RFP QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Question: Is there a specific committee charged with overseeing the project or will one be created prior to the project’s start?
Answer: In the past, we have had a steering committee comprised of high level decision makers in the region that participated in the process. So, yes we would envision creating a steering group of volunteer leaders organized to help provide leadership and input into the process. However, I would envision that most of the project oversight would be staff driven.
Question: Will there be staff assigned to the project by the sponsor organizations and if so, what will their role be?
Answer: Yes, we would envision that the professional staff would be engaged in the project in various capacities (i.e. providing oversight, guidance and support).
Question: What is the desired start date for the contract?
Answer: Our timeline is to select a consultant and execute a contract by February 1, 2017. We would like to start the project immediately after the contract is executed.
Question: Is there a desired completion date?
Answer: Based on our initial timeline, we had planned that this project would take 4-5 months once a consultant is selected and the contract executed. However, we have some flexibility and can adjust if deemed necessary. We do not want the project to be rushed and want the consultant to deliver the best quality product. However, the project should not take more than 10-12 months maximum. I should also note that we have some deadlines imposed on us by some of our grant funding sources that are supporting this project which may require the consultant to provide us with formal progress reports to satisfy their requirements.
Question: Given the holiday season, can you tell me when you are considering holding interviews?
Answer: We anticipate that the selection committee will review the proposals in early January and potentially select 2-3 finalists to invite in for interviews and presentations. We would hope to have the selection process completed by the end of February.
Question: The amount and type of “input’ is an important question with this many cities/towns involved. Do you have any further thoughts on that component ?
Answer: This is a critical piece of the project. I would envision that whomever we select would be experienced in hosting and facilitating “visioning” sessions (as well as other techniques) to gather input from various stakeholders and build consensus around a collective economic development strategy. However, we do not expect that the consultant we select to engage with the elected leadership in each and every community that we represent on an individual basis. We can provide guidance on major stakeholders that should be included in the process.
Question: We are quite experienced in creating a comprehensive community assessment to give you a clear picture of all the demographic and economic data and a meaningful analysis. Will you want to include research on comparison regions from the Northeast or around the country?
Answer: The data piece is another critical part of the project. If you believe that a comparison with other regions will be helpful, then you should include it in your proposal.
Question: One of our major concerns is the data availability given the many cities/towns to be included. Is the region represented by the Montachusett RPC and its 22 communities a good source for data ? Does it cover almost all of your region ?
Answer: Yes, the Montachusett RPC represents most of our core communities and is a good source of data. However, we expect that the consultant we select should also have access to other sources of data.
Question: Is there any flexibility with the budget?
Answer: The $100,000 is our total budget for the project. We have no flexibility there. You should make sure to document if anything is excluded in your final proposal.
Question: How many firms have been invited to respond to the RFP? I don’t see that it’s publicly posted, is that right?
Answer: Currently, there are ten consulting firms that we invited to respond to the RFP.
Question: Do you have a cut-off date for questions, and will you be sharing Q&A with all prospective bidders?
Answer: We don’t have a set cut-off date for questions. However, I would recommend submitting any questions well in advance of the deadline as possible. We may not respond to the questions immediately and you want to leave yourself enough time to prepare your proposal and submit by the deadline.
Sharing the Q&A will depend on the number of questions we receive and if we deem them relevant and helpful for the preparation of the proposals. In such a case, we might compile and share the questions and our responses to the questions with all of the bidders.
Question: It appears that submission by email is acceptable and hard copies are not required. Is that accurate?
Answer: Yes, email submission is fine. But, I would recommend that you confirm receipt.