Simply Depending on Your Experience as an Incumbent Does Not Get the Win
When challenging a government contracting agency’s technical evaluation scores as an incumbent contractor, whether for past performance or overall technical approach, you must be mindful that if you are the incumbent contractor, that status alone does not provide you with an automatic technical strength over other bidders in the agency’s final evaluation.
How you write your technical proposal makes a huge difference in how incumbency can gets higher evaluation scores. For example, in a recent GAO protest, Strategic Intelligence Group, LLC, B-410881.3, June 23, 2015, the protestor essential filed a bid protest challenging technical evaluation scores as an incumbent contractor.
It argued that the agency should have given it strength because of its success in implementing certain processes and procedures as the incumbent.
The protester also argued that the agency engaged in unequal treatment by assigning a technical strength to the awardee’s proposal for its “robust pipeline” of qualified linguist candidates while ignoring the fact that protestor already has many of the needed linguists vetted and in place due to its incumbency.
GAO did not agree with protestor’s argument because it asked the relevant question of whether the source record showed that the agency fully considered the actual qualitative differences in vendors’ proposals. GAO found that the agency did just that.
What Would be the Alternative Approach for Incumbents? A different approach for incumbents filing a bid protest when challenging technical evaluation scores as an incumbent contractor may have proved to get a different result.
GAO has often recognized the fact that an offeror may possess unique information, advantages, and capabilities due to its prior experience under a government contract, including performance as the incumbent contractor.
To potentially get a higher technical evaluation score for past performance or technical evaluation scores, the incumbent may want to consider expanding upon what unique information about the upcoming project that it may already have, and why it would be an additional benefit to the government.
- Expanding upon unique capabilities would be the preferred way to go for incumbent contractors.
- Simply touting the experience as the incumbent contractor will not get the technical evaluation scores that you may hope for.
Challenging Technical Evaluation Scores as an Incumbent Contractor Means Writing a Better Proposal up Front
The first step in preventing the possibility of getting proper technical evaluation scores and credit as an incumbent requires deeper thinking at the proposal writing stage. Waiting until the bid protest stage is too late.
As the incumbent contractor, companies should take some time to articulate their unique experiences and how those experiences or unique knowledge would be advantageous to the agency.
- Simply stating something that the solicitation already calls for may not win you a technical strength.
- Technical evaluation strengths typically reveal something over and beyond the solicitation requirements.
When the agency’s source selection records indicate that they acknowledged your performance as an incumbent, you will have a difficult time winning a bid protest challenging technical evaluation scores as an incumbent contractor.
See also information about agency corrective action.
See information about protesting technically unacceptable proposals.
For help filing a protest challenging technical evaluation scores and where the agency failed to recognize unique experiences and advantages as the incumbent, call our GAO protest lawyers at 1-866-601-5518. FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.