GAO: A Higher Past Performance Rating For One Offeror Does Not Mean a Competitor Was Penalized

It seems like it should go without saying, but, just because an offeror with better evaluation ratings is preferred over one with neutral ratings does not mean the latter offeror was penalized for having neutral ratings, or that the neutral rating was a penalty. Nonetheless, in a recent bid protest a company creatively argued that it was penalized for having neutral ratings, and GAO unsurprisingly rejected it.

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Agency Reasonably Accepted Awardee’s 91% Price Premium, GAO Says

When it comes to “best value” evaluations, agencies ordinarily have broad discretion to accept higher-rated, higher-priced proposals.

How broad is that discretion? Well, in one recent case, the GAO held that an agency reasonably accepted the awardee’s higher-rated proposal, despite a whopping 91% price premium.

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Where Non-Price Ratings Identical, Agency Wasn’t Required to Choose Lower-Priced Offeror

In a best value competition, when two offerors receive identical adjectival scores on the non-price factors, one might assume that the procuring agency would be required to award the contract to the lower-priced offeror.

Not so.  In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that where two offerors received identical scores on three non-price factors, the agency could still elect to award the contract to the higher-priced offeror.

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GAO: “Best Value” Tradeoff Must Consider Benefits Of Lower-Cost Proposal

In a best value tradeoff evaluation, a procuring agency must consider the benefits of a lower-cost proposal, even if that proposal’s cost is not as close to the agency’s internal cost estimate as a higher-priced proposal.

As demonstrated by a recent GAO bid protest decision, it is improper in a tradeoff analysis for an agency to refuse to consider the relative benefits of paying a lower cost for a lower-rated proposal.

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