Competitive Sealed Proposals/Request for Proposals
The competitive sealed proposal process is an alternative to competitive bidding. The terms and conditions of competitive sealed proposals are identical to those for competitive bidding except that an important difference between competitive sealed proposals and competitive sealed bidding relates to the finality of initial offers. Under competitive sealed proposals, changes in the nature of a proposal, and in prices, may be negotiated after proposals are opened. In contrast, changes in the price of goods and services are not negotiable in the competitive bidding process. The competitive sealed proposal process provides for full competition among proposals and allows for negotiation with the proposer or proposers to obtain the best services at the best price. Competitive proposal procedures are recommended where other procurement procedures are not required according to state or federal rules, laws or regulations, in order to stimulate competitive prices for services.
Competitive bidding is prohibited for certain types of professional services, including engineering, architecture, accounting and certain other services (Chapter 2254 Government Code). However, Government Code §2254.004 does specify a two-step proposal process for obtaining services from architects, engineers, and land surveyors.
HB 2411 passed by the 80th Legislature allows for competitive sealed proposals as an alternate procurement method to competitive bidding for bank depository services.
A Request for Proposals (RFP) is a part of the competitive sealed proposal process. The RFP is the mechanism that generates the receipt of competitive sealed proposals and should contain several key elements:
• Determination by board of trustees that this method will provide the best value for the district must be done first, if a construction contract
• Newspaper advertisement
• Notice to proposers
• Standard terms and conditions
• Special terms and conditions
• Scope of work
− Scope and intent
− Definitions and applicable documents
− Quality assurance
• Acknowledgment form/response sheet
• Felony conviction notice
• Contract clause
Note: A Request for Proposals may also be used as a procurement option to generate a non-sealed competitive proposal, but only for services other than construction services. In this instance, a school district may open the proposal upon receipt and begin the negotiation process for the offered goods/services.