Postaward Debriefing: Win Or Lose, You Need One

Austin, TX
Postaward Debrief

A few weeks ago, we touched on the subject of the preaward debrief and what you should do if you find yourself knocked out of contention on a bid early. In this post, we are going to explore the antithesis of the preaward debrief, the postaward debrief and explain the differences between the two. 

What is a Preaward Debrief?

To recap, a preaward debriefing occurs when your proposal has been rejected in the early stages of an agency’s bidding process. Requesting a preaward debriefing typically takes place before an offer is extended to the winning proposer. You have the ability to postpone the debriefing until after the contract has been awarded.


What is a Postaward Debrief?

A postaward debrief takes place once a contract has been extended. The request for a debrief should be submitted in writing within three days of the contract award, and take place within 5 days of the contract officer receiving the request. Please note that if a late request is received by the contracting officer they have within their discretion the right to deny a request for a debriefing, so be punctual for best results. 

What’s Included:

  • The Government’s evaluation of the significant weaknesses or deficiencies in the offeror’s proposal, if applicable;
  • The overall evaluated cost or price (including unit prices) and technical rating, if applicable, of the successful offeror and the debriefed offeror, and past performance information on the debriefed offeror;
  • The overall ranking of all offerors, when any ranking was developed by the agency during the source selection;
  • A summary of the rationale for award;
  • For acquisitions of commercial items, the make and model of the item to be delivered by the successful offeror; and
  • Reasonable responses to relevant questions about whether source selection procedures contained in the solicitation, applicable regulations, and other applicable authorities were followed. (FAR 15.506)

What’s Not Included?

A debriefing will not include a point-by-point comparisons of your proposal with those of other offerors. The debriefing will not reveal any information prohibited from disclosure by 24.202 or exempt from release under the Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552) including:

  • Trade secrets;
  • Privileged or confidential manufacturing processes and techniques;
  • Commercial and financial information that is privileged or confidential, including cost breakdowns, profit, indirect cost rates, and similar information; and
  • The names of individuals providing reference information about an offeror’s past performance. (FAR 15.506)

A postaward debriefing, similar to a preaward debriefing is a critical opportunity to identify areas of improvement and continue to find ways to win more government contracts. 

But I Won the Contract!

One last point to keep in mind about a postaward debrief. You should request one if you won the contract as well. Take this opportunity to find out what exactly the agency saw as your leading strength, and what made them choose you. These answers may surprise you, and having this information before the contract starts helps you focus on the areas that you know the agency deems important. This valuable information may also help you refine your proposal process and help you win more government contracts in the future.