Absent an express prohibition in the solicitation, the experience of a proposed subcontractor may be considered by an agency in determining whether an offeror meets the solicitation’s experience requirements.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that the experience of a proposed subcontractor could be considered in an agency’s evaluation because the solicitation did not prohibit the agency from considering the subcontractor’s experience.
Although an agency may consider the past performance of an offeror’s affiliates under certain circumstances, the extent of the agency’s past performance review is governed by the terms of the solicitation.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that an agency properly refused to consider the past performance of the offeror’s parent company because the solicitation restricted the scope of the agency’s past performance review.
According to the GAO, a solicitation was unduly restrictive because it prohibited the consideration of the past performance of an offeror’s affiliates–even when the affiliates would contribute to performance of the contract.
The GAO’s bid protest decision in Iyabak Construction, LLC, B-409196 (Feb. 6, 2014) demonstrates that agency restrictions on the consideration of past performance must be reasonable. However, the Iyabak Construction decision should not be interpreted as standing for the principle than an agency can never exclude the past performance of an offeror’s affiliates if those affiliates will contribute to contract performance. Rather, the case suggests that it was the government’s failure to offer a good explanation–not the underlying restriction itself–that led to the “sustain” decision.
A bidder on a government contract opportunity may rely on the past performance of an affiliated company–but only when the bidder’s proposal demonstrates that the resources of the affiliate will be provided or relied upon for contract performance.
This rule was recently at issue in a GAO bid protest decision, in which the GAO held that the agency improperly credited a joint venture with the past performance of affiliated companies, even though the joint venture’s proposal did not indicate that those companies would play a role in contract performance.
A procuring agency appropriately refused to give an 8(a) participant the highest-possible past performance score, despite the 8(a) company’s plan to subcontract to the successful incumbent contractor.
In a recent GAO bid protest decision, the GAO held that in evaluating past performance, the agency properly focused on the experience of the 8(a) prime, which was required to perform at least 51% of the contract work and manage the contract.
A procuring agency’s assignment of a “significant weakness” on the basis of a contractor’s supposed lack of experience was unreasonable because the agency did not consider the experience of the contractor’s personnel.
In BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc., B-405664, B-405664.2 (Dec. 12, 2011), the GAO sustained a bid protest, holding in part that the agency erred by overlooking the experience of the protester’s personnel.
The FAR’s threshold for meeting the so-called “Rule of Two” for small business set-asides is “purposefully low,” according to a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
In Adams & Associates, Inc. v. The United States, No. 12-731C (2013), the Court rejected a challenge to a small business set-aside, holding in part that a contracting officer need not conduct a thorough responsibility evaluation of prospective small business offerors before issuing a set-aside.