How to Use the IAS Master Contract

The purpose of this document is to explain in simple terms the steps that are necessary to utilize the Independent Assessment Services (IAS) contract. The process is not difficult, assuming that you have a clear idea of the services that are required, and that these services are in scope for the contract.  If this is your first time using this contract, or a master contract of this type, feel free to email ITPO.doit@maryland.gov and request assistance from the Contract Manager, who will be happy to call you and help you work through these steps.

Step 1: Scope

The first step is to validate that your requirement is in scope for this contract. The IAS Contract is focused on providing independent assessment services, not general IT support. To be in scope for this contract, the work must be some form of an independent assessment such as:

  • Either a snapshot or lifecycle IV&V
  • Certification and Accreditation (C&A) Assessment
  • A Risk Assessment
  • Organizational Assessment
  • Double blind market study
  • Any other engagement in which the agency desires to have an independent contractor perform an assessment and provide feedback to the agency.

What is NOT in scope?

  • Any type of staff augmentation
  • IT operational support activities
  • IT development or system Integration
  • Direct project management services

If you are unsure whether or not your requirement is in scope, request assistance from ITPO.doit@maryland.gov.

Assuming that your requirement is in scope for the contract, proceed to Step 2.

Step 2: Select Secondary Competition Template

The IAS secondary competition process has two possible options which depend on the size and complexity of your requirement. The Short Form IAS TORFP Template is designed to be used in small, simple IAS assessments. This process is form based, and is less complex than the other IAS TORFP Template. For larger, more complex requirements, the Long Form IAS TORFP Template is used. If your requirement can meet ALL of the following, then the Short Form IAS TORFP Template can be used:

  1. Has a Fixed Price (FP) cost of less than $200K or a Time and Materials (T&M) effort of less than 2000 hours.
  2. Has a Period of Performance (POP) less than 6 months.
  3. Delivers ONE primary task and supports just ONE agency.
  4. Is ONLY simple FP or T&M. No hybrid pricing or work orders.
  5. Little or no likelihood of needing a change order.

If your requirement meets ALL of these criteria, then you should use the Short Form IAS TORFP Template. If one or more of the above criteria CANNOT be met, then you should use the Long Form IAS TORFP Template

Step 3: Prepare the IAS TORFP

The next step is to write the IAS TORFP. If this is your first time preparing a procurement RFP or IAS TORFP, definitely contact ITPO.doit@maryland.gov for assistance. It is much less painful to get assistance in the beginning and do it right the first time than for everybody to get frustrated with re-work.

Initial Steps

The comments in this section apply regardless of the type of template you will be using to prepare your IAS TORFP. Further sections will describe the Short Form and Long Form Templates separately.

  1. Get clear in your mind (or on paper) exactly what you are asking for. You need to be able to state clearly:
    • Exactly what results you are looking for (an objective).
    • The deliverables that you will expect to see from the contractor to achieve the objective.
    • The timeframe that you expect the contractor to accomplish the assessment.
    • How much effort (rough estimate) you expect that the contractor will need to expend to accomplish the task. This will determine your budget for the IAS TORFP.
  2. Download the appropriate template from this IAS Web Site. Consult the IAS Service Center page for additional helpful information. You MUST USE one of the two approved templates for procurements from this contract. IAS TORFPs received by DoIT which do not use these templates will be rejected.

Completing the Short Form IAS TORFP Template

Assuming that you have determined that the Short Form Template is the correct one for you to use, and you have downloaded it from this IAS Web Site, then you are ready to begin filling it out. If you are not sure how to fill it out, seek assistance from ITPO.doit@maryland.gov.

At this point, go to the IAS Service Center and access the Short Form IAS TORFP Process for detailed instructions for completing the remainder of the procurement process.

Completing the Long Form IAS TORFP Template

If you have determined that you need to use the Long Form IAS TORFP Template and have downloaded it from the IAS Web Site, then you are ready to begin the process. While this template is considerably more complex than the Short Form, it also provides many options that are not available with the Short Form Template.

At this point, go to the IAS Service Center and access the Long Form IAS TORFP Process for detailed instructions for completing the IAS TORFP.

Step 4: DoIT Review

Once the IAS TORFP has been completed, and any internal agency reviews are completed, submit your IAS TORFP to ITPO for DoIT review and approval. The length of time required for review depends upon the quality of the IAS TORFP, the template used, and the overall complexity of the procurement. In general, Short Form IAS TORFPs should complete review in 7-14 days assuming it is a well-formed IAS TORFP. For Long Form IAS TORFPs, the review time should be 14-28 days. Again, a lot depends on the quality and complexity of the IAS TORFP.

Here are a few hints which will help reduce the review time and the likelihood of the IAS TORFP being rejected for more work:

  1. Submit ALL of the required documents, including the MBE and VSBE work sheets as required.
  2. Be sure that requirements are clearly and completely identified and written in an understandable manner.
  3. Be sure to fill in ALL of the required information.
  4. Be sure to check for and remove any spelling or grammatical errors.

There are three possible outcomes from the review process:

  1. The IAS TORFP is approved for release providing the agency accept any changes made to the IAS TORFP.
  2. The IAS TORFP is not approved for release and must be resubmitted after identified discrepancies have been completed or corrected.
  3. The IAS TORFP is not approved for release, and is not appropriate for this contract vehicle. In this case, the IAS TORFP must be rewritten to use a different procurement vehicle.

In general, the Contract Manager will reach out to discuss issues with agencies that have submitted IAS TORFPs for review in order to avoid misunderstandings and also to get deficiencies corrected as expeditiously as possible.

Step 5: IAS TORFP Release, and Evaluation:

Once the IAS TORFP has been approved by ITPO, it is ready for release. The Procurement Officer shall provide a copy of the IAS TORFP package to each of the Master Contractors for the IAS Contract. The IAS Web site can provide a list of the Master Contractors and their contact information. Normal release and proposal submission procedures are used. See documentation in the IAS Service Center for additional information.

At the expiration of the release period, or as soon as all 5 Master Contractors have responded, the agency can begin the evaluation process. The evaluation process should follow normal procurement best practices and as described in the IAS TORFP. At the end of the evaluation, when an Offeror has been selected for the TO, an award letter should be created by the Procurement Officer, describing the process and the justification for the award and forward the award package to ITPO for review and approval.

Step 6: Award Review

Upon receipt of the award package, ITPO will review the award letter to ensure that the procurement was executed properly. Assuming that proper procedures were followed, the award should be approved within one week. When this is done, DoIT will forward approval back to the agency, who can then formally approve the contract and issue a Notice to Proceed (NTP) for the contractor to begin work.