Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Housing and Urban Development
Disposition: Protest denied.
Keywords: Proposal Detail
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: Since an agency’s evaluation is dependent on the information furnished in a proposal, it is the offeror’s responsibility to submit an adequately written proposal for the agency to evaluate.
In a request for proposals (RFP), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) sought services for a base period of one year and three one-year options for real estate property sales closing services. Award would be made based on “best value” and best value was to be determined by evaluating technical and management approach, same or similar experience, past performance, and price. The non-price factors were considered more important than price when combined.
Upon being notified that it was not selected, Resource Title Agency, Inc. (Resource) requested a debriefing. Resource filed a protest after receiving the debriefing and objected to the evaluation of proposals. Specifically, Resource’s proposal received a technically unacceptable rating and was notified that its proposal contained many weaknesses.
GAO stated that the evaluation of proposals is a matter within the discretion of the procuring agency, since the agency is responsible for defining its needs and deciding on the best methods of accommodating them. GAO will only question an agency’s technical evaluation where the record shows that the evaluation does not have a reasonable basis or is inconsistent with the RFP.
GAO examined the record and determined that the RFP required offerors to furnish specifics with regard to their plan of operations, oversight and quality control, and key personnel. Resource’s proposal was considered weak where it failed to provide a detailed discussion of its customer service goals and processes and where it failed to explain how increases in the volume of closings would be addressed.
In GAO’s review of the record, it stated that Resource’s explanation that it provided a detailed description of its customer service goals and processes by summarizing tasks that it will perform under the contract is unpersuasive where the agency was clearly asking for information regarding customer service goals and processes. It was, therefore, reasonable to conclude that Resource did not adequately address this requirement.
GAO also stated that Resource failed to describe the methodology for determining staffing levels, which Resource did not challenge. As to the arguments that Resource did not provide information on its intended software applications, failed to furnish a statement as to whether or not any key personnel were committed to another contract, and that Resource failed to make clear the monthly volume of residential closings performed, GAO stated that it was Resource’s responsibility to furnish these details in its proposal, which it failed to do. GAO denied the protest since it was not persuaded that the findings of weakness and the rating of poor under the technical/management approach factor lacked a reasonable basis.