Government Contracts Government Didn’t Provide Basis for Awardee’s Strengths
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Friday, May 29, 2020

Government Didn’t Provide Basis for Awardee’s Strengths

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

A technical evaluation was unreasonable because the government did not adequately explain why it assigned the awardee two strengths under the management plan and subcontract elements. The request for proposals sought support services for the Army’s Cybertropolis Technology Environment Platform. The RFP’s technical factor anticipated ratings based on strengths and deficiencies assessed under four separate elements. For the management plan element, the technical evaluators credited the awardee’s recruitment approach, citing a prior contract in which it “recruited, screened, hired and trained [within 30 days] 400 local Afghan staff who were then deployed to provinces throughout Afghanistan.” For the subcontracting element, the government determined the awardee’s proposal had advantages over the protester because the awardee proposed “to source the required personnel organically without any subcontracting support which minimizes reporting requirements for the [g]overnment.” In selecting the awardee’s $47.1 million proposal over the protester’s $44.3 million proposal, the source selection official determined the awardee’s technical approach was of equal benefit to the protester’s approach in the manpower and quality control plan elements, but superior in the subcontracting and management plan elements.

Improper Discriminators. In sustaining the protest, the Comptroller General first found the government did not document or meaningfully explain why the awardee’s recruitment experience provided an advantage over the protester’s incumbent experience and approach. The record did not indicate why the recruitment of local Afghan staff to perform an unexplained contract in Afghanistan had any bearing on the instant requirement, which sought highly-qualified cybersecurity and information technology professionals, possessing security clearances, in southern Indiana. The Comptroller General also concluded the government did not reasonably explain why the awardee’s proposal of 100 percent self-performance warranted a strength. The awardee’s proposal did not cite any efficiencies stemming from this approach. Although the SSO found the approach presented an advantage because it “minimize[d] reporting requirements for the [g]overnment,” the benefit to the government was unclear because the government would not be in privity with potential subcontractors. The Comptroller General recommended the government reevaluate the protester’s and the awardee’s proposals and make a new source selection decision. (IAP Worldwide Services, Inc., 35 CGEN ¶116,795)

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