Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Concepts & Strategies, Inc.
Agency: General Services Administration
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Agency reasonably assigned awardee’s proposal a rating of high confidence under the technical capability factor where awardee proposed to meet the solicitation’s security clearance requirements by offering to employ incumbent personnel or, alternatively, to staff the contract using non-incumbent personnel that were eligible for security clearances.
- Agency reasonably assigned protester’s proposal a rating of significant confidence, rather than high confidence, under the technical capability factor where protester’s proposal failed to provide sufficient detail regarding its proposed approach to performing contract requirements.
- Agency reasonably assigned protester’s proposal a rating of significant confidence, rather than high confidence, under the past performance evaluation factor where protester successfully performed the prior contract’s requirements but nonetheless, fell short of agency expectations
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Concepts & Strategies, Inc. (ConStrat) protested the award of a contract to provide information and media support services to CACI, Inc.-Federal, challenging the GSA’s evaluation of CACI’s and ConStrat’s proposals with regard to technical capability and past performance. It argued that the solicitation required that contractors possess TS/SCI “prior to contract award,” and, as SCI clearances are issued on a “contract specific” basis, therefore permitted only a proposal of incumbent personnel.
The GAO first rejected ConStrat’s interpretation of the solicitation, noting that the agency had clarified the solicitation as only requiring that personnel be “SCI eligible” at the time of award and that ConStrat’s interpretation would unreasonably restrict competition. It noted that CACI’s proposal stated an intent to hire all incumbent personnel, and therefore the agency’s assignment of high confidence to CACI’s proposal was reasonable.
The GAO also rejected ConStrat’s argument that as the incumbent successfully performing the same effort and requirements, it deserved a rating of high confidence under the past performance evaluation factor. It noted that the while agency indicated that ConStrat had successfully performed the incumbent contract, it “did not deliver services, put in place processes, or draw on industry best practices in such a way as to make this office significantly better.”
The holding in this case is significant to all contractors seeking the award of contracts in which past performance is an evaluating factor. Satisfactory performance on past contracts is no longer sufficient to receive the highest assessment on past performance; rather, contractors are expected to “make th[e] office better.” When preparing offers, contractors should consider ways in which they can provide more than just the basic services requested, and, while actually servicing a contract, should regularly assess whether their performance is going above and beyond the bare minimum. The difference between satisfactory performance and excellence may be critical to receiving the highest assessment on past performance, and could be the deciding factor in whether a contract is awarded.