Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protest denied.
Protest challenging agency’s evaluation of protester’s proposal is denied where the record establishes that the evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the solicitation’s evaluation criteria.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
PPI primarily protests the agency’s evaluation of its proposal under the quality and past performance evaluation factor. With respect to the lack of detail regarding its quality control plan, PPI contends that, since its proposal submission was already lengthy and the firm believed that simply demonstrating that it possessed accreditation for its prosthetic work would establish that it has a quality control program, it did not provide a copy of its quality control and quality improvement procedures in its proposal. PPI also questions the evaluator’s consideration of the firm’s principal’s perceived demeanor with contracting personnel and his past legal affairs, which resulted in termination of PPI’s prior contract for the same services. GAO states that in reviewing protests of alleged improper evaluations and source selections, GAO examines the record to determine whether the agency’s judgment was reasonable and in accord with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement laws. It is an offeror’s responsibility to submit a well-written proposal, with adequately detailed information which clearly demonstrates compliance with the solicitation and allows a meaningful review by the procuring agency. In this regard, an offeror must affirmatively demonstrate the merits of its proposal and risks the rejection of its proposal if it fails to do so. A protester’s mere disagreement with the agency’s evaluation provides no basis to question the reasonableness of the evaluators’ judgments.
GAO finds that the record shows that the agency’s concern about the lack of information in PPI’s proposal regarding its planned quality control/quality improvement program was reasonable and supports the rating given to the proposal under the quality and past performance evaluation factor. First, the RFP required a synopsis from each offeror explaining the firm’s planned procedures for quality control and quality improvement. Since the RFP explicitly required a description of the offeror’s quality control program, the protester’s suggestion that its accreditation alone adequately showed that it has such a program is unpersuasive. Second, while PPI’s proposal very generally mentions tools the firm may use in the area of quality control (such as brochures, meetings, checklists, surveys, and telephone calls), and it is clear the proposal received some credit for its response, without more detail–describing, for example, how these tools will be used, who has responsibility for them, or what information will be asked of or shared with patients or personnel–we see no basis in the record to conclude that PPI’s proposal warranted additional evaluation credit under this factor. The protester provides no support for questioning the evaluator’s consideration of PPI’s owner’s contacts with VA personnel, or the agency’s consideration of PPI’s prior terminated contract for the same work. The evaluation factor at issue encompassed consideration of past performance, making working relationships and termination of a prior relevant contract reasonable matters for review. Thus, GAO cannot find unreasonable the agency’s consideration of the information and its resulting reflection in PPI’s score. The protest is denied.