Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Software Engineering Services Corporation
Agency: Department of the Air Force
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Agency’s assignment of a “limited confidence” rating to the protester’s proposal under the solicitation’s past performance factor is unobjectionable where the evaluation was reasonable and consistent with the terms of the solicitation.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Software Engineering Services Corporation (SESC) protested the evaluation of its proposal and the failure of its proposal to be selected for award of a contract 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. SESC was evaluated as limited confidence under the past performance factor, and was not selected for award.
The GAO found no reason to question the reasonableness of the limited confidence past performance rating assigned to SESC’s proposal. It found that the record evidenced that the agency provided SESC with detailed discussions regarding its past performance, and had conducted a thorough and thoughtful evaluation of its proposal. The agency concluded that some of SESC’s past performance was excellent but only somewhat relevant to the RFP. The GAO rejected SESC’s objections to the differing relevancy ratings assigned by individual evaluators as compared to the consensus ratings. Finally, the GAO found that SESC’s contention that past performance questionnaires established that its past performance was relevant, noting that the questionnaires only evaluated SESC’s quality of performance on the subject contracts, and not the relevancy of the work performed to the acquisition here.
Disappointed offerors should always request a debriefing so as to better understand both the agency’s source selection process and decision, as well as gain insight that may improve proposal preparation in the future. Although å disappointed offeror may believe that the agency’s conclusions regarding the relevancy of its past performance are flawed, the offeror should carefully consider whether they merely disagree with the agency or whether the agency deviated from the terms of the RFP in performing its evaluation. If an offeror merely disagrees with an agency’s evaluation, the GAO will not sustain its protest.