Step 3 contains essential information for vendors responding to City Agency solicitations for goods and/or services.
Responding to Solicitations
In general, everything you need to know about the contract being procured will be contained in the solicitation document.
Use the three steps below to guide you on the proper way to respond to identified contract opportunities.
First, if the agency has scheduled a pre-bid or pre-proposal conference, you should attend. It is a chance for prospective bidders to ask questions about the solicitation as well as speak with other vendors. While most pre-bid and pre-proposal conferences are not mandatory, some do require attendance and this will be specified in the solicitation document.
If you are unsure whether your business has the capacity to handle the work as a prime contractor, you may want to explore alternate ways to participate such as through a joint venture or as a subcontractor.
Second, as you prepare your bid/proposal in accordance with the solicitation’s instructions, keep in mind that it is very important to follow the instructions carefully. Failure to do so may cause your submission to be deemed “nonresponsive” and disqualified from consideration.
Third, submit your bid/proposal by the due date.
Pay careful attention to the deadlines for submitting written questions regarding a solicitation as well as the bid/proposal due date, and be sure to check the Agency’s website periodically throughout the open solicitation period.
Most of the time, you will be asked to input some basic contact information in order to access solicitations available for download. Announcements and addenda distributed by the Agency during the open solicitation period will be sent to the e-mail address you provide.
Review the solicitation document to identify any criteria that are not required at the time of bid/proposal submission, but which must be met “prior to final contract award.”
Understanding Standard Forms and Contract Templates
The City uses several standard forms to collect information from vendors. These are often related to compliance and transparency in the procurement process and are subject to change with changing regulations. All required forms will be included as part of the solicitation document. A small sampling of some of the regulations that you may come across are listed below. Refer to the solicitation document for the most up to date versions of these documents.
Contracts subject to the NYS Iran Divestment Act of 2012 will include a certification page for vendors to sign and return with the submission package.
Contracts that are subject to Local Law 1 of 2013 will include one of multiple versions (dependent upon the procurement method) of the M/WBE Utilization Plan (“Schedule B”).
For construction-related contracts that are subject to Project Labor Agreements (PLA), proposers are required to submit a Letter of Assent to the PLA with their proposal.
The City uses standard contract templates for contracts in various industries such as the Standard Construction Contract and the Standard Human Services Contract. HHS Accelerator publishes the Standard Human Services Contract for review by vendors. At this time, the Standard Construction Contract is not available for publication.
Vendor Resources & Assistance
Solicitation documents will include an Agency contact for you to direct contract-related questions to. Here are some other helpful resources to know about.
Comptroller’s Community Action Center
The Comptroller’s Community Action Center (CAC) is the constituent service arm of the Comptroller’s office. CAC staff are available to help New Yorkers navigate City government, including questions and issues related to City contracting.
Procurement Policy Board (PPB)
The Procurement Policy Board (PPB) is authorized under the City Charter to promote and put into effect rules governing the procurement of goods, services, and construction. The PPB Rules address the rights of vendors during the procurement process, such as the appeal process for vendors determined to be non-responsive or non-responsible by an Agency on a given procurement. The Rules also provide practical procedures for common issues facing bidders or proposers, such as when and how to correct a mistake in a solicitation response.
New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL)
City contracts and procurements are generally considered “records” subject to disclosure by Agencies under the New York State Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). Unless the record falls within an enumerated exemption, it can be obtained by members of the public or press by making a FOIL request. Each City agency has a designated Records Access Officer and an Appeals Officer who receives, reviews and responds to FOIL requests. Visit the Agency website to learn more about submitting a FOIL request.