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Frequently Asked Questions


POLICY # DES-090-00 Delegation of Authority

Q1: How is delegated authority to be applied to a project that may include multiple contracts?
A1: The dollar value of each contract will determine which delegated authority applies when projects warrant creation of multiple contracts.

Q2: How are procurements that were underway handled after chapter 39.26 RCW became effective on Jan. 1, 2013?
A2: The applicable procurement authority in existence prior to Jan. 1, 2013 applies to procurements that were advertised prior to Jan. 1, 2013 but have not been awarded. All applicable procurements advertised after Jan. 1, 2013 must comply with chapter 39.26 RCW.

Q3: If a master contract item can be found for less elsewhere, may the agency be exempted from using the master contract with pricing as the justification for not satisfying the agency needs?
A3: Perhaps, although doing so would not relieve the agency from satisfying competitive requirements. For audit purposes, it is also recommended that the agency document their justification for not using the master contract.

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POLICY # DES-140-00 Sole Source Contracts

Q1: If DES does not provide a decision within 10 business days of the filing, does the sole source contract automatically become approved?
A1: No. The goal of DES is to process all requests within 10 business days. There may be circumstances in which additional time will be required. DES will notify the agency of any delays or need for additional time.

Q2: May the 5 business days advertising requirement, the 10 business days approval process and the 10 business days public inspection posting requirement run concurrently?
A2: Yes.

Q3: Are agencies required to report client service contracts?
A3: No. Client service contracts are exempt from competition and should not be reported as sole source contracts.

Q4: Rather than posting on the agency website, can’t there be a central repository made available where all sole source contracts are available for public inspection?
A4: DES is working toward this end, but for now and to meet statutory requirements sole source contracts are to be made accessible directly from the agency.

Q5: When would a grant require an agency to contract with a specific vendor?
A5: An agency may name a firm or individual in the written grant application to perform specific services or provide specific goods. If the approval from the funding source and receipt of funds requires the agency to contract with the named vendor, that contract is not required to be competitively awarded. It would not need to be filed with DES or require approval by DES.

Q6: Should the sole source contract approval process be used for urgent/crucial procurements?
A6: No. DES will only approve procurements that legitimately qualify as a sole source contract. Alternatively and if no related master contract exists, see Direct Buy Policy, Emergency Procurement/Purchase Policy or RCW 39.26.125(4).

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POLICY # DES-170-00 Complaints and Protests

Q1: Does the complaint and protest policy apply to low dollar request for quotes (RFQs) in which the lowest bid price determines the award?
A1: Yes.

Q2: What if the agency has an urgent need that cannot accommodate the length of time it takes to fulfill the required complaint and protest timelines?
A2: Most agency procurement needs may be satisfied through proper planning, direct buy provisions or use of qualified master contracts. However, if DES procurement analysis suggests otherwise, an exemption may be granted.

Q3: Are solicitations released prior to Jan. 1, 2013 exempt from this policy?
A3: Yes. Agencies are to follow the related laws, rules, and policies in force at the time when the solicitation was released.

Q4: When should a protest bond be required and how do you set the bond limit?
A4: DES is in the process of developing a protest bond policy and best practices. Until then, agencies should contact DES prior to requiring a protest bond.

Q5: What is a debriefing conference and how do I conduct one?
A5: A debriefing conference provides an opportunity for the bidder to meet with the agency to discuss its bid and evaluation. DES is developing a debriefing conference policy with information on how to conduct a debriefing conference.

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POLICY # DES-210-01 Agency Contract Reporting

Q1: Since the effective date is Jan. 1, 2013, what will be the initial reporting period?
A1: All contracts with an effective date on or after Jan. 1, 2013 must be reported as well as all current contracts that have been amended with an amendment effective date on or after Jan. 1, 2013.

Q2: Will agencies be required to report procurements made using qualified master contracts?
A2: Yes, but only if the use of qualified master contract results in an agency specific contract that includes a statement of work. The agency should report the effective dates of the agency specific contract.

Q3: Will agencies be required to report click-through agreements including those that have a fee?
A3: Yes, if they exceed the direct buy limit. Click-through agreements may impact other software agreements and therefore must be reported.

Q4: Will agencies be required to report purchasing card (P-Card) transactions?
A4: No. The P-Card is a method of payment, not a type of contract. Use of a P-Card does not determine whether the contract is reportable. See 'Contract Reporting Exemptions' for those contracts that are exempt from reporting.

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