Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: NSR Solutions, Inc.
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Protest that the protester is entitled to a higher past performance rating is denied where the agency’s evaluation was reasonable and in accordance with solicitation’s evaluation criteria.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
NSR Solutions, Inc. protested the award to JDD, Inc. of a contract for base-wide custodial services at Edwards Air Force Base and the Air Force Research Laboratory. The RFP, issued as a HUBZone set-aside, provided for award to the lowest-priced, technically acceptable proposal offering a past performance rating of substantial confidence. If the lowest-priced, technically acceptable proposal did not receive a substantial confidence past performance rating, the agency would continue evaluating proposals until a technically acceptable proposal received a substantial confidence rating, at which point the SSA would consider which proposal reflected the best value. Although NSR offered the lowest price, it received a past performance rating of limited confidence, and the SSA determined that JDD represented the best value to the government.
The GAO found the agency’s evaluation of NSR’s past performance to be reasonable, noting that the agency received information from questionnaire responses and Lackland AFB personnel that indicated that the joint venture between NSR and its proposed subcontractor INC had marginal or unacceptable quality control for half the contract term. Although a second questionnaire rated the joint venture’s quality control performance as satisfactory overall, that questionnaire continued to indicate the joint venture’s performance problems in specific areas. The GAO disagreed with NSR’s argument that the agency was not allowed to consider past contracts of INC which were deemed not relevant under at least one of the considerations established by the RFP for determining relevancy, pointing out that the RFP provided for an integrated assessment of a contract’s relevancy. Finally, the GAO found reasonable the agency’s determination that certain negative past performance information in one of JDD’s CPARS evaluations was not significant.
In submitting past performance, offerors should strive to include as many recent and relevant, according to the terms of the solicitation, contracts as possible. Contracts that are similar or greater in scope, magnitude, and complexity provide the greatest comparison for contracting officers when making their past performance evaluations. Offerors should pay strict attention to what the solicitation explicitly defines as very relevant, relevant, or somewhat relevant past performance. If an offeror does not have extensive very relevant experience, if the solicitation allows, offerors should seek out teaming partners which will enhance their proposals. However, offerors should not rely entirely on the strength of their subcontractors or they may be assigned a lower past performance rating.