Administrative Regulation 9.18

SUBJECT: Invitation to Negotiate ORIGINATING DEPARTMENT: Management and Budget


  1.  In procuring commodities and services under this Administrative Regulation, the County shall comply fully with Section 287.057, Florida Statues and Administrative Regulation AR:
    1. 9.01 (latest revision); Purchasing Policy.

  1. Invitation to Negotiate means a written solicitation document used for the competitive sealed bidding of the purchase of goods or services when the scope of the project is not certain and the County desires input from vendors/consultants on the project specifications.
  2. The invitation to negotiate is a solicitation used which is intended to determine the best method for achieving a specific goal or solving a particular problem and identifies one or more responsive vendors with which the County may negotiate in order to receive the best value.
    1. Before issuing an invitation to negotiate, the Department/Division/Office Director must determine and specify in writing the reasons that procurement by an invitation to bid (ITB) or a request for proposal (RFP) is not practicable.
    2. The invitation to negotiate (ITN) must describe the questions being explored, the facts being sought, and the specific goals or problems that are the subject of the solicitation.
    3. The criteria that will be used for determining the acceptability of the reply and guiding the selection of the vendors with which the County will negotiate must be specified. The evaluation criteria must include consideration of prior relevant experience of the vendor/consultant.
    4. The County shall evaluate replies against all evaluation criteria set forth in the invitation to negotiate in order to establish a competitive range of replies reasonably susceptible of award. The County may select one or more vendors within the competitive range with which to commence negotiations. After negotiations are conducted, the County shall award the contract to the responsible and responsive vendor that the County determines will provide the best value to the County, based on the selection criteria.
    5. The contract file for a vendor/consultant selected through an ITN must contain a short plain statement that explains the basis for the selection of the vendor/consultant and that sets forth the vendor/consultant’s deliverables and price, pursuant to the contract, along with an explanation of how these deliverables and price provide the best value to the County.
  3. The ITN method of procurement should be utilized when the scope of the project is not clearly defined, and the County has determined that negotiations may be necessary to receive the best value. The invitation shall invite the vendor’s/consultant’s input on the scope, schedule, and process for initiating the project. This method of procurement is frequently used in areas experiencing constant change in the marketplace and the County wants the opportunity to obtain current, up-to-date goods or services at the time of contracting.
  4. The Department/Division/Office Director shall outline the general scope of services to be addressed by the proposers. The purchasing/contracts manager shall prepare the criteria and develop the invitation to negotiate which should include, but not be limited to, the following:
    1. Introduction;
    2. Background;
    3. General scope of services required; 
    4. Evaluation criteria; 
    5. Selection process; 
    6. General conditions;
    7. Required forms.
  5. Evaluation of Invitations to Negotiate
    1. All responses to an invitation to negotiate that are deemed to meet the basic requirements of the competitive procurement and have not been rejected shall be distributed to the individual scorers for review in accordance with the established time frames outlined in the competitive procurement.
    2. Depending upon the type of commodity or service being procured, scoring of the submittals by Individual Scorers may or may not be required. If required, Individual Scorers shall be established by the County Administrator, or designee, and shall consist of at least three individuals who have the knowledge and/or expertise concerning the commodity or service being procured. For the purpose of diversification, no more than two of the individuals selected as an Individual Scorer can be affiliated with the Staff requesting the ITN.
    3. The individual scorers shall use the appropriate form, as approved by the purchasing/contracts manager, when evaluating responses and shall conduct the evaluation in accordance with the selection criteria outlined in the solicitation. The individual scorers may hear presentations from all or selected vendors/contractors based on the selection criteria outlined in the competitive procurement at a public meeting.