VA Changes Rules for RFPs – What can you do about it?

Evelyn Wolf
2 min read

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released an RFP that has sent a shock-wave through the proposal writing community. The RFP is this: VA118-15-R0558 for information technology services.

In the RFP, the VA states,

Notably, the RFP expressly prohibits offerors from using consultants to assist them in preparing their sample task responses. Id. at 119. In this regard, the RFP requires an offeror to certify, using a form provided with the RFP, that its sample task responses were prepared only by the offeror and its subcontractors, provided that any such subcontractor has entered into a contractor team arrangement (CTA) with the offeror and is identified in the offeror’s management proposal. Id. The RFP provides that the agency will not consider proposals which do not include the certification or which provide a falsified certification.

In simple terms, this means that offerors for this RFP cannot use proposal consultants’ services. Not surprisingly the APMP (Association of Proposal Management Professionals) strongly disagrees with this. They plan to tackle the issue head on. Rick Harris, APMP Executive Director said:

APMP plans to take this issue on aggressively. We are starting to schedule meetings with Congressional staff on the Hill. We are going to ask a lot of questions and specifically inquire how this decision could impact their future RFPs. We are going to let them know how much this hurts our members.

There’s no doubt this is going to be an issue for contractors who avail of consultants. If this trend spreads, it could very seriously impact your Proposal Development process.

What can you do about it?

Define Your Proposal Process 

Many companies become overly reliant on consultants. So the very act of documenting your process will mean you start to clearly spot areas where you will need to fill gaps previously played by the consultant. Just like any sales process, your team must clearly understand bid/no-bid discriminators, risk qualification criteria and other gated checks during your color team reviews.


If you currently rely heavily on support from consultants and are not using automated processes already, it’s time to start. Shredding your MS Word and PDF documents with a tool can save huge amounts of time. Integrate clarity/readability checks and win theme gated reviews with automation. Many consultants have a clear ‘compass’ for assessing risk in your proposal. So, take those risk checklists, and wire them into your proposal process. Identifying things like ‘liquidated damages’, CDRLs, acronyms are all ideally suited for automation. These time savers mean your team has more time and resources to focus on improving the proposal.

Stay Informed

 No doubt we will begin to see a changing landscape. It’s important to stay abreast of the latest updates and changes in RFPs. Our blog, APMP Blog and the APMP Linkedin group are great places to stay informed.

Support APMP

If you want your voice to be heard, contact the APMP. Tell them your issues and have your voice heard.



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