GAO protests based on errors in government’s technical evaluation criteria of contractor proposals are very common. In order to prevail in a bid protest, a bid protest lawyer will have to show that the agency’s actions were unreasonable.
Common approaches to challenging government contracting agencies’ technical evaluation criteria can range from an unreasonable, unequal, and inadequately documented technical evaluation to source selection teams applying more lenient standards to other proposals.
Using improper technical evaluation criteria can also occur due to the Agency’s failure to evaluate the technical proposal by the RFP’s technical proposal evaluation criteria; factual and mathematical errors in the interpretation of the proposals; or conducting improper discussions.
When conducting evaluations of contractor proposals the agency should do so in accordance with the RFP’s technical evaluation directions, show meaningful evaluation of proposals and document its analysis of weaknesses and risks in several areas.
This typically means first comparing the proposal with the Solicitation’s criteria and at the trade-off point if there are risks in the various proposals.
What Technical Evaluation Criteria Should a Contractor Proposal Include?
The key to submitting sound technical proposals is to gain more strengths than weakness. In addition, if you are fortunate enough to get a significant amount of strengths in your proposal, you may be able to get the award based upon a higher price.
- The Agency can justify awarding to a higher priced contractor proposal if using its technical evaluation criteria shows that your proposal is stronger than your competition.
- Innovative solutions that can solve the government’s problem.
- Show the government that you can recruit and keep qualified staff.
- One of the major landmines that can be found in your evaluation is to not give details about your recruiting ability.
- Do not simply say that you will hire incumbent personnel.
To improve your scores based on the government’s technical proposal evaluation criteria, you should at least discuss given the incumbent employees right of first refusal. Then discuss how you plan on recruiting them. You will get low points if you do.
Make sure that your quality control measures explain how you plan on preventing disasters from occurring. Some government contracting agencies may choose to assign you a weakness for not adequately explaining quality control measures in your technical proposal. The government wins in bid protests simply because they will be complying with the stated RFP criteria.
GAO Protest and Agency Technical Evaluation Criteria Errors
Oftentimes, agencies may go through several rounds of evaluations per its technical proposal evaluation scheme. Although the solicitation does not have to give the public every single detail about source selection plan, the agency must still document how it resolved any problems seen with your technical evaluation. In a protest, this means showing compliance with the technical evaluation criteria in the RFP.
GAO’s authority in a protest for improper technical proposal evaluation criteria: Your technical bid evaluation is a matter within the agency’s discretion. In reviewing a GAO protest of an agency’s evaluation of proposals, GAO will only look at the record to decide whether the agency’s judgment was reasonable and consistent with the stated evaluation criteria and applicable procurement statutes and regulations.
Common areas of improper agency contractor technical proposals: GAO protests have often been sustained where the contracting agency did not properly analyze the technical proposal evaluation criteria in accordance with the stated solicitation criteria. This includes improper evaluations of:
- Proposed staffing
- Resumes of key staff
- Ability to recruit people
- Approaches to PWS requirements
However, GAO will sustain a protest where the agency’s conclusions are inconsistent with the solicitation’s technical evaluation criteria, undocumented, or not reasonably based.
When filing a GAO protest challenging the evaluation of contractor proposal, your bid protest lawyer must be able to articulate factual allegations about why the agency’s selection evaluation was in error. You can usually get some information when requesting a debriefing.
For help challenging unreasonable technical evaluation criteria in GAO protest, call our GAO bid protest lawyers at 1-866-601-5518. FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.