GAO: Misrepresentation on Key Person Availability Sinks Proposal

Agencies rely on the representations made by offerors in their proposals to determine how capable each offeror is. In many cases, key personnel are so vital to an offeror’s chance of success that any change to the key personnel must be approved by the agency prior to such a change taking place. Logic follows that the risk of losing a possible award outweighs any benefit that may be reaped from stretching the truth. Nonetheless, from time to time an offeror will decide to give it a try, hoping that any inaccuracies will be overlooked, or will simply unintentionally misrepresent a detail. But, as one offeror learned, the possibility of such inaccuracies being discovered is high, and the end result is far from ideal.

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GAO Sustains Protest to Best Value Trade Off Where Agency Only Considers “Outstanding” Proposals, Without Weighing Price/Non-Price Factors

The federal government contracting solicitation, proposal, and selection processes are something that all federal government contractors should strive to know. These methods, found in FAR parts 14 and 15, respectively, can be boiled down to two methods: sealed bidding and contracting by negotiation. Contracting by negotiation can occur either through a competitive award or a sole source award. When used effectively, the parts of the FAR clue contractors into the methods that agencies use to evaluate proposals and can help contractors tailor their proposals to better target agencies’ needs, thereby increasing chances of award. Of particular importance is the method an agency will use to evaluate proposals, and the weight given to technical components of the proposal against the weight given to price. In KPMG LLP, B-420949 (Nov. 7, 2022), GAO takes a look at how agencies evaluate technical proposals and price, and how those evaluations work together in a best-value tradeoff decision.

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2022 Bid Protest Report, Success Rate Up, Total Protests Down

GAO’s annual bid protest report is a fall tradition for federal contracting attorneys. It’s perhaps not quite as tasty as stuffing in my book, but always interesting. In it, GAO summarizes its slate of bid protests for the previous fiscal year, and we can glean insights from how the protest numbers have changed from prior years.

Here are some key points from this year: (1) the key effectiveness metric, showing numbers of sustains and corrective actions at GAO, was up again to 51% for the 2022 fiscal year and (2) total bid protest numbers are down slightly, continuing a trend from the last few years.

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Who You Gonna Call? Your Contracting Officer (Part 2) 

In our line of work, we regularly litigate protests, claims, appeals, etc., against the Government. But often, procuring and contracting issues can be resolved without the need for litigation–via a little-known method we like to call “talking things out with your CO.” There are also some important things to keep in mind regarding communications with your contracting officer during the proposal submission process. This article is the second of three articles aimed at providing helpful tips for communicating with your contracting officer. Part 1, which focused on pre-solicitation and solicitation communications, can be found here. This article will focus on proposal submission communications. And the third will focus on contract performance communications.

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Back to Basics: Pre-Award Bid Protests

Many bid protests we handle at Koprince McCall Pottroff are filed after the contract has been awarded to an offeror. However, sometimes there are issues that are apparent in the solicitation that require clarification or correction prior to the bidding or proposal deadline. In these situations, potential offerors can file a pre-award protest that challenges solicitation terms, but, as with most GAO matters, there are strict deadlines that must be adhered to if the protestor wants to avoid her protest being dismissed. While pre-award protest is the common term, remember that a challenge to a solicitation’s terms is due before the proposal deadline.

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No Pay, No Need to Say: GAO Clarifies What Judgments and Settlements Require Disclosure under FAR 52.209-7

Representations and certifications are an integral part of the requirements for any solicitation. While each solicitation may require different representations and certifications, what precisely is required for a given representation or certification is generally governed by the FAR. One of the more common requirements is that an offeror provide information to the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) regarding its current federal awards and recent judgments against it concerning federal procurements that result in payment by the offeror, and this is governed by FAR 52.209-7. Recently, GAO addressed the question of just what recent judgments must be disclosed under that FAR rule. In this post, we will explore their decision.

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GAO Sustains Protest for Converting Best-Value Evaluation into LPTA

In a recent decision, GAO sustained a protest arguing that the agency had actually converted a best-value tradeoff procurement into a lowest-priced, technically acceptable competition. GAO held that the agency had not properly followed the evaluation criteria.

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