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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2021 GAO Bid Protest Report Reveals Nearly Half of Protests are Successful

GAO has released its annual bid protest report. Along with mashed potatoes and stuffing, it’s one of our favorite holiday traditions at SmallGovCon. This report came over a month earlier than last year, making this more of a Thanksgiving treat than Christmas this year.

A couple key takeaways are (1) the key effectiveness metric, showing numbers of sustains and corrective actions at GAO, was 48% for the 2021 fiscal year and (2) total bid protest numbers are down slightly, continuing a trend from the last few years.

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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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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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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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Five Things You Should Know: GAO Bid Protest Interventions

Intervening in a GAO bid protest can be an important way to protect a federal contractor’s award. But when can you and should you intervene? Here’s how this might come up. As a federal contractor, you work hard to submit the best proposal you can, and then find out you win the award. A few days after, you find out you’ve been protested as part of a GAO bid protest. What are your options for responding to such a protest? Below, I’ll discuss the five things you should know about intervening in a GAO bid protest.

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Agency Properly Awarded Contract to Company with Nine Negative CPARs

Among some contractors, it’s taken as an article of faith that even a single negative Contractor Performance Assessment Report will effectively preclude the contractor from winning new government work.

While it’s undoubtedly true, in my opinion, that some Contracting Officers place too much emphasis on a single less-than-perfect CPAR, it’s also true that a contractor with multiple negative CPARs can still win government contracts, so long as the government reasonably believes that the contractor can successfully perform the new work. Case in point: a recent GAO bid protest decision upholding an award to a company with nine (count ’em!) recent, relevant and negative CPARs.

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