Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: DigitalSpec, LLC
Agency: Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest challenging an agency’s evaluation and selection decision is denied, where record shows that the agency’s evaluation and selection decision were reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s evaluation factors
General Counsel PC Highlight:
DigitalSpec, LLC protested the award to Battle Resource Management, Inc. (BRMI) of a contract for enterprise architecture support services. The RFP provided for a two-phase procurement: in phase 1, technical proposals would be evaluated under the past performance and corporate experience factors, and in phase 2, offerors rated as acceptable or better would be invited to make an oral presentation, after which proposals would be evaluated under the qualification of key personnel, technical approach, and management approach factors. DigitalSpec received an acceptable/high risk rating after phase 2, and, although DitigalSpec offered a lower price, award was made to BRMI as providing the best value to the government.
The GAO found the agency’s evaluation of DigitalSpec’s proposal under the past performance factor to be reasonable, noting that two of DigitalSpec’s contracts were not of similar size and scope and that the agency was not able to obtain reference information for one of them. The GAO also did not find any basis to conclude that DigitalSpec should have received higher ratings under the technical approach and qualification of key personnel factors. Finally, the GAO found that agency’s best value tradeoff decision reasonable given the technical superiority of BRMI’s proposal.
When preparing past performance proposals, offerors should try to include as many very relevant contracts as possible. Contracts that are similar or greater in scope, magnitude, and complexity provide the greatest comparison for contracting officers when making their past performance evaluations. While teaming with a subcontractor that has very relevant past performance can boost an offeror’s overall past performance rating, if the offeror relies too greatly on their subcontractor’s experience without providing sufficient evidence of their own capability, the offeror may be rated as high risk.