apply. Complete proposal submission requirements will be provided with the release of the solicitation.
- Are proposals automatically considered for pools in which they qualify, or do vendors have to select pools for which they want to be considered?
- An offeror MUST clearly indicate in the proposal submission all pools for which it wants to be considered.
- Will there be a percentage of orders reserved for pools?
- No, there will not be a percentage of orders reserved for pools.
- Can task order requirements include further set-asides within the SB Pool (e.g. SDVOSB set-aside within a SB Pool solicitation)?
- No, Polaris will not allow further set-asides within the small business pool.
- Please confirm that prime offerors are not limited to only using relevant experience references (Primary and Emerging Technology) from subcontractors with whom they have previously performed on a contract or order.
- Offerors are not limited to using only relevant experience projects from subcontractors with whom they have previously performed on a contract. However, an Offeror will receive additional consideration for demonstrating that it has previously performed in the proposed business arrangement in accordance with the solicitation instructions.
- Can you share any information on whether WOSB joint ventures can participate?
- Yes, WOSB joint ventures are encouraged to participate.
- Are Contractor Teaming Arrangements (CTAs) in accordance with FAR Subpart 9.6 allowed? Can I bid solo on one track (e.g. WOSB) and as a Joint Venture (JV) or CTA in another track (e.g. HUBZone)?
- Yes, CTAs in accordance with FAR Subpart 9.6 will be allowed under the Polaris contract. Organizations may propose solo on one track and as a JV on a different track, and would do so as different legal entities; i.e. a small business offering on its own (with or without subcontractors) is a different legal entity than a joint-venture.
- Can a Small Business (SB) propose via Joint Venture on all other pools such as Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB) and HUBZone?
- Yes, a Small Business may propose via Joint Ventures for WOSB and HUBZone pools provided the joint venture qualifies for those pools in accordance with 13 CFR § 127.506 and 13 CFR § 126.616, respectively. Additional teaming arrangement information will be provided in a forthcoming Interact posting related to Polaris solicitation instructions, evaluation factors, and scoring.
- Can a company subcontract with more than one prime?
- Yes, however, no project, to include Primary Relevant Experience and Emerging Technology Relevant Experience, may be used in more than one proposal for the same Pool under this solicitation. Projects used in more than one proposal in a given pool under this solicitation will be removed from all proposals and will not be evaluated as part of any Offeror’s proposal.
- Can you share any information you have at this time on Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) certification requirements for Polaris?
- CMMC is currently a DoD standard and it may also have utility as a baseline for civilian acquisitions. It is vital that offerors wishing to do DoD business monitor, prepare for, and participate in acquiring CMMC certification. Polaris contractors should begin preparing for CMMC accreditation by staying aware of developing requirements and by implementing the appropriate guidance.
To view the GSA Polaris RFI click here
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