Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: NAS/CORP-TELMAH, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Navy
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Cancellation of solicitation in negotiated procurement is unobjectionable where agency’s changed requirements, including changed evaluation scheme, provided a reasonable basis for the cancellation
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
NAS/CORP-TELMAH, Inc. protested the cancellation of an RFQ issued for a microscope on a brand name or equal basis. NAS/CORP first protested to the Navy when the contract was awarded for a brand name microscope to Metro Medical, arguing that NAS/CORP offered an equal microscope at a lower price. In response, the Navy cancelled the solicitation, and NAS/CORP protested to the GAO.
The Navy argued that it was necessary to cancel the solicitation because the basis of award set forth in the solicitation did not reflect the agency’s intended procurement approach. It explained that it intended to conduct the procurement on a pass/fail basis, but that the language in the RFQ indicated that it would be awarded on the basis of best value to the government. The GAO found that the Navy had a reasonable basis to cancel the solicitation, as vendors need to be advised on which their offers will be evaluated.
While NAS/CORP was unsuccessful in its protest to the GAO, this case still serves to highlight the need to pay particular attention to the agency’s criteria for evaluating offers. Although NAS/CORP was not ultimately awarded the contract as a result of its protest, it was correct in its complaint to the Navy that its offer had provided the best value to the government according to the terms of the RFQ and it should therefore have been awarded the contract. Here the Navy chose to cancel the solicitation, but in other situations the agency could take corrective action in a manner that rewards the protestor. Unsuccessful offerors should always carefully review the solicitation post-award to ensure that the agency followed the criteria provided.