North Warning System Services Renewal Contract Project
Fairness Monitor Contractor's Final Report
December 30, 2013
Submitted to: Director General, Operational Integrity Sector
Submitted by: Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. and Hill International Inc. in Joint Venture
Table of Contents
- Background and Introduction
- Project Requirement
- Attestation of Assurance
- Objectives of the Fairness Monitor Assignment and Methodology
- Fairness Monitor Specific Activities and Findings
- Reference Documents
Background and Introduction
Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. and Hill International Inc. in Joint Venture was engaged as the Fairness Monitor (FM) to observe the competitive procurement process for the North Warning System Services Renewal Contract Project undertaken for the Department of National Defence by Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) through Solicitation Number W8485-100224/B and Solicitation Number W8485-100224/C.
Knowles Consultancy Services Inc. and Hill International Inc. in Joint Venture is an independent third party with respect to this activity.
We hereby submit our Final Report on the North Warning System Services Renewal Contract Project covering our activities commencing in October 2012, prior to the release of a Letter of Interest (LOI) and start of an Industry Engagement stage, through the development of a Request for Proposal (RFP) to the evaluation of bids and the selection of the recommended bidder.
An earlier LOI had been posted in May 2009 prior to the commencement of fairness monitor activities. It was subsequently cancelled.
This report includes our attestation of assurance, a summary of the scope and objectives of our assignment, the methodologies applied, and details of our activities, including any relevant findings from the activities undertaken.
The mission of the North Warning System (NWS) of the Department of National Defence is to maintain continuous radar surveillance of, and a measure of control over, the northern airspace approaches to North America thereby contributing to North American defence and Canadian sovereignty.
The North Warning System (NWS) consists of: a Management Office, eleven Long Range Radar sites located in northern Canada; thirty-six Short Range Radar sites located in northern Canada; a communications component consisting of the on-site communications for local voice and ground/air/ground radio communications at the sites and the long haul satellite communications providing the operational and administrative links between the northern sites and the Canadian Air Defence Sector; five Logistics Support Sites located in northern Canada to support the Long Range Radar and Short Range Radar sites; a NWS Control Center located in North Bay, Ontario; and a NWS Support Center located in North Bay, Ontario.
The Department of National Defence requires a contractor to provide for the full care, custody and control of the NWS for a period up to March 31, 2019 with two optional periods thereafter. Under the care, custody and control concept, the contractor will have full responsibility for delivering radar data, which at a high level means responsibility for all operations and maintenance activities throughout the NWS, adherence and compliance with all regulatory requirements and responsibility for developing and implementing an effective sustainment program. The contractor will be assigned full control over mission equipment, supporting equipment and site infrastructure, while Canada maintains configuration authority and project control.
The procurement project is subject to the Inuvialuit Final Agreement, the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement, the Labrador Inuit Agreement and the Cooperation Agreement between Inuvialuit Regional Corporation and the Department of National Defence. Accordingly, the procurement included an Inuit Benefit Requirement.
Attestation of Assurance
The FM hereby provides the unqualified assurance statement which follows concerning the procurement process monitored for the North Warning System Services Renewal Contract Project.
It is our professional opinion that the competitive process we observed was carried out in a fair, open and transparent manner.
Note: For all references in this report concerning fairness related comments being provided to project officials, it is confirmed that, as necessary, project officials provided clarification to the Fairness Monitor or took appropriate action to address the comments, and as a result no fairness deficiencies were recorded.
President, Knowles Consultancy Services Inc.
FM Contractor's Representative
Bruce Maynard P.Eng.,
FM Team Leader
Objectives of the Fairness Monitor Assignment and Methodology
The overall objective was to provide independent observation of the process and to submit fairness related comments to project officials for the procurement, as early as possible, so that appropriate action could be taken to address the comments before fairness was impacted. The Operational Integrity Sector would be advised of any fairness related concerns that were not addressed promptly. At the conclusion of the procurement process an assurance statement as to its fairness would be provided.
