Subcontractor Experience Irrelevant Where Subcontractor Won’t Perform Similar Tasks, Says GAO

Prime and subcontractor teaming is a common way for contractors to leverage the experience of the team’s anticipated subcontractors to make proposals more attractive to federal clients, particularly when past performance is a substantial evaluation consideration.

This approach, however, recently ran into a snag when the proposed subcontractor was not going to perform the discrete work areas that its past performance experience supported, which lowered the past performance score of the bid. In the resulting protest, GAO concluded the agency got the evaluation right, and was not required to credit all of the subcontractor’s experience.

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GAO Report Considers Options to Increase “Mid-Sized” Business Opportunities

Earlier this month, GAO produced an over 50-page report, presenting a discussion on options for increasing business opportunities for “mid-sized” businesses. It can be tough to go from being a small business to competing with all large businesses, so GAO took a look at these small-ish large businesses.

We know SmallGovCon readers are busy, so we’ll provide the CliffNotes version.

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GAO to Agency: Offerors are More than Just a CPARS-Generated Rating Percentage

GAO recently sustained protest to an agency’s FAR Part 13 procurement that relied exclusively on CPARS-generated assessment chart rating percentages to evaluate vendors’ past performance. The agency’s goal was to “maximize competition” by considering all past work, rather than just relevant work.

While there is no FAR Part 13 regulatory prohibition on doing so, GAO found the CPARS charts incomplete and misleading and the evaluation inconsistent with the terms of the solicitation.

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PPQs Submitted Late? “No Problem,” Says GAO–At Least In One Case

While being fashionably late to a party may give the impression that one is a busy and popular person that was held up with other business, being fashionably late in federal contracting will typically have dire consequences.

However, a recent GAO bid protest decision demonstrates that when providing completed past performance questionnaires, or PPQs, being fashionably late may be acceptable – at least when the references were submitted directly by government officials, rather than the offeror.

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GAO: Agencies May Consider Outside Past Performance Information

When an agency requests that offerors provide past performance references, the agency ordinarily is not precluded from considering outside past performance information.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO confirmed that an agency’s past performance evaluation may include information outside the past performance references submitted by the offeror–and the agency can use any negative past performance information to downgrade the offeror’s score.

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