Link: GAO Decision
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest Denied.
- Agency reasonably evaluated the protester’s proposal as technically unacceptable under a solicitation providing for awards to the offerors submitting the technically acceptable, best value proposals based upon the consideration of past performance and price, where the protester’s proposal failed to provide an adequate explanation regarding its approach to accomplishing certain tasks as set forth in a sample task order, and the evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s terms.
- Agency conducted meaningful discussions that were not misleading where during discussions the agency clearly notified the protester of its concerns that the protester’s proposal lacked detail with regard to its evaluated response to a sample task order.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Insignia-Spectrum, LLC protested the evaluation of its proposal as technically unacceptable, and that it failed to receive meaningful discussions, under an RFP issued by the Air Force. The RFP contemplated the award of multiple ID/IQ contracts on a best value basis using a Performance Price Tradeoff (PPT) methodology. Under the PPT method, proposals would first be evaluated for technical acceptability on a pass/fail basis, and then under the past performance factor to assess the government’s confidence in the offeror’s probability of successfully performing as proposed. Insignia-Spectrum was evaluated as technically unacceptable based upon the agency’s determination that the proposal failed to adequately demonstrate Insignia-Spectrum’s understanding of certain of the agency’s requirements as evaluated under the systems sustainment subfactor under the technical factor.
The GAO found no basis to object to the agency’s determination that Insignia-Spectrum’s response to the systems sustainment sample task order was inadequate and reflected a lack of understanding. It pointed out that the RFP required that proposals must describe methods and processes for conducting testing for the application, database and operating system that would be evaluated under the systems sustainment subfactor, and that Insignia-Spectrum had failed to do so. The GAO also declined to sustain the protest on the grounds that Insignia-Spectrum had not received meaningful discussions. It noted that the agency had clearly made the protestor aware of the agency’s concerns with Insignia-Spectrum’s methods and processes for conducting testing for the database and operating system.
If an agency elects to conduct discussions with offerors, those discussions must be meaningful, in that they lead offerors to areas of their proposals requiring amplification or revision. Offerors should carefully consider any discussion questions provided by the agency, and revise or clarify their proposals accordingly. If a disappointed offeror protests the evaluation of shortcomings to its proposal that were pointed out during discussions, the GAO is unlikely to sustain the protest absent other errors in the procurement.