A company that is nonresponsive to an Invitation for Bid (IFB), or any solicitation for that matter, will usually be rejected for consideration for award. All too often, when a nonresponsive finding is made, there is no coming back.
A recent decision from GAO shines light on what it means to be “nonresponsive” and “not responsible.” GAO confirmed that SAM registration submitting annual certifications are matters of responsibility, not responsiveness.
What is the difference? Let’s look at the two terms and their practical effect on a company’s ability to cure deficiencies.
Generally, the small business Rule of Two requires an agency to set aside contracts for small business, assuming that there are at least two small businesses with competitive prices who will bid on the contract. But does the small business Rule of Two apply to orders under a multiple award contract? In a recent decision, GAO affirmed the answer is no–application of the small business Rule of Two for orders under a multiple-award contract is discretionary.
If a teacher has told you once, they’ve told you a thousand times, show your work. That was GAO’s reminder to GSA in its decision in Hoover Properties, B-418844 (Sept. 28, 2020). In the case, GAO sustained a protest from property management company Hoover Properties, the non-awardee of a GSA request for lease proposal (RLP), in which Hoover argued that GSA failed to provide adequate documentation for its evaluation.
America’s criminal justice system is founded on the principle that a defendant is innocent until proven guilty. And when it comes to compliance with the limitations on subcontracting, a similar principle applies.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that a small business’s proposal does not need to affirmatively demonstrate compliance with the “LoS.” Instead, compliance is presumed, unless the proposal “on its face” should lead the procuring agency to conclude that the small business will not comply.
When a federal solicitation is vague, ambiguous or internally contradictory, it is common for offerors to hold their tongues. Instead of challenging the solicitation’s defects before proposals are due, many offerors decide to submit proposals and “see how it plays out.” Later, if the award goes to a competitor, these offerors may try to protest the solicitation’s defects.
It’s unsurprising that offerors can be reticent to rock the boat before an award is made. But a recent GAO bid protest decision demonstrates, complaining about the ground rules after award rarely works.