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.
In a troubling case, the VA recently refused to issue a small business set-aside because responses to a Request for Information indicated that prospective small business offerors lacked similar experience with the VA, and did not currently have available the personnel, equipment and facilities necessary to perform the contract.
The GAO, ignoring the recommendation of the SBA, affirmed the VA’s decision to forego a small business set-aside.
A contractor bidding on a U.S. Department of State contract was improperly downgraded for failing to possess direct experience working with DOS, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.
The GAO’s decision in Exelis Systems Corporation, B-407111; B-407111.2; B-407111.3; B-407111.4 (Nov. 13, 2012) is notable because it is not unusual for procuring agencies to consider agency-specific experience as part of a past performance and/or experience evaluation. According to Exelis Systems Corporation, such considerations may be deemed improper, unless they are spelled out in (or can be reasonably inferred from) the solicitation.
Small government contractors often rely on teammates and subcontractors to demonstrate relevant experience. But as one recently-published GAO bid protest decision shows, some procuring agencies may take a dim view of such reliance.
In GAO Protest of Quasars, Inc., B-405747 (Dec. 7, 2011), the agency found that a woman-owned small business’s reliance on a teammate for relevant experience was risky, because that teammate might leave, depriving the team of the necessary expertise. The GAO found nothing unreasonable in the agency’s evaluation.