GAO: Agency Could Disclose Incumbent’s Staffing Numbers

In a solicitation seeking the award of a follow-on services contract, a procuring agency could validly disclose the number of incumbent personnel performing a particular function.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that this information was not proprietary or confidential to the incumbent, and that the incumbent was not competitively harmed by the release of the information.

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GAO: “Mechanical” Cost Realism Evaluation Was Improper

An agency’s cost realism evaluation was improper because the agency “mechanically” compared an offeror’s proposed staffing to an undisclosed government estimate.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that it was improper for the agency to apply its own estimates for labor hours and costs without considering the protester’s unique technical approach.

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Discussions: “Significant Weakness” Terminology Not Required

In discussions, a procuring agency is not required to explicitly inform an offeror that its proposal contains a significant weakness, so long as the agency sufficiently identifies the area of concern.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the agency had adequately informed the offeror of the agency’s concerns, even though the agency did not specifically identify those concerns as a “significant weakness.”

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GAO: Agency Evaluators Improperly Relied Upon Undisclosed Staffing Estimate

“I’m thinking of a number between one and ten–can you guess what it is?”

It sounds like the beginning of an amateur magic trick, or perhaps a segment on the ever-popular Colbert Report.  But in a recent GAO bid protest decision, the stakes of the guessing game were a lot higher.  In that case, the agency developed an internal estimate of the staffing needed to successfully complete the contract work, but did not disclose the estimate to offerors–then downgraded two offerors for failing to “guess” the same staffing numbers as the agency.

Unfortunately for the agency, the GAO refused to play along.

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GAO: Agency Improperly Adjusted Contractor’s Proposed Level of Effort

In today’s tight budgetary climate, performance-based acquisitions and similar techniques to maximize efficiency seem to be on the rise.  Performance-based acquisitions can offer unique opportunities for contractors to develop innovative approaches to meet an agency’s needs while minimizing costs.

In a recent GAO bid protest decision, one offeror proposed fewer labor hours–and a different labor mix–than the awardee, resulting in a lower overall price.  Nevertheless, without explanation, the procuring agency in question unilaterally raised the offeror’s labor hours to match the hours proposed by the awardee, resulting in a corresponding increase in evaluated price.  The GAO was none too pleased with the agency’s action, sustaining the offeror’s bid protest.

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