When filing a GAO bid protest, it is important to understand that an agency’s source selection plan only provides internal agency guidelines. 

Addressing Agency Source Selection Plan In GAO ProtestsThe plan is generally for the agency’s internal usage and does not by itself give outside parties any rights. The plan typically becomes a highly-relevant topic after the bid protest is filed and attorneys admitted into the protective order see inconsistencies in the source selection process.

Government contracting agencies not required to publicize actual source selection plan.

However, they are required to provide bidders with enough information to let them bid intelligently and give them some reasonable level of source selection information. See Walsh Investors, LLC, B-407717, B-407717.2, Jan. 28, 2013, 2013 CPD ¶ 57 at 8 n.6.

No legal rights to challenge agency’s source selection plan in initial bid protest: Since the plan is considered an internal agency document, a better approach to litigating a GAO bid protest is to focus on the RFP contents and whether the agency’s actions were contemplated during evaluation.  Alleging that the government contracting agency did not follow its stated source selection criteria can be a more plausible initial protest argument. 

The internal source selection plan is ultimately derived from the solicitation requirements but it usually more detailed and confidential in nature. Given that the protestor has no way of knowing the intimate details of the agency’s plan to allege such a violation in the initial protest can potentially get the case dismissed. Instead, protestors should always focus on the expressed contents of the RFP’s stated evaluation criteria.

Agency Source Selection Plan

Basic scheme could be the primary issue later in the bid protest.  As a general rule, your initial protest can be supplemented when new evidence is found in the record, and such information was not readily available. Find out more about SBA Certificate of Competency rules.

For example, a contractor may want stick to how the agency’s evaluation of its technical proposal did not follow the expressed solicitation requirements and not discuss how the agency did not follow its source selection process.

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