Protest Sustained: Unequal Discussions In $283 Million Census Task Order Award

When an agency opens discussions with offerors, those discussions must be fair.

In a recent decision, GAO recommended the reopening of competition for a contract worth up to $283 million based, in part, on a finding that an agency had engaged in misleading and unequal discussions.

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GAO: Offeror’s High Labor Hours Need Not Be Raised In Discussions

An agency was not required to inform an offeror that its proposed base year labor hours were too high, even though the offeror proposed more than twice as many labor hours as the awardee.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a procuring agency did not act improperly by failing to raise the protester’s high labor hours in discussions, because the protester’s labor hours, while much higher than the awardee’s, were not deemed unacceptably high under the RFQ’s lowest-price, technically acceptable evaluation scheme.

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GAO: Price Revisions Allowed In FPRs Unless Expressly Limited

According to the GAO, an offeror may revise its price as part of a final proposal revision, unless the procuring agency expressly limits the scope of proposal revisions.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the agency properly accepted the awardee’s revised price because agency had not limited the scope of discussions so as to exclude price revisions.

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Discussions: “Significant Weakness” Terminology Not Required

In discussions, a procuring agency is not required to explicitly inform an offeror that its proposal contains a significant weakness, so long as the agency sufficiently identifies the area of concern.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the agency had adequately informed the offeror of the agency’s concerns, even though the agency did not specifically identify those concerns as a “significant weakness.”

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