Source selection decisions are often a point of contention for federal government contractors, and rightfully so. Contractors spend large amounts of time and resources putting together a bid in a competition that likely doesn’t have room to make an award to each bidder. This usually results in one or more awardees, as well as one or more disappointed bidders. Naturally, those disappointed bidders often question whether the agency’s source selection decision, and its method for getting there, was appropriate. Unfortunately, the only way of truly discerning whether that decision was correct is to spend more time and resources protesting the decision. With a 51% effectiveness rate in 2022 (counting sustains and corrective actions), according to GAO’s annual bid protest report, it can be difficult to determine whether to even go forward with a protest when things don’t seem to add up. But, as a recent protest demonstrates, agencies make mistakes, and in this case, the fatal flaw was failure to adequately document its decision.Continue reading
In a recent decision, GAO sustained a protest arguing that the agency had actually converted a best-value tradeoff procurement into a lowest-priced, technically acceptable competition. GAO held that the agency had not properly followed the evaluation criteria.Continue reading
Agencies often find unanticipated, innovative content in offerors’ proposals. And unsurprisingly, those proposals are often the ones selected for award. But a recent GAO decision reminds us that all strengths an agency assigns must be supported by the stated evaluation criteria.
In other words, the solicitation must thoroughly inform offerors of these evaluation criteria, and the agency must equally evaluate offerors under them. An offeror’s proposal should not get extra credit for proposing things that are not anticipated by or logically encompassed in the solicitation.Continue reading
A solicitation’s evaluation criteria are tremendously important. Not only must offerors understand and comply with those criteria in order to have a chance at being awarded the contract, but the agency must abide by them too. Where an agency does not, it risks that a protest challenging the application of an unstated evaluation criteria will be sustained.
So it was in Phoenix Air Group, Inc., B-412796.2 et al. (Sept. 26, 2016), a recent GAO decision sustaining a protest where the protester’s proposal was unreasonably evaluated under evaluation criteria not specified in the solicitation.
An agency reasonably considered the quantity of offerors’ relevant past performance, even though the solicitation only stated that the relevance and quality of past performance would be considered.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the quantity of an offeror’s past performance is logically encompassed within a review of the quality of past performance, and need not be separately identified as an area of evaluation.
A SDVOSB was improperly downgraded for not identifying its subcontractors in its proposal, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.
In Coburn Contractors, LLC, B-408279.2 (Sept. 30, 2013), the GAO held that the VA improperly applied an unstated evaluation criterion by requiring that the protester identify its subcontractors, because according to the solicitation, a subcontractor list was only required at the task order level.
A procuring agency appropriately considered the size of offerors’ past performance projects in evaluating proposals, even though project size was not expressly stated as an evaluation factor.
According to a recent GAO bid protest decision, contractors should assume that project size may be considered whenever past performance is evaluated, because size bears on the relevancy of a past performance project.