GAO recently sustained a bid protest to a General Services Administration (GSA) acquisition for warehousing and deployment services at the strategic national stockpile–a literal “stockpile” of the nation’s largest supply of critical pharmaceuticals, medical equipment and supplies, and emergency supplies. GSA issued this solicitation and conducted this acquisition on behalf of the Administration for Strategic Preparedness and Response (ASPR), an operating agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). But according to GAO, in evaluating offerors under its solicitation, here, GSA failed to provide offerors with the meaningful discussions required by the FAR. So, GAO sustained the protest and recommended that GSA: reopen the procurement to conduct meaningful discussions with offerors, accept and evaluate revised proposals after doing so, and make a new award decision on that basis.Continue reading
Please consider joining me as I participate in a round table discussion with several APEX Accelerator (formerly PTAC) procurement specialists, hosted by Nick Bernardo, President & Founder of mygovwatch.com. We will be discussing resources available for federal government contractors and answering questions that you may have regarding federal government contracting matters. Please join us for this informative roundtable discussion. Register here. Hope to see you there!
Proving that an agency acted improperly in its source selection process can be a difficult task for any protester. In theory, for a best value tradeoff decision, the agency’s decision and the process to come to that decision seems easy: the agency does a tradeoff between cost and non-cost factors, and that which is most advantageous to the government is awarded. How hard could it be? And the decisions handed down by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Court of Federal Claims (COFC) seem to confirm that it isn’t that hard, seeing as many cases challenging a best value decision are denied. This is, in large part, due to the discretion agencies are afforded in their source selection decisions. Whether an agency conducts discussions during the source selection process is one of many procurement factors that is left up to the agency’s discretion. But, every so often, a decision comes along to prove that there are limits to an agency’s discretion, and in this case, the agency’s discretion overstepped its bounds with its price reasonableness decision and the unjustified decision to not perform discussions.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
An agency providing an opportunity to substantially revise a proposal can seem too good to be true. And sometimes, it is. It is a fundamental principle of procurement law that offerors must be treated equally. When one offeror is given an opportunity to “fix” the deficiencies in its proposal, but the other offeror is not, that is fundamentally unfair.
As one offeror found out, despite submitting everything to the agency as it was asked, GAO still sustained the protest.Continue reading
Agencies commonly ask offerors to designate a point of contact for communications about the proposal. But what happens if the person the offeror identifies is unavailable when the agency reaches out?
A recent GAO bid protest decision is a cautionary tale and suggests some best practices for offerors.Continue reading