Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Defense Information Systems Agency
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Proposal evaluation
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: In reviewing a protest against an agency’s evaluation, GAO will not reevaluate proposals but instead will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s judgment was reasonable and consistent with the stated criteria and applicable procurement statutes and regulations.
Effective Shareholder Solutions, Inc. (ESS) protests the evaluation of proposals and award of a contract by the Defense Information Systems Agency, Defense Information Technology Contracting Organization (DITCO), under a request for proposals (RFP).
The RFP anticipated award of a single five-year indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity fixed-price contract with a minimum ordering value of $100,000. Award would be made to the offeror whose proposal represented the best value to the government considering: (1) technical/management approach; (2) past performance; and (3) cost/price.
ESS was not awarded the contract, but was given a debriefing, including specific strengths and weaknesses. ESS filed an initial protest, but the agency announced that it was taking corrective action, including amending the solicitation to revise evaluation criteria, requesting revised proposals, conducting discussions, and making a new source selection decision. New proposals were received and evaluated and ESS was not selected.
ESS alleges that the agency improperly evaluated the revised proposals. GAO states that agencies are required to identify the bases upon which offerors’ proposals will be evaluated and to evaluate proposals in accordance with the stated evaluation criteria. In reviewing a protest against an agency’s evaluation, GAO will not reevaluate proposals but instead will examine the record to determine whether the agency’s judgment was reasonable and consistent with the stated criteria and applicable procurement statutes and regulations.
The RFP called for offerors to demonstrate recent experience with DoD charge card programs and GAO thinks that the agency properly took into account the protester’s admitted lack of DoD-related experience in its evaluation of the protester’s proposal. To the extent that the protester argues that the RFP should not have called for offerors to demonstrate DoD-specific experience, the protest is an untimely challenge to the terms of the RFP. ESS knew or should have known that the agency planned to evaluate proposals based on an offeror’s experience with DoD charge card program, when ESS received the amended RFP. Under Bid Protest Regulations, to be timely, any challenge to the evaluation scheme had to be filed before the time set for receipt of revised proposals by the RFP amendment. The record indicates that when ESS received this amendment, it already knew certain facts about the initial evaluation of its proposal. In this regard, ESS knew that the agency considered its lack of any direct experience supporting DoD charge card operations to be a weakness under the technical/management approach factor and the past performance factor.
ESS next contends that the color scheme for evaluating proposals was not “an objective rating system.” Since the amendment fully disclosed the color scheme and risk assessment ratings that would be used to evaluate proposals, the protester also was required to raise this issue prior to the time set for receipt of revised proposals.
ESS asserts that the agency exhibited bias in favor of the awardee, but fails to point to anything in the record in support of this allegation.
Finally, ESS questions the blue/low risk rating assigned to the awardee’s proposal under the ability to retain personnel subfactor of past performance on the basis that the awardee had no prior experience with its subcontractor. GAO states that this allegation is too speculative to state a sufficient legal or factual basis for protest.
In sum, GAO finds that the agency’s evaluation of revised proposals was reasonable and consistent with the RFP and there is no basis to question the agency’s selection. The protest is denied.