Polaris GWAC: GSA Issues Draft RFP Sections

GSA has been hard at work on the Polaris solicitation. The goal: provide federal agencies with information technology services from qualified small businesses. GSA recently released the updated draft versions of the submission instructions and evaluation criteria for Polaris. Like CIO-SP4, which we blogged on in detail, Polaris is going to be of interest to many small business IT contractors. So, here are a few highlights from the draft sections.

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CIO-SP4 Amendment 9, a Last Minute Stay

With less than 24 hours left until proposals were due, NIH released Amendment 9, staying the proposal deadline until August 20, 2021 at Noon Eastern. Amendment 9 says it changes very little, but the innocuous cover letter belies a major change to evaluations for Other Than Small and Emerging Large Businesses (OTSBs and ELBs).

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CIO-SP4: Large Mentors Now Get More Credit

I wrote earlier about the restriction on the number of experience examples a large business mentor can provide. Well, NITAAC has listened! OK, they probably weren’t listening directly to me, but let me have this one, alright. CIO-SP4 has been amended to allow large business mentors to contribute two examples of corporate experience per task area.

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CIO-SP4: Is it Limiting Mentor Experience Too Much?

The CIO-SP4 is a big deal for many small and large federal contractors. And lately it’s been a bit of a moving target as to how NITAAC will evaluate the experience of companies working together in prime-sub, mentor-protégé, and joint-venture relationships. We wrote about some of the issues with past performance and other recent changes. One change that caught my eye puts a restriction on the number of experience examples a large business mentor can provide. But should it?

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The CIO-SP4 RFP Allows Broad Past Performance Information–But Does It Go Too Far?

One of my major concerns with the draft solicitation for the CIO-SP4 GWAC was the limited nature of the past performance NITAAC intended to consider. Under the draft RFP, NITAAC would not have considered the past performance of subcontractors–something I believed violated 13 C.F.R. 125.2(g) in certain cases, and was contrary to the guidance of FAR 15.305(a)(2)(iii), which says that agencies “should” consider the past performance of “subcontractors that will perform major or critical aspects of the requirement.”

The good news is that the final CIO-SP4 RFP fixes this problem. That’s a relief for a lot of potential offerors. But now I’m concerned that NITAAC went too far in the other direction!

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GAO: Solicitation Cannot Require a Protégé Have the Same Experience as its Mentor

SBA regulations prohibit agencies from requiring the same past performance record from both mentor and protégé entities.  The regulations explicitly prohibit this type of requirement.

In a recent GAO decision, it sustained the protest where an agency required all members in a joint venture to submit the same past experience examples in their proposal.

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