Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: SOURCECORP BPS, Inc.
Agency: Department of Homeland Security
Disposition: Protest Denied.
Challenge to the elimination of the protester’s quotation from the competition is denied where the agency reasonably concluded that the quotation was technically unacceptable.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
SOURCECORP BPS, Inc. protested the elimination of its quotation from the competitive range under an RFQ for digitization services. After initial evaluations, the CO found that SOURCECORP’s quotation contained a deficiency and several weaknesses, and was unacceptable under both the operational approach and management approach subfactors, leading to an overall rating of unacceptable. The CO concluded that its quote would require a major revision to be competitive even considering its price, and therefore eliminated it from the competition.
The GAO found reasonable the assessment of a deficiency for failure to demonstrate a contingency plan. It agreed with the agency that SOURCECORP’s contingency plan was generic in nature, and did not discuss a specific approach with regard to the PWS requirements. The GAO then found no basis to sustain SOURCECORP’s protest with regards to its unacceptable rating under the operational approach subfactor. It found reasonable the agency’s reliance on the plain language of the protestor’s quote, which clearly indicated that performance would take place at multiple facilities without providing sufficient information to ensure that separation of operations could be accomplished. The GAO also agreed with weaknesses assigned for failure to provide any architectural design describing SOURCECORP’s plan to connect two tracking systems, as well as failure to identify a shipping method for records. Finally, the GAO disagreed that the agency failed to consider price when elimination SOURCECORP, noting that price was the least important factor, and found that the agency had no obligation to conduct discussions with SOURCECORP.
Vendors bear the burden of submitting adequately written quotations. Failure to fully address each requirement of the solicitation may result in the assessment of weaknesses or deficiencies which the agency has no obligation to correct through discussions. If a vendor quotes a technical solution that differs from that requested by the agency, the vendor must ensure that it provides detailed descriptions of its plan, including any necessary architectural diagrams, so that the agency can determine whether that alternative technical solution will satisfy its needs.