Government Contracts Solicitation Didn’t Sufficiently Differentiate “Above-Baseline” Work
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Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Solicitation Didn’t Sufficiently Differentiate “Above-Baseline” Work

By Government Contracts Editorial Staff

Protests of the terms of a fair opportunity proposal request were sustained because the solicitation did not adequately detail the scope and boundaries of the requested services. The solicitation for information technology support services anticipated the award of a hybrid task order with both fixed-price and time-and-material elements. Support for the government’s baseline operations was an FP requirement, while “above-baseline” support was a T&M requirement. In addition, a performance work statement set forth the tasks and subtasks associated with the requirement, and a solicitation amendment provided offerors with a “notional labor mix” containing the government’s estimate of the overall FP and T&M portions of the effort broken down by labor category. According to the protesters, the solicitation, PWS, and notional labor mix did not provide enough information for offerors to adequately understand the required level of effort and the apportionment between FP and T&M areas.

No Common Basis to Compete. The Comptroller General agreed. The government viewed the work to include elements beyond maintaining the current level of operations, such as “emerging/evolving mission requirements.” It provided the total combined staffing associated with these elements (41 full-time equivalents), but it did not provide enough detail for offerors to account for these elements in their proposed staffing. This was particularly problematic because the solicitation required offerors to identify their staffing for distinct tasks and subtasks. Given the “seemingly unbounded and amorphous scope” of what constituted an FP change to the mission requirements relative to a T&M change, the government did not provide enough information for offerors to propose staffing intelligently. An offeror trying to propose task- or subtask-specific staffing would not know, with any level of meaningful detail, which types of mission requirement changes the government was anticipating, what those changes might entail, and whether they would qualify as “baseline” changes. Without more detail regarding changes beyond the current operations level, offerors could not compete on a common basis. The Comptroller General recommended the government revise the solicitation to provide an adequate description of its expectations regarding changes above those needed to maintain the current operations level. (ASRC Federal Data Network Technologies, LLC, et al., 35 CGEN ¶116,812)

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