Proposal Development

Source Selection Plan (SSP)

The Source Selection Plan (SSP) is a key document that specifies how the source selection activities will be organized, initiated, and conducted. It serves as the guide for conducting the evaluation and analysis of proposals and the selection of source(s) for the acquisition. SSP must clearly and succinctly express the Government’s minimum needs (evaluation factors) and their relative order of importance. [1]

Definition: A Source Selection Plan (SSP) is a formal document that outlines the approach, methodology, and criteria used to evaluate and select the best-suited supplier or contractor to fulfill a specific project or procurement requirement.

Purpose of a Source Selection Plan (SSP)

The purpose of the source selection plan is to provide a structured framework for the entire source selection process, ensuring that it is fair, transparent, and consistent.

When to Have a Source Selection Plan (SSP)

A Source Selection Plan (SSP) is required for all best-value, negotiated, competitive acquisitions under FAR Part 15, regardless of the dollar value of the acquisition or source selection process utilized.

Source Selection Plan (SSP) Authority

FAR 15.303(a) states that “Agency heads are responsible for source selection. The contracting officer is designated as the source selection authority unless the agency head appoints another individual for a particular acquisition or group of acquisitions.”

Considerations for Evaluations that are Required

Every time you have a source selection, you have to look at the price/cost and the technical quality of the suggested product or service using one or more non-cost evaluation factors, such as technical excellence, management skills, and qualifications of key personnel. Also, you have to look at past performance for all negotiated competitive acquisitions that are likely to go over the limits listed in FAR 15.304 and DFARS 215.304, unless the Project Contracting Officer (PCO) gives you a written reason why it wouldn’t be right. Depending on regulations and/or laws, other evaluation factors may be used, such as small business involvement (see FAR 15.304 and its supplements).

Setting Up Evaluation Subfactors and Factors

The evaluation factors, as well as any necessary subfactors and elements, are created by the acquisition team. The decision-making process should take into account user requirements, acquisition goals, extensive market research, and risk assessments. Cost/price, technical, past performance, and small business engagement are common evaluation criteria. You may also utilize one or more levels of subfactors and/or other evaluation factors as necessary. The Army uses the terms Evaluation Factor, Subfactor, and Element to designate the various levels.

Source Selection Plan (SSP) Template

Starting with a template to develop a source selection plan offers time-saving benefits, ensures completeness and consistency, promotes compliance, and provides a proven and guided approach. It is an efficient way to kickstart the planning process and lays the groundwork for a successful source selection effort.

Template: Source Selection Plan Template – 2016

Typical Source Selection Plan (SSP) Format: [1]

    • 1.1 Uses of the SSP
    • 1.2 Purpose of the Plan
    • 2.1 Description of Requirements
      2.2 Program Description
    • 2.3 Source Selection Result
    • 2.4 Acquisition Strategy
    • 3.1 Source Selection Authority
    • 3.2 Source Selection Advisory Counsel
    • 3.3 Source Selection Evaluation Board
    • 3.3.1 SSEB Chairperson Responsibilities
    • 3.4 PCO Responsibilities 3.5 Project Manager Responsibilities
  • 4.0 SECURITY
    • 4.1 Safeguarding of Data
    • 4.1.1 Security Plan
    • Indoctrination of Personnel
    • Communication
    • Documentation control
    • Unauthorized Disclosure
    • 8.1 Evaluation Criteria
    • 8.2 Assessment Criteria
    • 8.3 Proposal Requirements
    • 8.4 Basis for Award
    • 8.4.1 Order of importance
    • 8.4.2 Critical areas, items, factors
    • 8.5 Assessment of Risk

Nongovernment Advisors

Nongovernment advisors may assist in and provide input regarding the evaluation, but they shall not determine ratings or rankings of the offeror’s proposals. Nongovernment sources can include academia, subject matter experts (SME), nonprofit institutions, and industry.

AcqLinks and References:

Updated: 6/23/2021

Rank: G1

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