Government Contracts RFP Allowed Competition on Intelligent and Relatively Equal Basis
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Wednesday, July 28, 2021

RFP Allowed Competition on Intelligent and Relatively Equal Basis

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

A challenge to the terms of a request for proposals was denied because there was no basis to conclude the government did not provide sufficient information to permit offerors to compete intelligently and on a relatively equal basis. The RFP sought valet parking services for the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Facility in Long Beach, California. The protester, which was the incumbent, asserted that the government improperly defined the RFP requirement by not identifying the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the government’s needs. The protester also contended that the government misled offerors by providing incorrect specifications, estimated quantities, and expected levels of service, which resulted in a latent ambiguity and led to the exclusion of four of the five offerors for proposing prices exceeding the available funding limit. The government responded that the RFP properly reflected its changed needs and advised offerors that the level of services required might fluctuate over time.

Contemporaneous Determinations. The Comptroller General denied the protest, finding the government properly defined the requirement and contemporaneously considered the implications of the pandemic on its needs. In response to questions from potential offerors, the government provided historical data regarding its daily pre-pandemic needs and contrasted them with the current level of services required during the pandemic. It also estimated that the volume of traffic to the emergency department would increase during the pandemic. Further, the government did not provide misleading information. The RFP specified the services and quantities offerors were instructed to price, and the government included additional information in an RFP amendment regarding historical daily vehicle counts for patients using valet parking services. Finally, the protester failed to point to any specific solicitation language that was ambiguous. (VetPride Services, Inc., 36 CGEN ¶117,287)

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