To accomplish the objective we undertook the following activities and, where applicable, provided fairness related comments to the Contracting Authority:
became familiar with the project governance structure;
reviewed procurement solicitations in draft and final form;
reviewed all amendments to the solicitations as well as questions submitted by bidders and answers provided;
observed Industry Days, One-on-One Meetings with interested firms, Site Visits and Bidders Conferences;
reviewed the procedures to be used for the evaluation of responses and the guidance provided to the evaluation team;
observed the evaluation of responses to the RFP to ensure that the specified evaluation and selection procedures and departmental policy were followed and consistently applied during the evaluation and selection process; and
observed the debriefing of bidders. (This activity will be reported on in an addendum to this report after any debriefings.)
Fairness Monitor Specific Activities and Findings
Fairness Monitor Activities and Findings prior to the Release of the LOI
During the period November 8, 2012 to November 14, 2012, we reviewed the Concept of Operations for the North Warning System and the draft Statement of Work.
During the period December 7, 2012 to December 18, 2012, we reviewed the draft Aboriginal Benefits Requirement document prepared for the RFP. On December 17, 2012 we attended a meeting with project officials to discuss the Aboriginal Benefit Requirements and associated evaluation methodology documents proposed to be distributed to the Land Claims Agreement representatives for their comment in accordance with the provisions of the Land Claims Agreements. Fairness related comments were provided and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
It should be noted that the term “Inuit Benefits” was used henceforth in the RFP in place of “Aboriginal Benefits” based on feedback from the Land Claim representatives.
On February 25, 2013 we observed a meeting between the Land Claims representatives during which the Inuit Benefit (IB) Requirements document was discussed. Fairness related comments were provided and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
Fairness Monitor Activities and Findings related to the Letter of Interest (LOI)
On June 11, 2013 we reviewed the draft LOI. The LOI was posted on the Government Electronic Tendering System (GETS) on June 17, 2013 (Document 1). Fairness related comments were provided to project officials on the draft and published versions of the LOI and appropriate action was taken. The LOI advised interested suppliers how to acquire a draft RFP from the NWS File Transfer Protocol (FTP) site. The site also included extensive background information including historical data referred to in the RFP. On July 1, 2013 we reviewed draft parts of the RFP. Fairness related comments were provided to project officials and appropriate action was taken.
We observed an Industry Engagement session on July 8, 2013 and observed One-on-One meetings with interested suppliers. On July 30, 2013 we observed a Working Group session of interested suppliers and on July 31, 2013 observed another One-on-One meeting.Fairness related comments were provided to project officials and appropriate action was taken.
On August 14, 2013 and August 15, 2013, we observed a site visit by interested suppliers to the NWS Logistic Support Site (LSS) in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Fairness related comments were provided to project officials and appropriate action was taken. This site visit was scheduled prior to the posting of the RFP for weather reasons at the request of the participating suppliers. Steps were taken to ensure all interested suppliers were informed two weeks in advance by forwarding an email to each firm that had participated in the Industry Engagement sessions announcing the visit.
Fairness Monitor Activities and Findings during the RFP Phase
On September 18, 2013 and September 20, 2013, we reviewed the RFP that had been posted on GETS (Document 2) on September 10, 2013. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
During the period October 4, 2013 to November 8, 2013, we reviewed Amendments 1 to 5 to the RFP (Documents 3 to 7). Amendments 1, 2 and 5 consisted of updated versions of the RFP. Amendment 3 was an updated Statement of Work related to Amendment 2 and Amendment 4 provided for a closing date extension. Fairness related comments were provided to the Contracting Authority and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
During the same period we reviewed questions that had been submitted and answers (Qs & As). Fairness related comments were provided to the Contracting Authority and appropriate action was taken by project officials. These Qs & As were not included in the posted amendments on GETS but were posted on the NWS FTP site which was identified in the RFP and to which interested suppliers were provided access.
On October 15, 2013 we observed a site visit by interested suppliers to the Logistics Support Site and Long Range Radar Site in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. Fairness related comments were provided and appropriate action was taken by project officials. On October 18, 2013 we observed a site visit to the NWS facilities at 22 Wing, North Bay, Ontario. Fairness related comments were provided and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
The RFP closed on November 20, 2013.
