Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: FedBizOpps; failure to solicit incumbent contractor
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: GAO will not sustain a protest challenging an agency’s failure to solicit a successfully performing incumbent unless the record shows that adequate competition resulting in reasonable prices was not achieved, or there is conclusive evidence that the agency deliberately excluded an incumbent from the competition.
Bestcare, Inc. (Bestcare), an incumbent contractor providing home healthcare for the VA, protests the award of contracts by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), claiming that the VA intentionally failed to notify it of the VA’s solicitation of the follow-on contract. Bestcare admits that the VA published the Request for Proposals (RFP) in FedBizOpps in a timely fashion.
GAO states that it will not sustain a protest challenging an agency’s failure to solicit a successfully performing incumbent unless the record shows that adequate competition resulting in reasonable prices was not achieved, or there is conclusive evidence that the agency deliberately excluded an incumbent from the competition. Here, the VA received 12 proposals in response to the published RFP, which the GAO says is more than sufficient to achieve adequate competition and to support a finding of price reasonableness.
Bestcare also argues that it was improperly excluded because the RFP was not available through the VA website and it had not been notified by the VA of the RFP publication in FedBizOpps, which it describes as “an outlet which is rarely, if ever, used for public bidding.” In its decision denying the protest, GAO notes that FedBizOpps is “the currently designated Governmentwide Point of Entry (GPE), ‘the single point where Government business opportunities greater than $25,000, including synopses of proposed contract actions, solicitations, and associated information, can be accessed electronically by the public.’ FAR § 2.101.” Wherever agencies are required to publicize notice of a proposed contract action, they must transmit a notice of that action to the GPE. Beyond these requirements, there are no further requirements to individually notify potential offerors, or to post notice of a contract action on an agency’s own website. The protest is denied.