What is a Government Proposal?

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  • Written By: Jason C. Chavis
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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A government proposal is a business objective from private industry in response to requests by a government branch, agency or department for a service or product. When a city, county, state or federal government needs a job completed, whether in tangible goods or services, and it does not have facilities in place to complete the project, it generally issues a written request for private companies to provide the necessary objective. In response, businesses produce a government proposal highlighting costs, time frame and other aspects of the necessary project. On occasion, a government proposal takes the form of a legislative motion when the government body decides to complete the task on its own.

When additional costs are associated with completing a task, such as risk assessments, scheduling, quality and quantity, the government will issue the request. Sometimes these proposals take the form of temporary contracts such as when a company builds a limited amount of vehicles for such things as snow removal or limited military application. Other times, a private business will put forth a long-term proposal to handle the project over the course of time, such as a private company handling the trash pickup in a city. If the project needs to be completed in a timely manner or to a certain high quality level, the government may choose to use a private proposal with a company already working in the industry.


In the United States, all government proposals are regulated by the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). This is a set of rules put into place to ensure that the proper channels are followed when dealing with agencies and departments from the federal government. In general, states and municipal governments also follow similar regulations, as do many countries around the world. The main purpose of this process is to guarantee adequate planning, a recognition of the actual need of the service, correct formation of contracts and administration of the contracts are all followed in a specific system. However, in the U.S. and many other countries, FAR regulations do not require the private company to follow the procedures, only the government entity.

The proposals by the government agency itself are called requests for proposals (RFPs). This standardized form of government proposal requests specifies what the government want to purchase and how soon it would like the product. RFPs comply with the standards set forth by FAR regulation, exactly how the proposal is worded and what criteria will be used to evaluate the government proposals from the private companies.


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