Fairness Monitor Activities and Findings during the Evaluation Phase
It should be noted that the NWS solicitation utilized a multi-phased evaluation process using Tabular Format methodology. In this methodology, initial partial bids are evaluated and feedback provided on deficient responses before final bids are received and evaluated.Depending on evaluation results there could be two, three or more rounds of bids. The RFP provided a detailed description of the methodology including the criteria to determine the number of rounds.
On November 20, 2013 we reviewed the Evaluation Plan that had been prepared for the Evaluation Phase. The Plan provided a comprehensive description of the organization structure, procedures, processes and responsibilities that would be in place for the evaluation activity. In accordance with best evaluation practices, the evaluation activity was “stove-piped” so that individual evaluators had no knowledge of evaluations results beyond those in which they participated. Fairness related comments were provided and appropriate action was taken by project officials. There were two rounds of bids, an Initial Partial Bid and the Final Bid.
We observed the evaluation on November 21, 2013 of the Initial Partial Bids including the consensus evaluation of mandatory requirements. Fairness related comments were provided and appropriate action was taken by project officials.
On November 29, 2013 we reviewed the results of the Initial Partial Bid evaluation round, comments on each response to a rated requirement that was deemed deficient and the specific draft questions prepared to be forwarded to each bidder to correct each deficient response in accordance with the RFP.We also discussed fairness related matters with project officials on the results of the mandatory requirements evaluation and appropriate action was taken.
On December 4, 2013 and December 5, 2013, we reviewed the final letters sent to each bidder with requests for clarification and questions resulting from the evaluation of their Initial Partial Bid.No fairness deficiencies were identified.
Final Bids were received on December 12, 2013.
On December 17, 2013 we reviewed the results of the consensus evaluation of the Final Bids. We also reviewed the tabulation of the results and reviewed the results of the evaluation of the Financial Proposals with the Contracting Authority. We were satisfied that the basis of selection specified in the RFP had been applied. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
The following documents are referenced by number in the attached report or the related LOI Report. The documents are available through the North Warning project office.
The following table includes a list of documents referred to in the report such as the Request for Proposal (RFP), amendments, clarification letters, debriefing letters, etc. Each row is numbered, followed by the document title, then a document identifier such as a date or document number.
|1||Letter of Interest (LOI)||Posted on MERX June 17, 2013|
|2||Request for Proposal (RFP)||Posted on BuyandSell September 10, 2013|
|3||Amendment 1 to RFP||Posted on BuyandSell October 3, 2013|
|4||Amendment 2 to RFP||Posted on BuyandSell October 30, 2013|
|5||Amendment 3 to RFP||Posted on BuyandSell October 30, 2013|
|6||Amendment 4 to RFP||Posted on BuyandSell November 7, 2013|
|7||Amendment 5 to RFP||Posted on BuyandSell November 8, 2013|
Addendum to the Final Report
June 27, 2014
Addendum to Fairness Monitor Final Report dated December 30, 2013 concerning the North Warning System Services Renewal Contract Project
This Addendum to the Fairness Monitor Final Report covers the period following the conclusion of the evaluation phase and includes contract award and debriefings to unsuccessful bidders.
The contract was awarded on March 28, 2014. On April 3, 2014 and May 9, 2014, we observed the debriefings provided to the unsuccessful bidders. On June 17, 2014 we monitored by telephone the debriefing provided to the successful bidder. Each unsuccessful bidder was provided with the results of the evaluation of their responses to mandatory requirements, their total rated technical score achieved and their total evaluated price, along with the total score and price of the successful bidder. The successful bidder was not provided with the scores or evaluated prices of the unsuccessful bidders. Each bidder was also provided with a summary of the weaknesses in their responses. No fairness deficiencies were identified.
Fairness Monitor Attestation of Assurance
It is the opinion of the Fairness Monitor that the post evaluation activities, including the debriefings, were carried out in a fair manner. In this context, fairness is defined as decisions made objectively, free from personal favouritism and political influence, and encompasses the elements of openness, competitiveness, transparency and compliance.
President, Knowles Consultancy Services Inc.
FM Contractor's Representative
Bruce Maynard P.Eng.,
FM Team Leader
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