The overall score for this Request for Proposals is 59 percent, which makes this RFP a moderate to substantial risk for applicants.
This request for proposals (“RFP”) is for the Elder Justice Program RFP, which “helps address and prevent elder abuse among older residents living in the diverse communities of New York City, whose needs are now highlighted and further complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.” This RFP seeks proposals that will provide direct services to elder abuse clients and their families such as counseling, legal assistance, transportation, financial assistance, education, training, and outreach activities.
The goals of this program include “the development of systems and programs that (a) prevent abuse from happening, (b) protect people from abusive situations, (c) support people who have experienced abuse to help them recover, and (d) preserve, promote, and empower the independence, choice, and financial security of the client.”
The New York City Department for the Aging (DFTA) is the contracting agency, and the anticipated contract start date is October 1, 2022.
Although we appreciate that DFTA is allowing flexibility for providers to develop innovative program models to account for community needs and to adapt to the impacts of the pandemic, there is no assurance that contractors will be awarded the full cost of services to implement these various program models.
Also, there is no guidance on salary levels for staff, no additional funding for cost-of-living adjustments or cost escalators throughout the length of the contract, which is especially important in New York City. Human services workers continue to be some of the lowest paid workers in New York’s economy for the lifesaving services that they provide for their communities. This is a larger systemic issue which affects a workforce that is overwhelmingly female and workers of color. We hope that the City commits to paying equitable wages to contracted human services workers by providing rates that cover the full cost of services, including staff salaries, cost escalators, and a cost-of-living adjustment and support the #JustPay campaign.
The RFP asks proposer to “budget up to an Accepted Indirect Cost Rate or use the 10% de minimis Indirect Cost Rate. If you have a MOCS-Approved Indirect Rate, please note such here, and submit the approval from MOCS confirming the given rate.” This shows that contractors would have to initially submit their budgets with indirect rates of 10%. Contractors should not have budgets default to 10% and require amendments to receive their full indirect cost rates. Providers have already budgeted for this money and cannot continue without certainty on their indirect rates, which puts their entire organization at risk.
In addition, it would be helpful if DFTA provided a sample budget, as providers have asked through the addendum, to ensure transparency on how rates were developed and assess what the actual costs are so that providers are paid for those costs, including indirect and competitive salaries. This would support nonprofit sustainability and the success and quality of programs.
Transparency in Awards
The RFP states that DFTA can “change the program service size, program type, and model depending on the needs of the system, including adding or modifying the structured payment of services, and to change units if City, State and/ or federal definitions of service are changed.” This is a risk for applicants because they need to ensure that they have enough resources to sustain the program in case DFTA decreases funding at any time or increases the program size during the contract.
The HSC RFP Rater assesses the feasibility, opportunities, and risk in City and State human services procurements. Rater scores are based on the RFP and related documents available to the public via New York City’s HHS Accelerator or New York State’s Grants Gateway. The rater consists of 60 questions developed and tested by a team of procurement professionals. The questions are based on information that is necessary to help prospective proposers assess risk.
Each answer is weighted based on the degree of risk inherent in the subject of the question. Answers that imply low to moderate risk are allotted points on a lower scale range compared to higher risk questions. For compound questions, the answer to both parts must be “yes” or “not applicable” to be considered low risk. Scores are calculated by adding all the question scores together. The higher the score, the greater the risk. The scoring range is from 60 to 230, with 0 percent risk equal to a score of 60 and the maximum risk score or 100 percent equal to 230 points. Users can view the answer to each question by clicking the down arrow next to each section to expand the section.
The HSC RFP Rater is not a substitute for the due diligence necessary to inform individual organization decisions.