Hey VA! You Can’t Avoid the Rule of Two By Using GPO To Do Your Shopping.

It’s no secret that the VA has tried to find ways around the statutorily-mandated rule of two–i.e. VA must set aside procurements for VOSBS if it has a reasonable expectation that it will receive fair and reasonable offers from two or more veteran-owned small businesses. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has already told VA, in Kingdomware, that it cannot circumvent the rule of two, VA apparently is still seeking ways to avoid it.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review April 29, 2019-May 3, 2019

Hope everyone is ready for the weekend. Around here, we’ll be enjoying a break from the intense rain that’s been coming down in the Lawrence area over the past week. What better way to welcome the weekend than with a review of what’s been happening in the government contracting world?

In this week’s roundup, we take note of new DoD rules on performance based contract payments and fixed-price contracts, ramifications of changes in the security clearance process, changes in supply chain security programs, and more.

Enjoy your weekend!

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GAO Won’t Let Agencies Sweep Solicitation Non-Compliance Under the Rug

An agency can’t award an offeror a contract if its proposal doesn’t conform with a material solicitation requirement. So if, for example, the solicitation requires certain types of documentation showing an offeror’s right to use property, but the awardee offers something different, GAO will likely sustain a protest.

Put differently, GAO won’t let an agency relax key solicitation requirements even though the agency might, during evaluation, accept the non-complying proposal.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review March 11 – March 15, 2019

Happy Friday, everyone! If you’re a college basketball fan (who isn’t?), this is one of the best times of the year. Things stay pretty interesting around our office in March and April, between our assortment of KU, Duke, and North Carolina fans. We hope you enjoy the games this weekend!

Before tipoff, let’s rundown the latest government contracting news. In this week’s edition of the Week In Review, we’ll discuss DoD’s ongoing cloud computing legal battle, GAO’s report on health and safety of defense contractors’ employees, the government’s end-of-year buying spree, and more government contractors behaving badly.

Have a great weekend!

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GAO: Agencies Can’t Blindly Rely on Adjectival Ratings to Make Award Decisions

In evaluating proposals, an agency will sometimes use “adjectival ratings” (e.g., Excellent, Good, Acceptable) to describe its assessment of a proposal or portions of a proposal. But, importantly, an agency cannot evade its responsibility to reasonably evaluate proposals–based on the articulated evaluation criteria–by deferring solely to the assigned adjectival ratings.

In other words, if the agency doesn’t perform a true qualitative assessment, but instead relies on mere labels to make its ultimate award decision, GAO will likely slap the agency’s hand.

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GAO: Agency Didn’t Reasonably Evaluate a Potential OCI

In all competitive procurements, agencies must identify and analyze, as soon as possible, whether a potential contractor has an actual or potential organizational conflict of interest. (OCIs come in three general varieties: unequal access to information, biased ground rules, and impaired objectivity.) If the agency finds one, it must avoid, neutralize, or mitigate the potential OCI to ensure fairness.

As one recent GAO decision illustrates, an agency’s failure to reasonably investigate a potential OCI can lead to a sustained protest.

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