Subcontractor Experience Irrelevant Where Subcontractor Won’t Perform Similar Tasks, Says GAO

Prime and subcontractor teaming is a common way for contractors to leverage the experience of the team’s anticipated subcontractors to make proposals more attractive to federal clients, particularly when past performance is a substantial evaluation consideration. This approach, however, recently ran into a snag when the proposed subcontractor was not going to perform the discrete work areas that its past performance experience supported, which lowered the past performance score of the bid. In the resulting protest, GAO concluded the agency got the evaluation right, and was not required to credit all of the subcontractor’s experience.

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GAO Green Lights Use of IGCE in Past Performance Evaluation

Internal Government Cost Estimates (IGCEs) are frequently used to gauge the reasonableness of contractor prices during proposal evaluation. But can these internal estimates also impact other evaluation factors? GAO was recently asked to resolve this question in the context of past performance evaluations, and the answer was essentially “you sure can!”

Alright, GAO wasn’t that enthusiastic, but it did condone the use of IGCEs when evaluating past performance.

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GAO to Agency: Offerors are More than Just a CPARS-Generated Rating Percentage

GAO recently sustained protest to an agency’s FAR Part 13 procurement that relied exclusively on CPARS-generated assessment chart rating percentages to evaluate vendors’ past performance. The agency’s goal was to “maximize competition” by considering all past work, rather than just relevant work. While there is no FAR Part 13 regulatory prohibition on doing so, GAO found the CPARS charts incomplete and misleading and the evaluation inconsistent with the terms of the solicitation.

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2020 NDAA to Add Cybersecurity Training, Additional SBA Annual Reporting, and Promote Workforce Development

The draft 2020 National Defense Authorization Act includes a number of provisions that will affect government contractors, especially small business contractors, including the three provisions featured in this post. Read on for how the 2020 draft NDAA impacts annual small business reporting by the SBA, cybersecurity training for small businesses, and evaluation of past performance to focus on workforce development.

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GAO: Past Performance Should Relate to Solicited Services

Past performance is an important evaluation factor in many solicitations. Essentially, it allows an agency to guess as to the likelihood of an offeror’s successful performance under a solicitation by looking to its history of performance on similar projects in the past.

GAO recently confirmed it is “axiomatic” that past performance examples should align with the solicitation’s requirements. If an offeror submits unrelated examples, it risks a downgraded past performance score.

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GAO Sustains Protest Where Agency Failed to Reasonably Evaluate Past Performance

GAO defers to agencies on many issues related to their procurements. But GAO will intervene when an agency says one thing, in a solicitation, but does another when it evaluates proposals. In other words, GAO will sustain protests when the agencies disregard their own evaluation criteria outlined in a solicitation.

Otherwise, the agency might–even inadvertently–evaluate proposals unequally–a situation that a just and fair procurement system must avoid. 

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GAO: Past Performance Evaluation Not Required In LPTA Set-Aside Competition

An agency was not required to evaluate past performance under an SDVOSB set-aside solicitation that contemplated making award to the lowest-price, technically-acceptable offeror.

According to a recent GAO bid protest decision, a past performance evaluation in the context of an LPTA set-aside is essentially duplicative of the agency’s evaluation of responsibility, meaning that a separate past performance evaluation isn’t necessary.

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