Key Personnel Unavailability Leads to Sustained GAO Protest

Key personnel are an important term in many proposals. Establishing the resume, experience, and availability of personnel that will perform major functions of a contract is a key (dad joke) aspect of a winning proposal. As one offeror found out, when key personnel become unavailable, the technical acceptability of the entire offer can be in jeopardy.

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GAO Affirms any Discussions During Evaluations Must be Meaningful

Evaluation of offers is a crucial point in the procurement process. During this time period, an agency may, in certain procurements, reach out with discussion questions meant to bring clarity to the decision-making process. However, any such discussions must be meaningful.

As one offeror recently found out, meaningful discussions even apply in so-called simplified acquisitions.

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Inadvertent Release of Incumbent Pricing Data Leads to Sustained Protest

Protecting sensitive business information, especially pricing, is essential even in the GAO bid protest realm. As an agency found out, even an inadvertent release of such information could lead to a sustained protest.

This slip up resulted in the cancellation of a nearly $1 billion contract. Needless to say, this was a big deal. How did this happen, and what should parties be looking for to protect their confidential data?

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GAO Annual Bid Protest Report Shows 51% Effectiveness Rate

In 2020, the GAO Bid Protest effectiveness rate crossed the 50% threshold, higher than we’ve seen it in any recent year.  Overall, cases filed went down a mere 2% year over year.

GAO issues its yearly report as a requirement under statute. Congress is particularly concerned with knowing 1) which federal agencies didn’t follow GAO’s recommendations in bid protests and 2) if GAO did not issue a decision in 100 days. As like most years, GAO was “pleased” to report that all agencies followed its recommendations, when given, and that it timely (within 100 days) decided all bid protests.

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Ring Ring! GAO Sustains Protest of Awardee’s Conflict of Interest

Agencies have broad discretion when it comes to evaluating potential organizational conflicts of interest–but that discretion isn’t unlimited. In a recent decision involving a fight between two telecommunications giants, the GAO sustained the protest, holding that the the agency unreasonably concluded that there was no possibility of an “impaired objectivity” OCI arising from the award.

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Persistence Pays: GAO Sustains After Fourth Protest Due to Unreasonably Narrow Corrective Action

In its recent decision, Peraton, Inc., B-416916.8, et al. (Aug. 3, 2020), GAO ultimately sustained a protest that the Department of State’s corrective action was unreasonably limited—recommending the protester be reimbursed its protest costs in the process.

For more on how it reached this result, buckle up! Because it was a long road for the protester to reach the GAO sustain.

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Whose Jurisdiction is it Anyways? GAO Dismisses Size Challenge

GAO recently dismissed a protest to an awardee’s eligibility under the applicable size standard. The protester argued that the agency should have known that the awardee exceeded the nonmanufacturer rule’s 500-employee maximum. After extensive briefing from both parties and from the SBA itself, GAO found that the awardee’s proposal didn’t raise any issues and that it was really up to the SBA to decide the size issues anyway.

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