WEBS Enhancements for Supplier Diversity Policy

DES is making enhancements in Washington Electronic Business Solutions (WEBS) to help state agencies comply with the new supplier diversity policy that took effect April 1, 2023. We are coordinating with the WEBS User Group, an advisory group convened by DES, on the proposed enhancements.

The system enhancements will apply to state agencies. We will implement them in two phases: Phase 1 will occur in Fall 2023; once Phase 1 is successfully implemented, we will implement Phase 2. Our goal is to have both phases complete by the end of 2023.

Each number represents a strategy in the supplier diversity policy. The proposed system enhancement(s) for each strategy are listed beneath them.

Phase 1

  1. Award competitively procured contracts with an initial value less than $150,000 to the highest-ranked responsive and responsible small or veteran-owned business, unless there was no responsive and responsible bid from a small or veteran-owned business.
    • System enhancement 1: Add a new y/n question: "Is this solicitation expected to have an initial contract value of $150,000 or less?"
      • If "yes" is selected, a pop-up will say: "It appears that the Supplier Diversity Policy, section C4 could apply to this solicitation. Please review the Handbook for relevant solicitation and contract language."
    • System enhancement 2: Change the "estimated value" field to instead say "estimated initial contract value" and include a hover definition that defines estimated initial contract value. This field will remain optional unless "sole source" contract type is selected.
    • System enhancement 3: On the "record solicitation results" section in WEBS, if small and/or veteran owned businesses responded, but none are marked for apparent successful bidder (ASB), and the solicitation was input as $150,000 or less, there will be a pop-up notification reminding the customer to meet the policy language. Customers will be asked to select a reason that the policy requirement is not being met. Reasons will include:
      • The bid(s) from small and/or veteran businesses are higher than $150,000.
      • The bid(s) from small and/or veteran businesses were not responsive and responsible.
      • Other – which will include a text field to write in your own reason.
  2. Conduct a pre-bid conference for all complex competitive solicitations or those that could result in multiple awarded contracts.
    • System enhancement: Add a new y/n question: "Is this a complex solicitation?" A linked panel display definition for complex solicitation will be included as a resource.
  3. Remove barriers from solicitation/contract language, where appropriate, in order to encourage the participation of small, diverse, and/or veteran-owned businesses, in these areas (but not limited to): a. Insurance requirements. b. Procurement bond usage. c. Experience/qualification minimum requirements. d. Use of a specific manufacturer. e. Lengthening bid response time. f. Payment sooner than 30 days.
    • System enhancement: Complex solicitations are encouraged to have a 45-calendar day posting minimum. If the solicitation is marked as complex and an open/close posting timeline is less than 45 business days, a pop-up will show asking customers to consider lengthening the bid response time. This will only be a recommendation and not a requirement to move forward.

Phase 2

  1. Forecast agency purchases
    • System enhancement: Include a yes/no field for "Was this contract/solicitation forecasted?"
  2. Conduct outreach with small, diverse, and veteran-owned businesses.
    • System enhancement option 1: Include a required yes/no field for "Was outreach with small, diverse, and veteran-owned businesses conducted?"
    • System enhancement option 2: In the vendor section after selecting commodity codes and counties, have a note appear regarding the outreach policy requirement. Hover option with a chart of ways to increase outreach.
  3. Conduct an unbundling analysis for every competitive solicitation.
    • System enhancement: Include a required yes/no field for "Was an unbundling analysis conducted?"
  4. Conduct a pre-bid conference for all complex competitive solicitations or those that could result in multiple awarded contracts.
    • System enhancement: Include a yes/no question: "Are you having a pre-bid conference?" If "no" is selected, but the solicitation was marked as being complex, a pop-up will be shown that reminds the customer "Pre-bid conferences are required for all complex solicitations," with a reference to Supplier diversity policy handbook section C5.
  5. Use all applicable procurement inclusion strategies below (7(a) - 7(d)) based on the results of outreach, analysis of business needs, and relevant market research. a) Award evaluation points to small and veteran-owned businesses, b) Require a subcontractor inclusion plan to incentivize vendors to use small and veteran-owned subcontractors, c) Use reserved award contracts with small and veteran-owned business, d) Other strategies, as determined by each agency.
    • System enhancement 1: a) In a new column on the solicitation results page, include a small/veteran checkbox that shows points were awarded to a vendor based on their small and/or veteran owned business status.
    • System enhancement 2: Include a yes/no field for "Does this solicitation have an inclusion plan?"
    • System enhancement 3: Include a yes/no field for "Are awards reserved for small or veteran owned businesses?"
    • System enhancement 4: Include a yes/no for "Were any other inclusion strategies used for this solicitation? If yes, please describe." Include a free text field to enter in the strategy if "yes" is selected.
  6. Make procurements transparent by publicly posting bids and bid award documents for each competitive procurement.
    • System enhancement: Before archiving a solicitation, include an upload option to up upload awarded vendors bids. Non-awarded vendor bids are optional to upload. Note: More information about bid tabs and this section of the policy to come next month.

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