Link: GAO Opinion
Agencies: Department of Homeland Security
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Price realism evaluation
The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a request for proposals for the intensive supervision appearance program, a contract that was awarded to BI Incorporated. The request established four evaluation factors; technical, past performance, E-Verify, and price, with the technical and past performance factors having equal importance and both being more important than the E-Verify factor. After conducting an evaluation, the ICE source selection authority determined that BI’s proposal was both technically superior and lower priced than the proposals of the other offerors. G4S protested this decision on a number of different grounds: ICE’s price realism analysis of BI’s proposal was flawed, ICE’s evaluation of offerors’ proposals as to the staffing and operations plan sub-factors was improper, and ICE’s evaluation of offerors’ past performance was unreasonable.
G4S contended that because BI’s price was significantly below both the independent government estimate and the price of the other offerors it reflected an inadequate understanding of the work requirements and/or posed a high performance risk. But, the GAO found that ICE’s price realism analysis of BI’s proposal was unobjectionable. The record established that ICE performed various analyses regarding BI’s price realism and proposal risk, in particular, an analysis of BI’s field office staffing ratios, BI’s use of different staffing ratios for different types of cases, and the comparison of BI’s staffing ratios to the current ISAP program staffing ratios, as well as the comparison of BI’s unit, contract line items (CLIN), and overall prices to those of the other offerors. Based on these factors, the staffing estimates were reasonable and the corresponding prices were realistic.
The GAO then evaluated G4S’s next challenge regarding ICE’s evaluation of its proposal under the staffing and operations plan sub-factors. The GAO denied this ground, finding the complaint to be nothing more than a mere disagreement with an agency’s evaluation, which is not sufficient to render the evaluation unreasonable.
And finally, the GAO considered G4S’s challenge of its past performance evaluation by ICE. GAO noted that a protester must show actual prejudice arising from the basis of its protest. GAO found that, even if G4S prevailed on this ground, they would not have received a higher performance rating than BI. Thus, GAO determined that ICE’s evaluation was proper, and that at best, even if all errors as alleged by G4S were true, that there would be technical parity between the two proposals, and that BI’s would still remain the lower-priced and would remain in line for award.