Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protests denied.
Keywords: Technical Evaluation
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: A solicitation must inform offerors of the basis for proposal evaluation, and the evaluation must be based on the factors and significant subfactors identified in the solicitation.
ECC-Insight, JV protests the rejection of its proposal and the award of contracts to six other firms under a request for proposals (RFP), issued by the Department of the Navy, for environmental remediation services.
The RFP provided for the award of multiple, fixed-price indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity (ID/IQ) contracts for environmental restoration services at contaminated sites located at Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, and other government agency installations, and would include sites on the Superfund National Priority List.
With respect to the technical approach factor, the RFP identified a number of areas that the agency would evaluate to assess the viability of an offeror’s proposed approach to performing the task order, including the proposal’s “technical approach breakdown.” The RFP required proposals to include an Excel Spreadsheet, at a level of detail sufficient to validate the contractor’s understanding of this technical requirement.
ECC-Insight’s technical proposal was evaluated as having a deficiency under the technical approach factor that caused the firm’s proposal to be assessed as marginal overall. Specifically, the agency found under this factor that ECC-Insight had proposed too few labor hours to accomplish the approach described in its proposal for TO 0001. Because, as provided for by the RFP, the agency decided to make awards without conducting discussions, the protester’s proposal was rejected as unacceptable.
ECC-Insight asserts that the Navy did not evaluate its proposal in accordance with the stated evaluation criteria. Specifically, the protester argues the RFP did not provide for the evaluation of the firm’s proposed level of effort under the technical approach factor. GAO states that in reviewing protests challenging the evaluation of proposals, GAO does not conduct a new evaluation or substitute our judgment for that of the agency but examine the record to determine whether the agency’s judgment was reasonable and in accord with the RFP evaluation criteria. In this regard, a solicitation must inform offerors of the basis for proposal evaluation, and the evaluation must be based on the factors and significant subfactors identified in the solicitation.
Here, the solicitation specifically informed offerors that the agency would evaluate their technical approach breakdown under the technical approach factor. The solicitation also specifically informed offerors that the information submitted under section L of the solicitation would be used to evaluate the offeror’s technical approach under the evaluation factor. Although the RFP did not further define technical approach breakdown under the section M evaluation factors, offerors were instructed under section L to provide their level of effort under this factor and that the offerors’ submissions should be sufficiently detailed to validate their understanding of the technical requirements. Furthermore, the RFP specifically stated that the information would be evaluated. In sum, GAO finds that the agency’s consideration of ECC-Insight’s level of effort under the technical approach factor was in accord with the solicitation’s stated criteria. The protest is denied.