Government Contracts Protests of Cost, Technical, and Experience Evaluations Sustained
Friday, March 20, 2020

Protests of Cost, Technical, and Experience Evaluations Sustained

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

A protest of a cost realism evaluation was sustained because the analyses of the awardee’s proposed direct labor rates and level of effort were unreasonable. The task order request for proposals for Medicare beneficiary oversight and claim review services instructed offerors to submit proposed costs for 21 specific activities, including 17 activities involving non-review work. The TORP also stated the government would evaluate “the extent to which the [o]fferor’s … anticipated level of effort for all positions aligns with [statement of work] requirements …” and perform a cost realism analysis that included a determination as to whether the estimated proposed cost elements were realistic for the work to be performed. However, nothing in the contemporaneous evaluation record indicated the government evaluated the realism of the awardee’s proposed direct labor rates. The government cited a cost analysis conducted by the contracting specialist, but the analysis only focused on the reasonableness of the rates and did not consider whether the awardee’s proposed labor rates were too low. Further, there was no indication the government meaningfully considered whether the awardee’s proposed costs for the non-review work were realistic. The record was devoid of any substantive discussion of how or why the awardee’s proposed hours for this work represented the likely effort required for non-review activities.

Findings Not Documented. The Comptroller General also sustained the protest of the technical and experience evaluations. The TORP provided an estimated number of claim reviews and level of effort per review for offerors to use as a baseline in their proposals and stated “[a]ny deviations … should be explained … [and] properly justified within the business proposal narrative.” The awardee utilized its recent experience performing similar reviews to propose fewer hours per review than estimated in the TORP, and the technical and cost evaluation accepted the awardee’s deviation from the baseline as sufficiently justified. However, the government acknowledged “significant differences” between the claim reviews the awardee performed and those contemplated by the TORP, and the record did not provide enough information to conclude the government reasonably determined the awardee’s proposed deviations were reasonable. Finally, the TORP’s experience factor required offerors to submit detailed information on at least three projects and “demonstrate how the projects [were] similar in size, scope and complexity.” The awardee was rated “very good” under the experience factor, but nothing in the record sufficiently explained the relevance of the size, scope, and complexity of the awardee’s proposed projects as compared to the work to be performed under the TORP. The Comptroller General recommended the government reevaluate the realism of the offerors’ proposed costs and technical proposals and make a new source selection decision. (Ohio KePRO, Inc., 35 CGEN ¶116,714)

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