Miscalculation of Subcontracting Percentage Leads to Sustained Protest

Agencies and contractors must do their math right (even fractions) when evaluating proposals against solicitation terms, and GAO will call them on it if they don’t. GAO recently sustained a protest where an agency improperly calculated a small business subcontracting percentage by including the prime contractor’s fee as part of the subcontracted costs when the fee shouldn’t have been included.

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Ignorance is Bliss? Not When it Comes to Timely Filing of Protest, Says GAO

Ignorance is bliss, right? Not always. In the world of government contracting, GAO recently dismissed a protest because its initial agency protest was not timely filed, reminding the protester that ignorance of the law is no excuse.

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GAO: Proposal Strengths Must be Based on Solicitation Criteria, Not Merely Benefit to Government

Agencies often find unanticipated, innovative content in offerors’ proposals. And unsurprisingly, those proposals are often the ones selected for award. But a recent GAO decision reminds us that all strengths an agency assigns must be supported by the stated evaluation criteria. In other words, the solicitation must thoroughly inform offerors of these evaluation criteria, and the agency must equally evaluate offerors under them. An offeror’s proposal should not get extra credit for proposing things that are not anticipated by or logically encompassed in the solicitation.

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GAO Disagrees with SBA: Consolidation Analysis Not Required for BPAs

No, the government isn’t trying to figure out how it can bundle home and auto coverage to save on its insurance premiums. Instead, “consolidation” in the federal government contract context refers to the action of collecting requirements being performed under discrete small business set-aside contracts into a single procurement. Before an agency may consolidate contracts, it must consider the impacts the proposed consolidation will have on small business participation. Recently, however, GAO was asked to determine whether consolidation analyses are required for Blanket Purchase Order (“BPA”) procurements, and its decision did not adopt the SBA’s position.

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GAO Examines Requirements for Sole-Source Contracts

Sole-source awards can make many contractors feel left out of the loop of the procurement process. GAO in the past has upheld that sole-source contracts are allowable so long as the agency has a reasonable justification for the sole-source contract. Recently GAO re-examined what constitutes a reasonable “justification and award” for a sole-source contract.  

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GAO: Agencies Must Explain Cost Realism Evaluation Determinations

GAO recently held in ATA Aerospace, LLC, B-417427 (July 2, 2019) that agencies are required to explain how offerors’ proposed labor hours and prices are, or are not, in line with historical data from predecessor contracts when conducting cost realism evaluations.

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“We Don’t Do Option Year Challenges,” Says GAO

Most federal contracts are structured with a base period with a number of option periods that can be exercised at the agency’s discretion. But what happens if an option year goes unexercised? Recently, a disappointed contractor attempted to challenge the agency’s decision not to exercise an option before GAO. Unfortunately, GAO was not receptive.

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