Veterans of the bid protest process know that it’s not uncommon for a protester to make half a dozen arguments and prevail on only one.
Know what that’s called? A win. But when a protester goes seven for seven, you have to tip your cap.
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.
An unequal evaluation can get an agency into hot water and force a reevaluation, as GAO has stated before. But with agencies entitled to broad discretion in their evaluations, how do you know what constitutes unequal evaluation?
Some GAO opinions can leave you wondering where the line is drawn, but a recent GAO decision provides an easy-to-understand example involving a requirement to train personnel under certain regulations. In that case, the GAO held that it was improper for the agency to assign a weakness to the protester for omitting a discussion of certain regulations as applied to its training program, while failing to assign weaknesses to several awardees whose proposals also omitted this discussion.
In a best value acquisition, the final decision is typically made by a Source Selection Authority. But what happens when the SSA disagrees with the ratings assigned by the evaluators, such as a Source Selection Evaluation Board?
The SSA has a good deal of discretion, but that discretion isn’t unlimited. In a recent decision, GAO sustained a protest where the SSA’s disagreements with the SSEB didn’t appear to be reasonable.
A contractor’s proposal to use an unavailable employee to fill a key personnel position caused the GAO to sustain a competitor’s protest.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO concluded that a offeror failed to satisfy a material solicitation requirement concerning key personnel where the employee included in the proposal left the offeror’s employment–and the agency knew that the employee was not available to perform the contract.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that an agency did not fail to provide an offeror with meaningful discussions about an evaluated weakness in the offeror’s staffing approach because the aspect of the staffing plan deemed to be a weakness was introduced in the offeror’s final proposal revision, or FPR.
A contractor was awarded an “Excellent” past performance score despite submitting only three past performance references, not the five past performance references required by the solicitation.
Although one might think that a contractor would be penalized for failing to satisfy such a requirement, the GAO held that the procuring agency properly gave the contractor in question a high past performance score, based on the three submitted references and past performance information obtained from other sources.