Tuesday, June 4, 2013

When Should Solicitation Documents be Available to the Public?

Solicitation documents, such as an Invitation to Bid or Request for Proposals, should be available to businesses on the day the advertisement is published in the newspaper, not before and not late on the next day.

Early distribution:  Some public agencies, in an effort to be efficient, may publish the solicitation documents on their website or through other means prior to the advertisement appearing in the newspaper.  This practice provides an advantage of more time to businesses who read the document before the official notice appears in the newspaper.  The risk of this practice is that there may be a protest based on this competitive advantage.

Late distribution:  Other agencies may not have the solicitation documents available on the day the advertisement appears in the newspaper.  Not only is this inconvenient for businesses interested in bidding or proposing on the project, but it may put an agency in violation of state or local laws that require a minimum time period for public solicitation. 

Best practice:  The best practice is to time the public dissemination and distribution of the solicitation documents to the day that the advertisement appears in the newspaper.  Documents should be available on the date of the first advertisement by the time the first readers of the newspaper advertisement (or online website of the newspaper) have access to the advertisement. 

Mike Purdy's Public Contracting Blog 
© 2013 by Michael E. Purdy Associates, LLC 

No comments: